Join the Finns in the Sauna
What do you exactly do in the Finnish sauna and what not?
1. There are no sauna rules in Finland. This list is only for foreign readers. Once you have read and internalised this list, there will be no more rules for you, either.
2. If you turn down an invitation to a sauna, you’d better have a good reason. It is an honour to be invited to a sauna. Go on, just give it a try.
3. Forget about coloured lights, aromatic fragrances and mood music. In the sauna it is nearly dark and there should be no smell – just birch or natural tar at the most. Music is never played in a Finnish sauna.
4. Forget about the clock. And forget about the little sand timer that tells you when you’re supposed to throw more water on the stove. In a Finnish sauna, you can throw more water on whenever you want.
5. Everybody can go in the sauna. Saunas are good for everyone. Only babies and people with serious conditions like open wounds or heart problems should avoid the sauna. Everybody else can go in the sauna with no problems – the Finns have been doing it for generations and have survived to tell the tale.
6. A Finnish sauna is a place for relaxation. You can take off your clothes without worrying about it. That’s how all of us were born and Finns, they really don’t mind. They also don’t mind if you’ll wrap yourself with a towel to make you feel more comfortable.
7. Who goes into the sauna together? The usual Finnish way is for families to go in the sauna together. Or the women can go together first, and then the men. This is how it’s generally done in larger groups. Men and women who do not know each other don’t go in the sauna together. And no – in a Finnish sauna you normally don’t wear a swimsuit or a towel.
8. Be sure to drink plenty. You can also take a beer or cider into the sauna.
9. A ‘vasta’ or ‘vihta’ (the name depends on the region) is a bundle of fresh birch twigs and the best thing that can happen to your skin. You’ll feel the benefits afterwards and will notice how smooth your skin is after the combination of sauna and vasta. Mother Nature knows best.
10. Have you read these rules carefully? Good. Now forget that they were called rules! The headline was just a trick to grab your attention. There really aren’t any rules in a Finnish sauna. Saunas are relaxed, easy-going places.
The stunning yet soothing natural scenery of Finland is best embodied in Lakeland. The countless blue lakes splintered by islands, isthmuses and green spits of forest provide an unmatched setting for peaceful getaways.