What is a Finnish Sauna?
A Finnish Sauna involves washing up with scented soaps and exfoliating with wash or back scrubbers before relaxing in the hot room. It started as a way of bathing but has evolved into something much greater. With over two million saunas for the five million inhabitants of Finland (one per household), it has become part of many Finn’s lifestyle and identity.
Here, water is poured from the sauna bucket onto the hot stones using a sauna ladle, traditionally wooden or a more modern aluminum style. Some like to also ladle scents such as birch tar oil onto the rocks to further engulf the senses. Steam, referred to as “löyly”, gives the sauna its heat and moisture, and the amount of humidity is up to the user’s preference. Sauna thermometers and hygrometers are often used to measure these levels. Because it is often an extension of one’s home, many like to decorate their sauna with sauna signs and make it more comfortable by using sauna seat covers on the wooden benches and sauna cushions as pillows. Afterwards, it is customary to cool off in a refreshing shower or take a dip in one of Finland’s many (nearly 200,000) lakes.