A Brief History of Saunas: Thanks Finland!

Spirit of the Sauna

December 13, 2019

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4 min read

Sebastian and Johannes

A Brief History of Saunas: Thanks Finland! 

10,000 years ago Woolly Mammoths went extinct, and some really cold nomadic dudes somewhere in Finland dug a hole in the ground, covered it with animal skin (hopefully not the Wooly Mammoths) and build the first sauna.

As the Finnish people ceased no madding, saunas evolved to resemble cabins with a fire pit. Stones were placed over the fire and would be heated throughout the day. Once the smoke was cleared, people and even animals would enter the saunas to stay warm through the night. Later, electric stoves and chimneys were built into saunas because they saved wood and heated the structure much faster.

According to statistics, there are 2 million saunas for the 5 million people living in Finland.

Spirit of the Sauna

Saunas were utilized for religious ceremonies, relaxing, social engagement, childbirth, and even death! It's been recorded that elders would go to the sauna when it was their time to pass away. No wonder they believed spirits inhabited these wooden structures!

New saunas would need to be spiritually purified to ensure good experiences for all future uses. Using someone else's sauna required its own unique set of spells.

A Finish saying goes, ‘In the sauna, one must conduct themselves as one would in church.'

There was even a myth of a sauna elf that was meant to protect the wooden house from fire and other types of damage. Families had to follow traditions, leave the water and even food on holidays to keep the elf happy!

A farmer coming in from a long day in the fields would step into a sauna to unwind, while also drying and smoking his meats alongside him!

However, just like today, many people used it to detoxify the body and healing illness before plunging into freezing water.

A Finnish proverb says: If tar, vodka or the sauna won't help, then the disease is fatal'.

Sweat Lodges

There are no structural differences between how a Sweat Lodge and Sauna. The difference between the two is that people typically limit their saunas to twenty minutes, while many stays in a sweat lodge for hours.

This has to lead to death in rare cases from heat exhaustion and dehydration!

The same process of heating stones and pouring water over them to create steam is used. Sometimes there is strict conduct in how the lodges can be constructed. The builders may fast or take a vow of silence while the structure is being built because the spirits are so sacred.

Ancient sweat lodges have been found all over the world from South America, rural China, Mongolia, and Northern Ireland! But many people associate these structures with Native Americans who used them to seek wisdom and spiritual insights.

Today, spiritual learners still go to sweat lodges seeking ancestral wisdom and otherworldly experiences.

It is interesting to consider the ways saunas and smokehouses were used as a spiritual place throughout history. Would you consider your in-home sauna a sacred space in the home?

We promise not to engineer your Clearlight Infrared Sauna with spirits or anything of the sort. When we are constructing your sauna, we are thinking of your holistic wellbeing and the major health benefits that will add longevity to your life!

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