Do you want to sauna like a Finn? Follow these steps.
February 28, 2017 –
Saunas are hot in America…and over the past fifty years their popularity has grown. But the way we Americans use our saunas differs from our European cousins. With a belligerent winter clinging to our calendar, it’s still ideal weather to connect with your “inner-Finn” and sauna like you’re in Helsinki.
For starters, make it hot, hot, and hot! 160 degrees Fahrenheit should be your minimum, and up to 180 degrees if you can handle the heat. Saunas have temperature limitations in the States that keep them from reaching the 212 degrees that a Finn would find most appropriate. But you can get close.
Depending on where you’re from you’ll want to make your sauna “U-mid” or humid, and you can do this by ladling water onto your sauna rocks. (In Finland, the rock or stones in a sauna are called kinas). To make your sauna session as authentic as a Finn’s you’ll need lots of steam (known in Finland as löyly).
Okay. So far you have plenty of heat–check. Lots of löyly–check. Now it’s time to sauna to the beat, or ”beating” if you will. And there’s no better ”beater” than a birch tree whisk. What? Yes. A beating with a young birch tree branch, transformed into a whisk, is the next step in your Finnish sauna experience. You’ll proceed to lightly thrash yourself, and you’ll love it! You see, birch leaves impart an earthy aroma to your sauna, and the light beating makes you sweat and increases circulation. If you’re not exactly finding yourself with birch handy, we have a dried birch sauna whisk you can order up and enjoy.
Ready to jump in a cold pool, lake, or stream? After your sauna session you’ll definitely want to cool down, and these are but a few of the ways. A dose of brisk night air or a cool shower are acceptable alternatives.
Steam, beat, sweat, repeat. Sauna lovers typical enjoy several 10-15-minute ”innings” in order to recreate a complete sauna experience.
Is it time? Are you ready to enjoy your sauna-like they do in Finland? Give it a try. We think you’ll love it!
P.S. If you truly want to emulate the Finnish sauna experience, there is certain protocol to follow. Talking and indecent behavior are forbidden, and bathing is only done with those of the same gender. (Opposite sex bathing is limited to families only). There is a certain reverence to the ritual that’s not unlike the quiet reflection of a church service.