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A great introduction to the Finnish sauna is provided by the Finnish Sauna Society as a description of a type of sweat bath as found in Finland and related to baths in other cultures, like the Native American sweat lodge. Although Native American sweat bath rituals take the spirituality of the bath beyond most Northern European cultural traditions. However, the affect on sauna users is not limited to just getting clean. Sweat bathing is a global activity that spans many cultures and histories and has pragmatic benefits such as socialization, relaxation, and just plain getting warm when chilled. So even if you personally are not open to the potential spirituality or aware of the cultural significance of sweat bathing, there can still be benefits to this type of bathing. If you explore your cultural or genetic past, you are likely to find that you have sweat bathing in your heritage.

As I mentioned on the home page of this site, I’m not Finnish, but I have found an appreciation for this particular bathing culture in the past 30 years. As I have aged, I feel that the therapeutic value was underestimated when I was younger. Now that I am more sensitive to temperature and other physical factors, I have developed a different perspective to the sauna that is more utilitarian than thrilling..