Chill out - take a sauna
The fact that there are 5.2 million Finns and 1.7 million saunas says it all; sauna is an important part of the Finnish culture.
There are saunas everywhere in Finland and it is customary to go to sauna about once a week. As a general rule women and men bathe separately, except within the family or in more public saunas.
Finnish sauna is one form of the ancient sweat bath tradition. In addition to sweating away mental stress, it relaxes the muscles and relieves aches and pains. In sauna there are heated stones onto which you throw water to create steam. Some Finns also lightly hit themselves with traditional whisks made of bunches of birch leaves to stimulate the circulation of blood.
The most important thing to remember in sauna is to take time and listen to your own body. You don’t have to wait until others take a break, just leave the heated room when you no longer feel comfortable. Every now and then you should leave the hot room to take a shower or swim to cool off. In winter, some people even like to roll in snow, or go ice-swimming after sauna. But, not all Finns do that. There is no reason to feel ashamed or impolite if you do not feel like dipping yourself in the icy cold water.
So, when you come to Finland, do not miss the opportunity to visit a sauna - especially in the countryside, where you often can go for a swim directly afterwards!