People all over the world have always enjoyed heat in different ways, using everything from saunas and steam rooms to banyas and hammams to feel better, look better and to spend time relaxing with loved ones. The modern sauna of today merges a lot of these traditions, bringing all the benefits of heat and steam into your home - so you can enjoy them daily.
Löyly (pronounced low-lu) is an important part of the traditional sauna experience. Löyly means throwing small amounts of water on the hot sauna stones to create a warm and soothing steam. The steam rapidly increases the sensation of heat as well as the humidity of the sauna room, bringing pleasure as well as health benefits.
You know that story about Finnish people hitting each other with birch branches in the sauna? Well, it’s true. And it’s great! The whisk (vihta or vasta in finnish) is made from young birch twigs and forms an integral part of traditional finnish sauna bathing. The idea is to beat the skin lightly with the whisk in order to stimulate blood circulation, and to release the fresh and invigorating birch aroma.
The sauna is a place for physical and mental cleansing. Keep your voice low and act calmly.
Being invited to someone’s sauna is an honour. Don’t say no unless you have a really good reason.
In Finland, the custom is to bathe naked, but if you are more comfortable in a swimming suit, that’s ok as well.
Always be polite, and don’t swear or use bad language in the sauna.
Last but not least: remember to always drink plenty of water!
When it comes to clothing, less is usually more when it comes to sauna bathing. But there is one exception - the rapidly trending woolen sauna hat. This somewhat peculiar fashion accessory comes from the traditional Russian sauna practice, the Banya, and is now gaining popularity in sauna communities all over the world.
Why? Well, because the head tends to heat up much faster than the rest of the body, which makes it difficult to raise your core temperature significantly without feeling overheated. The woolen hat does not make your head warmer - it actually keeps you cooler. By protecting your head against the heat, the hat allows you to spend longer stretches of time in the sauna without discomfort.