Definition of Sauna
The Finnish sauna is a space that is usually heated to a temperature of about 80–110 °C for healing and relaxation. The earliest Finnish saunas were built in the bronze age, and the basic shape has remained the same since then. It is a room with wooden walls – either a separate building or as part of a building. It is heated by a stove with a stone oven. The air can be humidified by throwing water on the hot stones of the stove.
There are three basic types of sauna: electrically heated, wood burning, and smoke sauna.
The Smoke Sauna
Here I will concentrate on the smoke sauna (savusauna). The smoke sauna is the oldest type of sauna in Finland. The smoke sauna stove is very different from all other sauna stoves: it is a dome made of stone, placed around and on top of a fireplace, through which the smoke freely enters the room during heating. The smoke sauna does not have any chimney, but the smoke escapes through a hatch in the ceiling, a flap in the wall or through an opened door.
When the stones are hot enough and the fire has gone out, carbon monoxide is ventilated out and the sauna is ready for bathers. The interior of a smoke sauna is covered with soot. Temperature in the smoke sauna can only be regulated by opening and closing the hatches or the door. Thus the bathing temperature may often be higher than in other types of sauna.
The smoke sauna is appreciated as a traditional form of bathing due to, among other things, the soft steam generated by the large amount of stone in the stove. The aroma of the smoke in a smoke sauna is also something that many people like.
Today, there are about 25,000 smoke saunas in Finland. That makes about one percent of all saunas.
Sauna is an important part of the Finnish culture and it’s estimated that up to 99 percent of Finns regularly use a sauna. The Finnish sauna culture also includes a bath broom, known in Finnish as vihta and made of thin twigs of birch. It’s used for massaging a bather’s skin. Another typical element of the Finnish sauna culture are pre-holiday saunas, such as Midsummer sauna and Christmas sauna.
We are happy to announce that the Smoke Sauna in Himos will be open for all participants of IntSaab 2021 Finland. This will be a great opportunity to experience something unique. In Himos there are also other saunas, for example a wood burning sauna by the lake, also open for all participants. Most cabins in the area also have a sauna for you to enjoy any time during your stay.
Finally, a travel tip. Only a five minute drive from Himos you can visit the world's largest collection of Finnish smoke saunas at a place called Saunakylä – the Sauna Village.
Welcome to Finland and IntSaab 2021.