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Preparation

Before heading to sauna, it’s imporant to prepare properly.

  • Allocate enough time for sauna. Don’t rush. Sauna is for relaxation.
  • Cleanliness and hygiene are important in sauna. Remember to take a shower before sauna – this way you also respect other sauna-goers. You can also take a break from sauna and cool off in the shower. Remember to also wash up after sauna.
  • Most public saunas are mixed saunas, which means sweimwear is used. Traditionally in Finnish sauna, people are naked, and this is suitable for example in a cottage sauna with family or in a hotel room sauna with your partner. Also, in some public saunas people go to sauna naked, so check the practice before sauna.
  • Remember to bring a water bottle and your own towel. Don’t worry if you forget them, many saunas rent towels. Additionally, saunas have water points – Finnish tap water is the cleanest in the world. If you’re using your hotel’s sauna located somewhere outside your hotel room, you can walk there from your hotel room wearing a bathrobe or a towel around your waist.

Sauna bathing

Sauna bathing is a process with several steps and stages. In public saunas, many of these stages are already taken care of to make it easy for sauna-goers to jump into the steam. These stages include, for example, heating the sauna, either with wood or other methods.

  • Find your spot on the benches. It’s hotter higher up on the benches than lower down. In popular public saunas, it might be quite crowded sometimes, so you’ll need to patiently wait for your turn. Additionally, it’s completely normal for some people to wait on the lower benches to eventually move up to the hotter spots. Respect others and let the first ones waiting take the hottest spots first.
  • When sauna is warm, it’s time to throw some löyly! Typically, in a public sauna, the person sitting next to the sauna bucket throws the löyly. Don’t throw too much, just enough so that everyone can sit in the sauna comfortably. Some saunas also provide guidelines on the appropriate number of throws.
  • In many saunas, it’s recommended to use a bench towel while sitting on the sauna bench. In some places, wooden bench seats are provided, while in others, disposable bench towels are available. If you have your own, you can use that as well.
  • Remember to relax! Sit, lean back and enjoy the warmth and softness of löyly. Relaxation is an important part of the sauna experience. Sometimes, some people lie down on the benches – only do this if there’s enough space.
  • If you start feeling too uncomfortable with the heat, go cool off. You can sit outside in the fresh air, go for a swim, or even take a dip in cold water. You can repeat sauna bathing and cooling off as many times as you like. Everyone’s sauna experience is unique – the only time limit is the duration of some sauna shifts. So enjoy the Finnish sauna experience in your own way!

Remember these 

The Finnish sauna offers physical and mental well-being. It’s a space where you can enjoy benefits of sauna and relax amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

  • Respect other sauna-goers in public saunas. Conversation is allowed, but shouting is not appropriate. Some saunas have quiet hours when conversation is not desirable.
  • The Finnish Sauna is not a dry sauna. Löyly, that comes from throwing water onto the hot stones, creates steam in sauna. It is felt on the skin and sweating is completely normal.
  • Remember to drink water. During sauna bathing, water evaporates from the body, so hydration is important.
  • Sauna is one of the few places today where phones are not allowed. You’re not allowed to eat in sauna either. Some public saunas have a café or even a restaurant where you can buy food. Additionally, some saunas offer the possibility of grilling sausages.
  • Some people use accessories like sauna hats or more technical equipment for ice swimming. Don’t worry – these are not mandatory. However, it’s a good idea to weat flip flops in public saunas.
  • Sauna bathing is not a performance or an accomplishment. Relax and enjoy the moment!