The sauna has been appreciated by man since antiquity, and is still treasured today. What is it that makes the sauna such a timeless pleasure?
The purpose of a sauna is to provide wet or dry heat sessions that promote both relaxation and perspiration.A bather, or group of bathers, can gather inside of a sauna to experience temperatures as high as 80 degrees Celcius or more. Saunas are very relaxing, and tend to make users sweat. In fact, the sauna’s popularity can be attributed to its many health benefits such as stress reduction, detoxification of the body, an improved immune system and other positive changes.
”Sauna” is world that developed in ancient Finland and means a traditional Finnish bath. The first known saunas were essentially the lowest points dug in a slope in the ground mainly used as dwellings during winters. At the time the sauna included a fireside where stones were heated to very high temperatures. Afterwards, water was thrown on to the hot stones thus producing steam and heat.The heat would be so strong that often people would undress when this was done.
Over time the sauna evolved to include a metal woodstove with a chimney. In traditional Finnish saunas the temperatures within often exceeded 90 degrees Celcius. Steam vapor was also generated by spraying water onto the heated stones. The steam vapor and high heat caused bathers to sweat a great deal.
In order to take full advantage of the sauna, the Finns gathered a bundle of bird branches containing tiny, fresh leaves. This was called a vihta. This practice not only aids in blood circulation, but adds a pleasant birch scent to the sauna.
Saunas relieve stress in two ways. Not only do they help you relax from simply spending time relaxing within, but they also help your body relax physically. When the sauna heats your skin, it helps to detoxify your body by making it sweat out more harmful toxins than you would have without its aid. Removing these chemicals helps your body fight stress and feel healthier
Since the sauna makes you sweat, and the sweat removes toxins, the overall experiences helps to detoxify your body by forcing toxins out through the skin.
The Finns keep the rich history of the sauna alive today by making it a part of their daily ritual. In Finland, saunas are considered to be a natural and effective way of refreshing both the mind and spirit. Then and now, the sauna remains a key component to healthy living in Finland. Families often bathed together in home saunas, and in the past Finnish women often gave birth in saunas.
When the Finns migrated to the different parts of the globe they shared their knowledge of sauna designs and customs. They taught other cultures about the sauna’s health benefits which helped the sauna to evolve further. Eventually, this led to the development of electric sauna stoves and far infrared saunas which became quite popular. Since then various cultures around the world have been recognizing, adopting and improvising the sauna.