Are you a traditional sauna enthusiast? Time to sauna the Finnish way
May 22, 2018 – With the onslaught of nothing but great health data coming out of Finland related to regular sauna use, it should absolutely be the thing more of us strive to make part of our daily lives. After being around saunas and selling them at Olympic for a whole lotta years, I finally purchased an infrared sauna for myself and had it delivered in November.
I love it! When I sold my house in March, one thing was clear: the sauna was making the move with me.
Those diehard sauna lovers out there will see infrared and go “Pffft!” To them, that’s no way to take a sauna. It’s not hot enough! You need that good ol’ ssssteam heat! You need to s-w-e-a-t, and a lot.
Well…to those diehard sauna lovers I say: Have you tried taking a sauna the Finnish way? If you want to see if you have what it takes to sauna like a Finn, here’s what you need to do:
- First off, this is a ritual. During the sauna, you’re not to talk. You will only take a sauna with folks of the same sex, and it should be treated as a reverential experience. It’s a time to reflect and pause from the crazy world outside.
- You need to be ready for things to get HOT. I mean, really hot. If you were in Finland, you might find the natives partaking in a traditional sauna at a comfortable (!!) 210+ degrees. Yowza! If you wanted to get a sauna that hot here, you’d be hard-pressed. The U.S. limits how hot a sauna can get—but you can still enjoy it at 180+ degrees in your own home.
- You need humidity in the room. Not a small amount—you need to ladle water on those rocks and get things steamy. (In fact, for a lot of years Finnleo, our sauna manufacturer, sold a Steamy Heater.) Loyly is the Finnish term for the steam produced from ladling water on the rocks in a sauna.
- So…Finns like to inflict a little pain in the sauna. Or, at least that’s the way it appears. If you’re going to take in a true Finnish sauna, you need birch tree whisks. (We actually sell these now!) The point here is to lightly beat your skin with the whisk, which does two things: releases a pleasing birch scent into the air (that’s probably supposed to distract you from the fact that you’re hitting yourself!); it also increases circulation and will encourage a healthier robust sweat.
- Lastly, you need to get COLD. Cooling down post-sauna is as much part of the sauna as the hot sweat and detox time. If you’re wild enough, a cold splash in a pool or nearby lake is the recommended method. (I’ve been to Cokato, Minnesota and watched a lot of folks take in a blistering wood-fired sauna and then run like mad to jump in the lake! Note I said “watched”…) Short of a jump in the lake, a cool shower is an acceptable substitute.
You’ll be enervated when you take a sauna like a Finn. They’re not all healthy and younger looking with smiles on their faces “just because”! Trust me, the sauna makes a huge impact on their daily lives. Why not give it a chance to have the same impact on you?
Author: Don Riling
Don Riling is the President of Olympic Hot Tub and has been an active member of the hot tub industry for over 20 years. As the company’s owner since 2016, he has continued Olympic’s legacy of promoting health & wellness through hot water & sauna therapy.