23 things you didn’t know about saunas (but surely should)

Ah, the sauna. It’s the perfect place to relax, unwind, and sweat out all the toxins in your body (or at least that’s what we like to tell ourselves). But how much do you really know about these steamy little rooms? Here are 23 things you didn’t know about saunas (but definitely should):

1. Saunas have been around forever

Image: Roman style “bathhouse” from the 2nd century. (Image credit: Rob Farrow.)

Like, seriously forever. The first recorded saunas were in Finland over 2,000 years ago, but some people claim the tradition dates back to 7,000 BC. And get this – the Finnish word “sauna” actually means “bathhouse”. Yet, some people insist it means “snow pit” or “earth pit”. Crazy, right?

2. Not all saunas are the same

There are different types of saunas out there, like wood-fired, electric, steam and infrared. Each one has its own unique features and benefits, so it’s important to pick the right one for you.

3. Saunas can be found in some seriously unexpected places

Image: Floating Sauna in Rosendahl, Norway. (Image credit: Wikimedia.)

In addition to being a common feature at gyms and spas, saunas can also be found at airports, schools, and even on airplanes! So next time you’re feeling stressed at the airport, see if there’s a sauna you can sneak into. Trust me, it’ll make the layover a lot more bearable.

4. There are some weird sauna traditions out there

In Finland, it’s traditional to whip yourself with birch branches while in the sauna. And in Russia, it’s particularly common to throw lots of water on the hot rocks to create a heavy burst of steam. Now, that’s a steamy situation!

5. The temperature and humidity levels in a sauna can vary

Some saunas are drier, with a lower humidity level, while others are more humid. The temperature can also range from a mild 80 degrees Fahrenheit (30 Celsius), in steam rooms and infrared saunas, to a scorching 200 degrees Fahrenheit (or plus 90 Celcius) in the traditional saunas. Talk about a hot time.

See also  17 weird sauna traditions across the world

6. Saunas aren’t just for the winter months

In fact, many people find saunas to be especially refreshing in the summer, when the heat can help cool down the body. Just make sure to stay hydrated and take breaks as needed. You don’t want to turn into a human raisin.

7. Saunas can be a social activity

In many cultures, saunas are a place to socialize and bond with friends and family. So next time you’re in a sauna, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with your sweat-covered neighbor. You never know, you might make a new sauna buddy.

8. Saunas are a great way to relax after a long day

The heat and steam can help to soothe those tense muscles and clear your mind, leaving you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper than a massage.

9. Some saunas have special features like aromatherapy

There are saunas for both aromatherapy and chromotherapy. Aromatherapy uses essential oils to create a fragrant atmosphere, while chromotherapy uses colored lights to create a calming or energizing effect. Talk about a sensory overload.

10. Saunas can be found in a variety of settings

From hotels and resorts to private homes: saunas seem to be everywhere these days. And get this – many people even have saunas in their backyard! That way, they can enjoy the benefits of sauna therapy any time they want. Now that’s some true luxury…

11. In some cultures, saunas are used for spiritual purposes

A little known fact is that saunas have been used for both ritual and spiritual purposes. For example, Native American sweat lodges are used for purification and healing, and saunas are an important part of Finnish culture and tradition. That’s what I call a true spiritual experience!

See also  10 quick tips for squeezing sauna time into a busy schedule

12. Saunas can be enjoyed solo or with a group

Some people prefer the peaceful solitude of a solo sauna session, while others enjoy the social aspect of sauna-ing with friends or family. It’s all about personal preference.

13. Saunas come in all shapes and sizes

Image: Barrel sauna in Lysekil, Sweden. (Image credit: W. Carter.)

From small, portable units to large, multi-room structures, there’s a sauna to fit just about any space and budget. Wow, that’s a wide range of sauna options!

14. Saunas aren’t just for the wealthy

While saunas have a reputation for being luxurious, there are many affordable options out there. Portable saunas and community saunas at local gyms or recreation centers are just a few examples. Who says saunas are only for the rich and famous?

15. Saunas can be good for your health

Studies have shown that sauna use can have some seriously awesome health benefits. It can improve your cardiovascular function, reduce muscle soreness, and even boost your immune system.

16. Saunas come in all sorts of styles and materials

sauna Solaris in Turku, Finland.  Sauna made of glass.
Image: Sauna Solaris in Turku, Finland.

Whether you prefer wood, brick, or glass, there’s a sauna to match your decor preferences. Customization is key when it comes to saunas.

17. In some cultures, saunas are a family activity

For example, in Finland, it’s common for both kin and relatives to enjoy the sauna together. Now, that’s some true family bonding!

Saunas can be a great way to connect with nature. Many outdoor saunas are built with natural materials and are designed to blend in with their surroundings. Saunas and nature go hand in hand.

See also  19 things you should never do in a sauna

18. Saunas can be a romantic activity for couples

Imagine relaxing in a cozy, candlelit sauna with your significant other, surrounded by the soothing sounds of nature. Nothing says romance like a sauna session for two.

19. Some saunas have special features to boost the practice

Image: Sauna with outdoor pool from Vuokatti region, Finland. (Image credit: Wikimedia.)

Waterfalls, fountains, or outdoor pools are just a few examples. These added touches can take your sauna session to the next level. Who doesn’t love a little extra indulgence in their sauna experience?

20. Saunas can be a unique addition to a home

If you’re looking to add something special to your home, consider installing a sauna. Not only will it provide a luxurious amenity, it can also add value to your home.

21. Saunas are used as a secret beauty and health trick

Many people use saunas as their secret beauty (and health) edge. They’re claimed to improve anything from the radiance to your skin, to fat burning, sleep, and mood. Now, that almost sounds too good to be true!

22. Sauna use isn’t for everyone

If you have certain medical conditions or are pregnant, it’s important to consult with your doctor before using a sauna. Safety first, folks.

23. Saunas can be a unique activity to try on vacation

Many destinations around the world are known for their saunas, such as Finland, Sweden, and Estonia. So why not make it a part of your travel itinerary? Talk about making the most of your vacation.

There you have it – 23 things you didn’t know about saunas (but definitely should). So the next time you find yourself in a steamy little room, you can impress your friends with your sauna knowledge. Happy sweating!


Author: Anna Svensson

Anna is a Scandinavian who grew up with saunas. She has had a life-long love for, and interest in, saunas. In this blog, she shares her best hacks and things she has learned about saunas over the years. You can read more about Anna in the “About” page.

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