TRADITIONS OF SAUNA
Finland is known for its thousands lakes; however it is also the LAND OF MILLIONS OF SAUNAS. (5, 4 million inhabitants and prox. 1, 6 million saunas)
Almost every house has a sauna and the bathing rituals are done weekly or in some house every day. Finns are very particular with saunas, and every sauna has its own character. When the water is poured on the hot stones, it gives off a vapor known as “löyly”. Löyly defines the sauna and softest löyly makes the best sauna.
In the old time sauna was the place of birth and purity. The purification rituals where performed in sauna before the weddings. There is old Finnish saying “ Sauna is a poor man’s pharmacy”. People collected herbs and plant from the forest and used them in sauna as cure for aches and pains.
Part of the Finnish sauna experience is the birch. The birch branches are collected in the late June to early July and they are used to beat the back in the sauna. This will increase the blood circulation, clear out the dirt and smooth the skin. Old belief is that sauna birch must be respected and handled with care in order to perfect the sauna experience.
The Finnish sauna combines the purity, warmth and relaxation. For some it is almost holy place. The warmth of the löyly is usually connected with clear waters of the lake or rolling in white snow. The fire is cracking in the fireplace and the air is rising warmly as the vapor for the stones release the heat. This brings a harmonious experience that livens up the body and soul. This is haven.
The Finns go to sauna with family and friends. After the shower, the Finns go sauna naked. Once people are themselves in sauna, they are all equal. There is no difference of sexes, background, social status…All are children of nature to the route of purification!
Metsäkyly-Forest Retreat wants to honor the old Finnish Traditions and they offer different treatments with a twist of imagination. There are also separate men’s and women’s sauna and one can go there with a swimming suit. However, if you are not afraid of the real Finnish sauna experience, ditch your swimsuits to the corner, take a branch of birch and take a good bashing on the back. We called it “Selkäsauna”.