THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF REGULAR FINNISH OUTDOOR SAUNA BATHING

A trusted and key authority in the field is Dr. Jari Laukkanen, cardiologist and professor at the Central Finland HealthCare District and University of Jyväskylä. He’s a leading figure in the health benefits associated with the practice and his work helps educate people about the real ways traditional Finnish Sauna can help improve their lives. 

 

His 2015 study, aimed at investigating the association between frequent sauna bathing and various cardiovascular issues, found that sauna bathing significantly reduced the risk of sudden cardiac death, fatal cardiovascular and coronary heart disease. 

 

A traditional sauna experience protects against cardiovascular disease, aids relaxation, sleep, rheumatoid diseases, chronic fatigue and pain syndromes. It also reduces stress, improves exercise performance, muscle recovery and the skin’s moisture barrier properties.

 

Also, and perhaps most crucially, unlike cheaper Infrared Saunas which have seen a growth in popularity in recent times, a traditional Finnish sauna also improves arterial stiffness and protects against Alzheimer's, Dementia, respiratory disease and Pneumonia. It’s no surprise that native Finn’s opt for traditional saunas 98% of the time. 

 

Interestingly, Finnish saunas actually produce more infrared radiation compared to actual infrared saunas. Hence, any benefits induced through the use of (for example) infrared saunas or Waon therapy are equally applicable to Finnish saunas. 

THE FINNISH EXPERIENCE

This tradition is the essence and cornerstone of Nordic culture. Sauna bathing is an ancient form of healing used to cleanse the body and mind. It originated with native populations across the globe, with the Finnish sauna “SOW-NAH” being the most popular ritual we see today. 

 

Traditional saunas can be found across Scandinavia and the Baltics, floating on serene lakes, in city bathhouses, and built in seaside cottages. The sauna is a place to retreat, cure what ails you, and gather with friends to share in an uplifting experience.

 

In a Finnish sauna, the temperature is relatively high compared to other saunas in the world, between 70-100°C. The Finnish sauna is heated with a heater with heat-conducting stones. Water is thrown on the stones to create water vapour (known as ‘löyly’ in Finnish), generating moisture and instantaneous, soft extra heat in the sauna. The typical humidity in a Finnish sauna ranges from 40-60%. 

 

In Finnish sauna bathing, cooling off is as essential as the sauna bathing itself. After pleasant exposure to moist heat, many sauna bathers enjoy cooling off with a cold shower or a dip in a lake, ocean or pool. The transition from hot to cold invigorates the blood supply and increases the heart rate, which in turn contributes to overall improved health and wellbeing.