Finnish sauna – an authentic experience for anyone, anytime!

The Finnish sauna is well known around the world. Finns use their home saunas, their summer house saunas, public saunas and rental saunas a lot. Every Finn probably has their own sauna traditions, their own routines and their ideal temperature for having a sauna. However, for many foreigners, the sauna tradition is more unfamiliar and they need instructions.

Sauna tips abc of saunaSauna temperature

The ideal temperature in the sauna is 70-100 degrees (158-212°f). The sauna has a stove, which is usually heated with wood or electricity. The stove has stones that store heat. Water is thrown onto the hot stones, which creates steam that is called löyly. So, for a sauna, you need a bucket of water and a ladle for throwing the water. Other basic sauna equipment includes a towel or a cloth to sit on, a bath towel or a bathrobe, and shower products. If you go swimming from the sauna, you may also need a swimsuit. It is good to remember to stay hydrated in the sauna, so you should also bring a bottle of water or other drink.

Birch twigs improve blood circulation

Vihta or Vasta is bouquet of birch twigs, which are used to gently whip against one’s own skin. Whipping the Vihta against your skin improves blood circulation and releases a natural scent into the air. Vihta’s are at their best when freshly prepared for the occasion but they can also be frozen and bought from well-stocked shops.

Sauna dress code

Nudity in the sauna is usually completely natural for Finns. In some cases, for example in public saunas, mixed saunas or if people do not know each other very well, a swimsuit may be worn in the sauna. In spas and public swimming pools, a swimsuit may only be worn after sauna and showering for hygiene reasons. Regardless of the type of sauna, it is perfectly acceptable to wrap yourself in a towel whilst in the sauna.

Sauna is the key to relaxation and well-being

Give yourself time to relax and set aside time for your own well-being. The best sauna experience is achieved without any hurry. The most important thing is to enjoy the sauna in a way that suits you; in a group with others, swimming, accompanied by snacks and drinks, or just by enjoying the silence by the beautiful nature. There is a choice of saunas in Häme, you can rent a Viking sauna, an old Olympic sauna or even a floating sauna. Rental cottages usually have a sauna and many hotels also have their own sauna department. Welcome to Häme for a sauna!

Short Sauna Glossary

Kiuas = an electric or wooden oven-like heater with heat retaining stones.

Kiulu = A container from which water is thrown onto the stones with a ladle.

Löyly = Steam that creates moist heat in the room.

Löylykauha = Ladle used to throw water onto the hot stones. Finnish children often make one of these during handicraft classes in elementary school.

Vihta / Vasta = A bouquet of birch twigs that are used to improve blood circulation and release a lovely scent in the sauna.

Based on the sauna instruction made by Häme University of Applied Sciences student Marika Koskinen in her thesis.