The true meaning of the Finnish sauna
  Brooke Nolan • 16.04.2021

The true meaning of the Finnish sauna

For Finns, the sauna is more than just a token gesture on a floorplan. It is a sacred place, a form of therapy, the highlight of the week and the elixir of life. 

There are more than three million saunas in Finland, meaning that – in theory – the entire Finnish population could take a sauna at the same time. 

Home to some of the largest and beautiful saunas in Finland, a visit to Kuopio-Tahko isn’t complete without experiencing this unique and unmissable tradition. 

Behind the tradition

The sauna night is never cancelled, no matter the struggles of everyday life, says Liisa Koponen, sales manager of Rauhalahti and Jätkänkämppä’s large smoke sauna. Why? Because the sauna is a prize to be enjoyed and has been for generations. Previous generations took a sauna not only for pleasure but also for practical reasons; removing the dirt after a long day in the fields, something Koponen remembers from his own childhood.

Did you know?

There are more than 3 million saunas in Finland. Basically, the entire population of Finland could bath in a sauna at the same time.

A place for peace

Traditionally, the sauna has been a place to socialize. The family gathers on benches to discuss weekly news and catch up on each other’s lives. But, the sauna also gives peace of mind. Lounging alone on the benches in complete silence, allows the body and mind to relax.

The sauna is social

While elsewhere in Europe people might meet their friends in a cafe, Finnish friends gather in a sauna. In Finnish culture, the significance of a sauna is intrinsically understood. Although in the past saunas were enjoyed more by men, according to Koponen, the popularity of sauna evenings has also increased among women.

Using sauna for health

Finns have been aware of the health effects of saunas for many years, something that is now backed up by scientific studies. The sauna has been proven to do good for the heart, help maintain brain function, lower blood pressure, improve lung function and relieve pain. 

A sauna can also help you relax, get a good night’s sleep and bring calmness and serenity, says Jaana Sahlman, CEO of Mualiman Sauna, located at the top of Tahko.

Create a relaxing sauna experience at home

  1. Make sure there is enough heat, but that the sauna is not too hot and dry
  2. Do not rush. Remember, a sauna is a prize. Take your time, relax, and enjoy it
  3. Chat with your group about your day, unwind, share laughter or remain in therapeutic silence 
  4. Add a small splash of beer to the steam water, or throw it on the stove to give the steam the aroma of fresh bread
  5. Try skin and hair masks. The heat of the sauna often enhances these products, allowing your skin and hair follicles to absorb the goodness 
  6. Provide stimuli for the children. A small water bath, bath toys, and soap bubbles are always fun 
  7. Set aside time for cooling off, to enjoy drinks and snacks and, if possible, a little swimming
  8. After the sauna, put on casual and comfortable clothes, enjoy a cold drink and, if necessary, a small snack

Four unforgettable savonian sauna experiences

You can never have enough saunas. Make the most of your time visiting our region and experience the four unique sauna experiences below.

Jätkänkämppä, Kuopio Rauhalahti

A traditional smoke sauna experience surrounded by pure nature and water.

Mualiman sauna, Tahko

A unique moment of steam in a wooden sauna with breathtaking views at the top of Tahkovuori.

Puikkari sauna, Kuopio centre

Experience a relaxing sauna moment over the city rooftops.

Saana, Bellanranta, Kuopio

A luxurious sauna and spa experience on the shores of beautiful Kallavesi.

Main image of the article: Jätkänkämppä, Rauhalahti Kuopio

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