At home we all have our perfect ways of relaxing, whether this be curled up with a good book to read, a sit down in front of the television, or scrolling through the list of our favourite mobile games like these which have become more accessible than ever – for the Finnish however it is certainly a stint in the sauna and if you’re planning a trip to Finland will certainly be something you need to experience for yourself too. It’s such an important part of Finnish culture it would be a huge shame to miss out on the experience, but can also be quite different to anything you’ve experienced before – so what should you keep in mind for your Finnish sauna experience?
(Image from travelandleisure.com)
Hydrate, no really hydrate – A good tip for any sauna is to make sure you’re well hydrated anyway, you’ll be sweating a lot and you’ll have to keep your fluids topped up. The Finns definitely like their saunas hot however, and it could catch you off guard a little – make sure you drink plenty of water before you head in and take a bottle of water in with you too to top up as needed. Stay away from things like alcohol which can dehydrate you – although beer and cider could be a choice once you get more used to the heat, and stay away from the soda too, as just a few minutes in a hot sauna could make you feel worse for wear after something fizzy.
No time for modesty – A big part of the Finnish sauna experience is heading in with nothing but your skin – whilst perhaps a bit more traditional as many won’t mind if you’re wearing a towel if you feel uncomfortable, if you do have access to a private sauna it’s definitely something you should try out – public saunas are often split by gender with the likes of pools and gyms, where apartment buildings may have designated times for each. If needed, you may also find the need to grab yourself a little sauna hat that can help keep your head a bit cooler and may extend your stay inside a little as things start to heat up.
And don’t forget to relax – Your sauna experience should be as relaxing as possible – a quick chat with your friends, or just some time to reflect back on the day. Whilst it is up to personal comfort, a 10-20 minute stay in the sauna followed by a cooling down period with a cold shower or dip into some cold water has several health benefits – repeat the process as many times as is comfortable for you, and enjoy the relaxing sauna experience for all its worth.
It’s definitely not an experience to be missed out on, and something you may find yourself missing once you leave too – there’s a reason why it’s such an important part of Finnish culture and why so many Finns will tell you they don’t really know what it’s like not to sauna, so they must be doing something right!