Steam encounter: Sauna guru

It would be a crime – or at least a crying shame – to visit Finland without a relaxing steam in a traditional sauna. The proper way to perform the steam ritual is explained in a new book in Finnish, English, and German, Sauna: The Finnish Way of Life (Kirjakaari 2016). Blue Wings shares mind and body cleansing tips from the book’s author, Carita Harju, executive director of Sauna from Finland.

Q: What destinations would you recommend for sauna-lovers?

A: Our organization grants certificates of authenticity to high-quality saunas. Top spots include the Sauna Tour in Kuusamo, Varjola Guesthouse in Central Finland and Metsäkyly Forest Retreat in Rovaniemi. I personally love any wood-burning sauna.

Q: What defines a real Finnish sauna?

A: Löyly, the water thrown on the stove. It creates moisture and heat. After a good steam, you feel clean, beautiful and reborn on the inside.

Q: What should you never do in a sauna?

A: Every sauna has its own house rules, but if you go to a public sauna, always ask your fellow bathers before throwing löyly.

Originally published in Blue Wings magazine 26.1.2017. Read the article here. (Page 14)