7 Astonishing Facts About Traditional Finnish Saunas

If you enjoyed our previous blog about saunas across the world, you may have been craving even more information about the sauna capital of the world: Finland! Known as löyly locally, If you have found yourself craving more information about all the hot, sweaty goodness the Northern European country has to offer, then you’ve found yourself in the right place! Please go ahead and enjoy reading these astounding facts about Finnish saunas and the sauna health benefits that come in hand with them.

1. The oldest saunas, dating back to thousands of years ago, were pits in the ground

While there is no recorded written history about the very first Finnish saunas, historians have been able to confirm that these pits were indeed the earliest saunas in the country. Since it snows a lot in Finland, it’s reasonable why its natives would like to escape from the snow and heat up for a little bit.

2. There are three different kinds of saunas

Wooden saunas: These traditional types of saunas will heat up to 80-110°C using wood. They are most commonly found in houses and cottages. 

Smoke sauna: If you choose to use this type of sauna, hopefully you are a patient person, because it can take about 6 hours to heat up! Despite how long they take to get the heat going, they appear to be the most popular type of sauna within the Finnish population. 

Electric sauna: This is a newer trend, as they only came about in the 1950s. These saunas are most common in apartment homes, and they take less than an hour to warm up thanks to the power of modern technology. 

Which of these sounds like the best home sauna to you?

3. There are about 2 million saunas in Finland

With a population of 5.5 million people, this fact alone proves how predominant saunas are to Finnish culture. The sauna to them is what a bath and a shower would be to you – just with a lot more hype! As they might tell you, “a house without a sauna is not a home.” Heck, there are even saunas in fast food restaurants over there. Finns of all ages, from toddlers to the elderly experience the sauna health benefits every day!

4. Saunas are not designated for a single time of the day

Do you want to get in the sauna at 5 am or at 8 pm? No problem! There is no “wrong” time to visit the sauna in Finland – it’s completely up to you! You can also stay in it for as long as you want, whether it be 10 minutes or all day long.  Just be sure to drink enough water if you plan to indulge yourself in there for several hours at a time.

5. Saunas are also used to celebrate the Midsummer and Christmas

It’s not a mandatory thing, but going to the sauna can be used as a way to get into the vacation spirit when you can finally have some time to relax from school or work. It’s also common to have an alcoholic beverage as a part of your sauna experience!

6. Whether or not you want to wear clothes to a Finnish sauna is completely up to you

In some countries, it can be considered either normal or bizarre to be in a bathing suit or be nude. In Finland, you have the freedom to make this choice for yourself based on your own comfort level. While some people may think you cannot get the complete experience of a sauna with a bathing suit or a towel on, it is completely understandable if you don’t feel comfortable being nude around people you don’t know, or even your friends or your family. There is no “wrong” answer here.

7. All the health benefits!

Going to the sauna for a good sweat has shown to improve your skin, get to better sleep, and ease muscle tension. Of course, you can experience these sauna health benefits anywhere, but it’s clear that the Finns know their stuff, hence why it’s a part of a daily ritual for some people there. 

A final word

If you are thinking of planning a trip to Finland, then by now it should be apparent that visiting a sauna is an absolute-must for your vacation. Have you been to a Finnish sauna before? How was your experience?