The Evolution of the Northern European Sauna
The sauna we use today has come a long way into being what it is. What was considered just a bathhouse has gradually evolved and changed over the years to the classy saunas we use, with modern settings and structures. Nowadays, saunas are incorporated into the home as opposed to taking trips to your local public saunas. In Europe, for example, bathhouses had been recorded during 700BC but were never documented. Naked bathers used hot wooden saunas on top of beating themselves with branches and pouring cold water over their bodies to stay clean and detoxified. When the European bathhouses got destroyed, there was an expansion of saunas to other countries especially during the reformation of Scandinavia. In Europe, the wood was still available for building saunas as well as making the fires for saunas. Initially, the sauna was used during the cold and winter seasons, primarily to keep the body warm and detoxified.
The Gradual Evolution of Finnish Saunas
At first, there was an underground Sauna. Saunas were dug into the ground in the earliest days. They use fire to heat stones before bringing them into a makeshift room built on the side of the hill. The room was insulated by the layers of dirt and solid rocks which made up the outer walls and the roof sections. People would then get in and enjoy the warmth to their satisfaction. The primary function of the underground sauna was to maintain warmth throughout the harsh winter weathers during the winter months
Then there came the smoke sauna, also called the Savusauna. This was an improvement on the underground sauna and was largely dependent on smoke. A fire would be lit and using twigs; smoke would be created to fill the sauna before entering. With time, the smoke began to create soot on the benches and occasionally caught fire and people had to move. This one was hectic to run. It involved a lot of work in lighting the fires, and when the smoke would not hold in there anymore, it filtered out through an opening available. This made the saunas to have a short life span as they would crack and break with each passing day.
That is when they came up with the log cabin chimney sauna. The primary intention was to reduce the soot from the smoke and also prevent any fire accidents in the future. That is why they invented a small stove that had a chimney which allowed the smoke to filter outside and allow sauna sessions to be more relaxed and enjoyable, and not too smoky.
Next up was the public sauna. It was invented in the twentieth century, and it became more common. It was made to accommodate more people and would see people driving there for a few sauna sessions. As people moved a lot, it became harder to move with their saunas, and as such, the public sauna came around to cater to people who did not have their saunas. The public saunas were made of concrete and not wood. The concrete took longer to heat but was more effective as it had a lot of heat retention power. Since most of the traditional saunas were separated from the main house, the changes in population caused limited space and as such the public saunas became a better option. The public sauna is still a popular practice with the Finnish people and has since remained in place.
The Evolution of the Northern European Sauna
The electric sauna was the last of the evolution scale in saunas. After the world war, electricity became a major commodity to have and transformed everything into operating on electricity. Since wood, charcoal, and twigs no longer were commonly used, there was a rise in the creation and use of the electric sauna. Made of wood, the electric sauna remains the most advanced of them all as it saves energy and time but remains better and more effective. It is made of long-lasting materials and has an oven in it. Thanks to the oven, lighting it is a lot easier and faster, and it also minimizes heat loss so that the users get the best. It is also more effective as the heat is built in and stays hot for a long time.
The mobile sauna came last. It is a more advanced improvement in the electric sauna, and it was made for people who loved sauna but had no time to go to the public sauna. This one can be put right inside your home and remain convenient and effective. It is more of a mini sauna and is made in such a way that it consumes very little space in your home. If you live far from the public sauna, this is your best bid; comfort at your home. This mobile sauna can also be accessed on buses, trains, and even ships. In most cases, it is hired out by companies that own more.
The Dos and Don’ts in the Finnish Saunas
Start by taking a shower because it is vital to maintaining cleanliness in the sauna. After which, enter the sauna room where the providers will pour water on the hot stones in the unique stove, to produce the much-needed steam. Occasionally, there will be mosquitoes whose bites are very itchy. When that happens, the locals will show you how to use a bunch of fragrant leaves and twigs to gently beat yourself. These help to relax your muscles and soothe the itchiness. When the heat is too much, you are allowed a dive in a pool, ocean, lake, or even roll in the snow! After all, this, sit on the sauna porch and relax in your way. Repeat the exercise as much as you want, keeping the sessions not more than two hours each.
Depending on the region or state, men and women may not share the sauna. Families may share a sauna separately, but the young and old are set aside. If it is a couple, exceptions are made.
You are not allowed to be dressed in the sauna. A towel or a bathrobe is enough; the heat and humidity in there are so high you will not need the clothes as such.
You cannot stay naked in the sauna either. For the sake of other sauna users and minor distractions, you are not allowed to sit in the sauna naked or semi-naked.
Do not eat and drink in the sauna.
Drink plenty of water before and after every sauna session so that your body remains hydrated all the time.
You are advised to remove your makeup before stepping into the sauna. Since most makeup kits are made of chemicals, reaction with heat may be critical. Enjoy the sauna alone, with family, or with friends for a much better-relaxed feeling, as we wait for the next sauna evolution to come in.