History and Usage
History of the sauna
Saunas have been around for centuries. They are believed to have been invented in Finland and, in fact, ‘sauna’ is the only Finnish word in the English dictionary. It refers to a specific type of sweat bathing (i.e., exposing the body to a high temperature for long enough so the body starts to perspire) where a room is heated to about 100° C, and the temperature and humidity is controlled by pouring water on rocks heated by a wood-burning stove. (1)
The concept of a sauna has evolved over time and there are now different types of saunas. Nevertheless, when one mentions the word ‘sauna’, people most often associate it with the Traditional Finnish Sauna (the ancient wood burning sauna). Indeed, this is the sauna loved and promoted by the American Sauna Society—and the larger worldwide organization, the International Sauna Society. (1)
As for the Finnish people who have originated this concept, for them the sauna is an essential part of life—as evidenced by the fact that the country has approximately 5 million inhabitants and 2 million saunas. And though it’s no longer a place of sanctity for cleansing the spirit like in the ancient times, but simply a leisurely activity to relax, consider this: Finland is rated as the second happiest country in the world... (2)
Regular sauna use is good for you
In modern times, the sauna is considered to be a place of pure and total relaxation. However, sweat bathing has been documented to have clear health-related benefits. Through perspiration the skin cleanses itself of impurities, and the heat that causes the body to sweat relaxes the muscles and consequently relieves muscular aches and pains. But in addition to soothing tired muscles, studies around the world have shown that saunas are also good for your health because they:
relieve tension, stress and mental fatigue;
remove toxins and impurities from the body;
improve circulation and lower blood pressure;
provide a cardiovascular workout;
increase resistance to illness and relieve congestion;
help with kidney function;
maintain clear and healthy skin;
reduce pain from sunburn; and even
The positive effects that regular sauna use can have for one’s mind and body are increasingly being recognized, and more and more people in North America are making this health-inducing leisure activity a regular part of their lifestyle.
(Reference: North American Sauna Society. 2009. http://www.saunasociety.org).
Tips on improving your sauna experience
When you get your Sauna-AnywhereTM tent sauna and you’re interested in experiencing a sauna Finnish-style, here are a couple of tips: First, you can purchase some vihta (birch, oak or eucalyptus) branches from our website and while in the sauna gently hit yourself with them; this sounds like torture, but it actually helps open pores and the syrup from the leaves helps clear acne. Second, you should try going back and forth between hot and cold (though you should check with your doctor first to ensure you have no heart condition or other illness). After you've been sweating for 5-10 minutes, get out of the tent and jump in a cold lake or roll in the snow; then run back inside and sweat some more; repeat this a few times and you’ll feel great! (If you've ever heard of the term 'hydrotherapy', this is it. And you thought we just did it because we were "crazy Finns"). Hyvät Löylyt!
Owner, Larha Outdoor Products