- The temperature is usually around 160° F.
- People typically stay in the sauna for at least 5 to 20 minutes.
Sauna as a respected holy place
Not only was sauna an important place for it’s practical purposes, but it was also honored as a holy place. The sauna place itself was considered holy and when it was time to build a new sauna, it had to be built in the same holy spot. It was believed that hot sauna steam would bring good luck with daily chores and even fishing trips. Behavior in the sauna had to be respectful – the sauna-goer had to be polite, quiet and avoid certain language and activities. Even those who were not in the sauna had to respect the sauna time and not work in the meanwhile. Women often went to give birth in the sauna, so it was the place were new lives started.
There have been a few studies on infrared saunas, which use light instead of heat to increase your body temperature without warming up the air around you.
- Reduced Blood Pressure. At least four studies have linked sauna use to reduced blood pressure and lower risks of high blood pressure.
- Cardiovascular Disease. Several studies have shown that regular sauna use (along with exercise) reduces cardiovascular diseases (heart and blood pressure diseases).
- Neurocognitive Disease. Neurocognitive disease includes dementia and other issues that lead to reduced brain function. It’s often caused by heart problems, inflammation, and oxidative stress (which happens when there are too many harmful molecules called free radicals in your body). We need more research into whether sauna bathing reduces the risk of neurocognitive diseases or helps to counter their causes, such as heart disease. One theory is that the relaxing environment of the sauna affects your brain in positive ways.
- Lung Function. One study tested the effects of sauna bathing on people with pulmonary disease (lung disease). It found that saunas helped to ease or prevent colds, chronic bronchitis, asthma, and pneumonia.
Adoption in the US:
- In Finland, there are almost 2 million saunas for a population of 5 million people.
“leil“ (gust of hot humid air rising from hot stones after throwing water on them)
Habicht, Tamara (2014). Eesti saun. Saunakombed meie pärimuskultuuris. Tea kirjastus.
Margna, Epp (2012). Suitsusaun on eluviis. Eesti Loodus, 2012, 6-7.