A recent article in European Spa Magazine has stated that among a population of 5.5 million people in Finland, there are 3.1 million saunas, and that the origin of sauna (pronounced sow-na in Finland) is over six thousand years old.
The article states that the common misconception of sauna bathing is that sauna is simply a “wooden box” heated to 90 degrees C, in which people simply tolerate the dry heat.
Apparently however for Finns, saunas are more places for debate and meaningful discussions, and for some, almost sacred places where up until the second world war, many women gave birth in them, as they are regarded as clean and safe places (Don’t try this at home !).
Saunas have been widely reported recently for their almost miraculous healing properties, benefiting everything from heart complaints to dementia.
The “Art” of sauna bathing is as follows:
Allow enough time to sauna, haste is NOT part of the experience
Hydration is very important, so drink one or two glasses of water before starting your session
Take a shower beforehand to open the pores
Move from the lower benches to the upper benches only when you feel comfortable to do so
Breathe evenly through the mouth, as the dry heat may damage the sensitive tissue in the nose
Stay only for as long as you feel comfortable
Continue to drink plenty of water
Take a cool or cold shower when you have finished to close the pores and to cool down
Relax to allow your body to come back to the normal temperature.