How to do Finnish sauna?

Sauna…. aaah. The best ways to finish a busy, snowy January day. We live in an apartment building in the centre of Helsinki, but no problem: almost all the buildings have a common sauna in Finland. Our sauna turns are on Wednesday evenings and every second week on Thursdays. We have one hour, which is JUST enough.

Today my boyfriend could not join me, so I called a friend to join me in our sauna. In Finland you normally don’t have to ask twice to get some sauna company…

Sometimes foreigners ask me how they should behave in the sauna? This is quite a funny question for a Finn, as it seems so free and we are so used to everything sauna involves, but there are some relevant instructions and unwritten rules. Onย Cankar.orgย you’ll find FAQ on sauna. I also found the photo above there – Finns really love to have sauna everywhere, this timeย in a mock sauna during a summer festival.

But ups, one relevant advise is missing! Me and my friend just enjoyed the famous sauna beer – it tastes just perfect after a lot of sweating. And you can even take a beer with you in sauna and throw a bit on the hot stones – it smells like fresh-made bread. Just try it!

So here come some instructions published on cangar.org…

Try this first, and once you’ve tried it out, you can change it to suit your taste:

  • Start by taking a shower. This helps to keep the hot room clean.
  • Enter the sauna and sit on the upper bench. You may want to use a small towel to sit on.
  • Sit back for a few minutes and let the heat permeate your body and open the pores of the skin.
  • You may adjust the air moisture by throwing water on the stones of the heater. The steam will make the room feel hotter.
  • Step into the changing room to cool down, maybe take another shower.
  • You may go back to the heat a few times, taking your time to relax and enjoy the warmth.
  • Finally shower to clean yourself from the sweat.
  • Allow yourself to cool and dry properly before clothing yourself.
  • Follow the sauna with a peaceful rest and a drink.

To get the most of the sauna, you will need:

  • At least half an hour of time, preferably an hour or more, so you have ample time to relax.
  • A large towel to dry yourself

You may also want to consider these:

  • A smaller towel to sit on
  • A moisturising lotion for after the sauna
  • A bathrobe to wear while cooling down
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