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Finnish Saunas: A Way of Life

There are few traditions more distinctively Finnish than the sauna. Saunas are thought to have originated thousands of years ago, with the first written mention of Finnish saunas appearing in literature in the year 1112. Saunas are so important in Finland that there are an estimated 3.3 million saunas in Finland, a country of less than 6 million people.

A few facts about saunas in Finland:

  • The word ‘sauna’ means bath house in Finnish. It is the only Finnish word used in the English language.

  • Saunas were once used as the gateway in and out of life: nearly all Finnish women once gave birth in saunas and it was customary upon death to give the body a final wash in the sauna.

  • There are three types of saunas: electric (the most common type), wood-heated, and smoke saunas.

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