Which Scandinavian country is best known for the sauna?
Here and everywhere in Finland, Finns take their sauna experience seriously. In this Nordic country of 5.4 million, there are some 3.3 million saunas, in homes, offices, airport lounges, and even parliament. This may be the ultimate form of relaxation, but it's more than a way to soothe sore bodies.
Yes, the Finnish sauna is unmistakably the most popular sauna culture in the world and a crucial element of daily living in Finland. Finnish saunas have been around for thousands of years, resembling the modern, contemporary sauna in many ways.
Saunas and Scandinavia have long been synonymous, but what is it that makes them so appealing? They're part of a deep tradition in this region of the world, reap health benefits and, more simply, are wonderfully relaxing.
The Scandinavians traditionally used the incredibly versatile sauna as a sterile place for treating the sick, giving birth, bloodletting, preparing smoked food, concocting malts, drying clothes, and grooming the dead. Cupping, massage, and body balancing are still practiced today in the healing heat of the sauna.
Saunaing and sauna culture are on the rise in Norway. The “sauna boom” has been going on for a couple of years now. Public, floating and seaside saunas, all of these have become increasingly common in Norway. Norwegians have a lot of holiday cottages, but (unlike Finnish cottages) they usually do not have a sauna.
Saunas are in abundance all over Sweden where they are commonly known as 'bastu'. These can be found at gyms, yoga studios and swimming pools, while for a more luxurious experience you can opt for saunas in spas and ski resorts. Here's how to sauna in Stockholm for the first time.
Finnish people believe that saunas can relax your mind in a modern society that never stops moving. The heat of a Finnish sauna – often powering above 100 celsius – is fantastic for calming the mind. Saunas raise your heart rate, allow your blood vessels to dilate, and increase blood flow to the skin.
The number one travel destination for Finns in their home country. Tampere is the sauna capital of the world – but there's plenty more to it than that. Located in the Lakeland region, it's on a scenic spot on a narrow isthmus between two great lakes.
SAUNA, correctly pronounced "sow (rhymes with wow!) nah," is the only Finnish word in the English dictionary; it means "bath" and "bathhouse." Sauna has been a way of life in Finland, where it was invented, for over 2000 years. One of the first written descriptions of the Finnish Sauna was in 1112.
Saunas were also the place for purification rituals before marriage, and the bodies of the dead were washed and prepared for burial on the wooden benches. For many Finns the sauna was the holiest room in the house and the one most closely associated with their wellbeing.