Sauna Team Finland
Photo: Team Finland

Relax - take a sauna

The fact that there are 5.2 million Finns and 1,7 million saunas says it all. Sauna is still an important part of the Finnish way of life.

There are saunas everywhere in Finland and it’s customary to go to sauna about once a week. As a general rule women and men bathe separately, except within the family.

Finnish sauna is one form of the ancient sweat bath tradition. It relaxes the muscles and relieves muscular aches and pains. It also helps you sweat away mental stress. In sauna there are heated stones onto which you throw water to create steam. Some Finns also lightly beat 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 heat room when you no longer feel comfortable. Every now and then you should anyway leave the heat room to take a shower or a 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 think it impolite if you do not feel like dipping yourself to the icy cold water.

When you come to Finland, do not miss a chance to visit a sauna - especially in the countryside, where you often also can go for a swim directly afterwards!

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