Sauna types

Siirry edelliseen
Siirry seuraavaan

Sauna experience depends very much on the sauna type. There are many different types of saunas. Have a look at the most common ones and find out how each sauna type differs from the others.

Wood burning sauna – Traditional Finnish sauna

A wood-burning sauna is heated up with firewood, which is burnt in a firebox in a stove ‘kiuas’. The required temperature is achieved by adjusting the amount of fire in the firebox – the more fiery the flames, the hotter the steam. The ideal temperature in a traditional Finnish sauna is at least 65.5 degrees centigrade, measured from the sauna bench. The moisture balance of the sauna is regulated by throwing water on the stones of the stove – when the water hits the stones, it evaporates into steam. This rising moist steam is what we call “löyly”.

Photo: Mika Nuorva / Kankaan sauna

Electrically heated sauna

Today, most Finns bathe in a convenient and easy-to-use electric sauna, which has been in use since the 1950s. An electric sauna is more efficient and safer than the traditional wood-burning sauna – as there are no flames, the fire safety is significantly better. Instead of carrying and lighting firewood, all it takes to heat the sauna is pressing a button on a control panel or remote. Today, electric saunas are available in many flats and row houses.

Photo: Julia Kivelä

Smoke sauna

Although smoke saunas ‘savusauna’ used to be the most popular type of sauna in Finland back in the day, they are now a rare treat. The massive stove in a smoke sauna requires hours of heating, but the effort is worth it. Many sauna enthusiasts prize a smoke sauna and its wonderfully soft steam – it is hard to find a more atmospheric sauna experience than a dim and smokily fragrant smoke sauna!

A smoke sauna is very different from traditional wood burning saunas, as it has no chimney — the smoke spreads among the sauna bathers and slowly exits through a vent in the steam room. Smoke saunas are often dark, as the soot colours the benches of the sauna. A blackened behind is part of the package when visiting a smoke sauna!

Photo: Peurunka

Steam sauna – Steam room

The steam sauna, i.e. Hamam, was born in the Middle East and is also known in Finland as a Turkish sauna. The steam sauna differs from the traditional sauna in many ways: the moisture content of the air in a steam sauna may exceed 100%, and the temperature is between 45 °C and 50 °C. However, the most significant difference with the Finnish sauna is the lack of a stove – instead of throwing water on the stove, one sits in the continuous embrace of a warm cloud of steam in a steam sauna.

Like a regular sauna, a steam sauna has many health benefits. A steam sauna brings relief from respiratory illnesses and ailments. In addition, relaxing in a steam sauna makes the skin glow, by improving circulation and detoxifying the system.

Photo: Julia Kivelä

Infrared sauna – Heat therapy room

The infrared sauna and the traditional sauna have little in common, apart from the euphoria derived from sweating. In an infrared sauna, the heat comes from infrared radiation – there is no stove in an infrared sauna at all. Even the temperature is much lower than in a traditional sauna, as the temperature in an infrared sauna is around 50 degrees centigrade. Saunas of this type are highly popular, especially among athletes, as the radiation has been proven to improve muscle mobility, as well as oxygen uptake. 

Photo: Julia Kivelä

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