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Finnish sauna – a hardening procedure with a historical tradition

The most widespread hardening technique, the Finnish sauna is today a worldwide popular wellness procedure thanks to its relaxing and health effects, but also the social aspect. In today’s article, we will focus on the origin of the Finnish sauna, its characteristics, and the most important health benefits.

Finnish sauna – a hardening procedure with a historical tradition

It is not surprising that the word “sauna” comes from Finnish. More surprising is the fact that the sauna itself does not originate in Finland. People have been practicing dry saunas for 10,000 years. Originally, it was probably a method of body purification with the help of sweating. People dug “sauna huts” into the ground, covered them with furs, and lined them with heated stones. In younger times, this custom was preserved as it was less expensive than trying to heat a large amount of water for a bath. However, throughout history, the role of the sauna has changed. The sauna was a place where public life took place, as we know it from the time of Ancient Rome. But also religious ceremonies, healing procedures, and rituals for cleansing the body and soul took place here. Or it was intended for relaxation, rehabilitation, and social gathering, as is the case even today.

In the Nordic countries, dry saunas followed by ice cooling have become part of the culture over the centuries, however, written sources from the 10th century attest to saunas in our Czech lands as well. Widespread interest in the sauna in the modern era came after the Olympic Games in Paris in 1924. Finnish athletes showed excellent results here, despite the hot summer weather. Their resistance to demanding temperature conditions attracted worldwide attention and the fascination with the sauna procedure spread. The (now “Finnish”) sauna experienced a real boom after the Second World War when classic wood stoves were replaced by modern heating systems that accelerated the heating of the sauna cabin to the required 90 °C.

Currently, the Finnish sauna is one of the most popular wellness procedures. In the Finnish sauna, we relax at high temperatures ranging between 60-100 °C and low air humidity of around 3%. Only with such low air humidity can we withstand extremely high temperatures, because it is easier for our body to sweat than in a humid and hot environment. The sauna cabin usually has benches on two or three levels. The reason is the different distribution of hot air in the cabin. While the temperature on the lower benches is around 60 °C, on the higher benches it reaches more than 90 °C at head height. As the temperature rises, the humidity decreases, so the air at the level of the upper benches is drier. If the sauna has 3 levels of benches, the lowest one is used for acclimatization. Every intensive warm-up in the Finnish sauna should be followed by cooling down in a cooling pool, cooling shower, natural lake, or snow. Without the cooling down phase, we will not achieve the beneficial health effects of sauna use.

The health benefits of the Finnish sauna are based on the detoxifying and regenerative effects of exposing the body to heavy sweating and sudden temperature changes. Sauna bathing improves the thermoregulation of the body and blood circulation, detoxifies the organism, helps us regenerate after physical activities or after an injury, and is a means of relaxing the mind, general relaxation, and improving sleep. In the long term, the Finnish sauna improves our immunity, helps eliminate insomnia and migraines, and supports mental health. To achieve a long-term effect and strengthen immunity, regularity is important, even in the summer months. In the Nordic countries, it is summer that is considered the main sauna season, as it represents an opportunity to build immunity for the colder months.

For the health effects of the sauna to appear, it is important to follow the correct procedure of the sauna procedure. You can read how to take a sauna properly in our article. If you wish to enjoy a sauna regularly in the comfort of your home, contact us and we will make it according to your wishes.