Top Ten Scandinavia Classic Adventures

Sweat in a Finnish Sauce
By Bertil Lintner

Beating yourself with leafy birch whisks more your speed? Head to Rovaniemi for a day of sweating in the Finnish Lapland. Join locals in a tradition as old as the monarchy as they perch on benches, splash water on hot stones to generate steam, and gently beat themselves with leafy birch whisks. Saunas—once used to treat illnesses—were first built in the 5th century, and the sauna tradition, including the sauna's basic structure, has remained virtually unchanged. It is believed that the tradition of sweating, followed by a quick roll in the snow or dip in an ice hole, speeds up the heartbeat, improves the breathing and circulation, raises the body temperature, and stimulates metabolism.


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