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The Sauna – Finnish Style

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The sauna room is a specially-built insulated chamber where a bather can take temperatures of 75 C to 95 C and even hotter. The heat causes the body to perspire extensively, cleansing the skin and the pores. Impurities are removed from the blood as well as acid from physical exertion.

By raising the body temperature and increasing the blood circulation the body, aches and pains can be relieved. Tension can be reduced and nerves relaxed as a natural effect of the sauna heat.

The sauna process is a repeated cycle of dry sauna heat, gradual or rapid cooling off with a shower or actual dip , and a period of quiet rest. Subsequent visits to the sauna will produce “loeyly” when water is thrown onto the rocks. Veteran sauna enthusiasts will often use a birch whisk, the “vihta”, to whisk the entire body and stimulate the blood circulation.

Individual sauna rooms create unique effects from the varying conditions of heat and humidity. Sauna bathers also vary in their reactions to heat, humidity, and time in the sauna as well as how to cool off – cool shower, cold dip, roll in snow, etc. You are also free to evolve your own preferences for the sauna ritual as you become a sauna enthusiast.

The Finnish sauna embodies the best features of the dry Roman bath and the damp Russian bath, without any compromise. The hot super dry sauna air is easier to stand than moist and less warm “steam conditions”. A bather will perspire quickly in dry air sauna. Water is thrown onto the rocks to create “loeyly” which is quickly felt as stinging moisture. The “moist air” dries out shortly and the cycle can be repeated.

The Finnish sauna is the only known bath in the world where both dry and moist air are used and varied according to the bathers taste. The Roman bath and the damp Russian bath had no means of humidity control.