What is a Swedish sauna?

After Finland, all of Sweden is known to be “sauna crazy”. And yet, the Swedish sauna should be distinguished from the classic Finnish sauna: In Sweden, saunas traditionally take place in a "bastu", a kind of sauna bath. Here, the Swedes combine a traditional sauna with extreme cooling and additionally in a wooden barrel, comparable to a whirlpool.
Good mood prevails in the Swedish sauna

Sweating in the Swedish sauna

Social gatherings are lived by each nation differently. While Italians meet in a cafeteria, Americans arrange to have an irresistible dinner. The Irish enjoy a drink in their favorite pub. Chinese and Japanese drink their green tea in a tea house. Germans like to visit a pub, and Balkan residents prefer to meet in their own homes to sip their mocha together.

In Sweden, on the other hand, the sauna is the preferred place for social gatherings. Colleagues, neighbors, friends, and family members gather in the heat cabin to give meaning to the term “quality time.” The focus is not on personal well-being, but on the shared experience. The sauna serves as a central place where Swedes can not only relax and leave everyday stress behind, but also communicate with each other.

It’s less about individual relaxation and more about sweating together, having conversations and strengthening social bonds. The sauna is a symbol of community and cohesion and plays an important role in Swedish culture, which places a high value on being together.

Good mood prevails in the Swedish sauna

In sauna cabins in Germany, there is usually absolute silence. Some heat cabins even explicitly point this out by putting a sign on the side. This contains the words, “Meditation sauna – silence please.” Swedes refer to their sauna as either bastu or badunna. They also consider public sauna rooms to be places for socializing. While in the sauna, they laugh, sing and talk like other nations do in a restaurant.

In Germany, however, there is no strict gender segregation in the sauna rooms. In the Swedes, on the other hand, this dominates. Furthermore, there is a maximum number of visitors allowed in German heat cabins. In Sweden, on the other hand, sauna fans sit in a large group, the number of which ranges from 20 to 50 visitors, in one room.

Explanation of the term Sweden sauna

Sweden sauna is a term that implies the typical constructional construct. It is typically a single building located in the beautiful, open nature of Sweden. The rustic log cabins, with a sweat room next to them, are often located on green areas. Furthermore, the term Swedish sauna, includes the sauna custom created by the Swedish people with regard to taking a sauna.

Wellness ritual in Sweden

In Sweden, sauna visitors begin their wellness ritual in a cabin that allows for intense sweating. Between 80 and 100 degrees Celsius (176 to 212 °F) prevail in a sweat room. To bring the cycle back into natural balance, sauna visitors spend time outside their log cabin in the great outdoors. The Swedes place a high value on the icy cold. They either go into a snowy landscape, into a cool bathing lake or dip their bodies into an ice-cold plunge pool.

Afterward, the sauna-goers take a bath. They do not go to a restroom at all. Furthermore, they get together in a wooden barrel filled with water. However, this is equivalent to a whirlpool. The water temperature is about 45 degrees Celsius (113 °F).

The procedure is thus divided into the three areas of sweating, cold bathing as well as hot bathing. Moreover, the Swedes repeat this process several times in a row. As a rule, the Swedish people plan a lot of time for sauna bathing. Bathing in the wooden pool belongs to the most popular part of sauna bathing, as visitors enjoy it for a long time and extensively. Furthermore, the most interesting as well as the longest conversations take place in the wooden tub.

The effect of the Swedish sauna

The procedure of the Swedish sauna resembles the practice of an extreme sport. After all, the body faces a rapid change from hot to freezing, before moving again to a very warm room. Those who like to take a hot bath should know that its temperature of 37 degrees Celsius (98,6 °F) is merely warm and not at all hot compared to a Swedish sauna. However, the change stimulates the circulation. The immune system also benefits from strengthening and hardening.

Swedish sauna is not for beginners

However, the Swedish sauna is not suitable for beginners who have just discovered the heat cabin. The skin does not react positively to the temperature change. Newcomers report from a strained skin as well as from circulation problems. People who nevertheless want to test the Swedish sauna can do so by spending only five to a maximum of ten minutes in this heat cabin at the beginning.

Women and men who suffer from circulatory problems, cardiac arrhythmias or high blood pressure should, however, enjoy the Swedish sauna with caution. However, it would be better for this risk group to consult with their doctor beforehand. Pregnant women and children should also be careful when using the Swedish sauna. If they find the stay in the hot cabin unpleasant or even exhausting, they should leave the room immediately.

Important rules of the Swedish sauna

As mentioned above, the Swedes practice a strict separation of the sexes. In Germany, such a separation does not exist. There are men’s and women’s heat cabins in gyms, but they are not mandatory. In spas, men, and women share the cabins. However, all public facilities offer special sauna times exclusively for men as well as for women. Therefore, more attention is required at the Sweden Sauna in this regard.

Dress code in the Sweden Sauna

In the Sweden sauna, visitors sweat either naked or with a towel. Newcomers should conform to the majority. Furthermore, sauna visitors meet in the Sweden Sauna to talk.

Set up your own Swedish sauna in the garden

Sauna fans who would like to visit the Swedish sauna at any time and on a regular basis can also set up their own version in their garden. In doing so, they can either build a heat cabin themselves or purchase a ready-made sauna. Meanwhile, numerous stores score with a huge selection. Various shapes, construction styles and sizes are available. To complete the Swedish sauna, a wooden bath tub or a bath barrel is indispensable.


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