Sauna in your country

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Saaropean
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Sauna in your country

Postby Saaropean » 2011-02-18, 15:22

Sauna is a Finnish or in general a north-eastern European tradition that has become popular in other parts of the world, too. I am interested in sauna culture around the world.

Here are my questions:
- How common are saunas in your country?
- How much does it cost to go to a public sauna?
- What do you usually wear inside?
- Do men and women go inside together?
- What is the usual temperature in the sauna?


My answers for [flag]de-de[/flag] Germany (apparently it's similar in [flag]de-at[/flag] Austria):

- How common are saunas in your country?
The bigger public indoor swimming pools usually have several saunas. Sauna is a part of what is called Wellness in German (pronounced [ˈwɛlnɛs] or [ˈʋɛlnəs]) - a marketing buzzword for anything that can make you relax and feel good.

- How much does it cost to go to a public sauna?
Between €10 and €25 for 3 or 4 hours (for an adult), usually including access to whatever steam baths, pools or water slides they may have on the premises.

- What do you usually wear inside?
Nothing. You sit or lie on a towel, but you don't cover yourself with it.

- Do men and women go inside together?
Yes. But most public saunas have one women-only day per week or per month.

- What is the usual temperature in the sauna?
Usually between 70 and 95 °C. That's 160-200 °F for our friends from the United States.

Wikipedia gives a little more information about German/Austrian sauna culture, in case you're interested:
Wikipedia wrote:Loud conversation is not usual as the sauna is seen as a place of healing rather than socialising. Contrary to Russia and Scandinavian countries, pouring water on hot stones to increase humidity (Aufguss, lit: "Onpouring") is not normally done by the sauna visitors themselves, but rather by a person in charge (the Saunameister), either an employee of the sauna complex or a volunteer. Aufguss sessions can take up to 10 minutes, and take place according to a schedule. During an Aufguss session the Saunameister uses a large towel to circulate the hot air through the sauna, intensifying sweating and the perception of heat. Once the Aufguss session has started it is not considered good manners to enter the sauna, as opening the door would cause loss of heat (Sauna guests are expected to enter the sauna just in time before the Aufguss. Leaving the session is allowed, but grudgingly tolerated). Aufguss sessions are usually announced by a schedule on the sauna door. An Aufguss session in progress might be indicated by a light or sign hung above the sauna entrance. Cold showers or baths shortly after a sauna, as well as exposure to fresh air in a special balcony, garden or open-air room (Frischluftraum) are considered a must.

Yesterday I was in a sauna with some Russians who wore funny-looking felt hats. I read up on those hats, that's how I had the idea of starting a "sauna in your country" thread.

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Re: Sauna in your country

Postby Varislintu » 2011-02-18, 16:44

My answers are for [flag]fi[/flag] Finland:

- How common are saunas in your country?
Common. Homes usually have either their own private sauna (in single homes or row houses / townhouses) or a shared one (in apartment buildings, usually one per one or two buildings that belong together). Shared saunas are located in the basement or ground floor of the apartment building. There are also sometimes private saunas in the apartments themselves, but this mostly only in newer buildings. Then there are saunas in public indoor swimming pools (uimahalli/simhall), usually one or two in the women's private area and the same amount in the men's private area. Gyms also usually have saunas, and spas also do of course.

- How much does it cost to go to a public sauna?
A single adult ticket to a public indoor swimming pool costs 4-5 euros, but it's cheaper with a seasonal ticket or the likes. A private "turn" in the apartment building sauna where you live usually costs you something too, but it varies a lot. It can be for example 35 euros per month for a weekly turn of about 1½ hours. In small buildings the private turns can be free. Common saunas also have free weekly turns for women and men separately, but then you don't go privately but with anyone of your gender who shows up.

- What do you usually wear inside?
Depends on the situation. If women and men can't go separately, people usually wear something around genitals and breasts, either a towel or a swimming suit. In public indoor swimming pools the genders are separated, so you have to go naked. Women sometimes wear one of those hats Saaropean mentioned, to protect the hair.

- Do men and women go inside together?
Sometimes, but usually not. If they do they wear something, unless it's between family that is used to going together naked.

- What is the usual temperature in the sauna?
Usually between 70 and 95 °C.

I'd suggest adding one question: Is it allowed/possible to throw water on the stones :P? In Finland -- yes, always. It's not a real sauna if you can't.
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Re: Sauna in your country

Postby Lada » 2011-02-18, 20:50

So, how it is in [flag]ru[/flag] Russia:

- How common are saunas in your country?
Yes, it's very common everywhere
- How much does it cost to go to a public sauna?
There are no public saunas, at least I've never heard of them. The only public thing is Russian banya. Finnish saunas are privately owned.
- What do you usually wear inside?
nothing, the same like in Germany.
- Do men and women go inside together?
yes, usually if there's a company of friends in the sauna you use.. not a towel, but kind of bedsheet, such a white thin big towel.
- What is the usual temperature in the sauna?
it starts from 50-60 and gradually goes up till 95

Yesterday I was in a sauna with some Russians who wore funny-looking felt hats. I read up on those hats, that's how I had the idea of starting a "sauna in your country" thread.

Such hat is an obligatory thing for sauna or banya etc. It protects you from heat stroke. You can find any hat for your taste:http://www.happyhome.ru/uca/bani/shapki

Is it allowed/possible to throw water on the stones :P?

Allowed? it's obligatory :mrgreen: Actually we do not pour water, we prefer beer or some ether oils especially eucalyptus and pine needle flavours.

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Re: Sauna in your country

Postby Formiko » 2011-02-19, 5:22

[flag]en-us[/flag] USA

- How common are saunas in your country?
Saunas are uncommon in the US, except in hotels or health clubs (like a YMCA or a Gold's Gym
- How much does it cost to go to a public sauna?
I've never heard of a public sauna. You have to have a membership to a health club or be in a hotel that has one. Still, you may be the only one inside :)
- What do you usually wear inside?
In the US, you must be clothed.(bathing suit)
- Do men and women go inside together?
In health clubs, they are usually in locker rooms, so no. In hotels, they are usually small, but then they allow all sexes
- What is the usual temperature in the sauna?
To avoid liability, very low. 38 - 41 °C (100-106 F)
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Re: Sauna in your country

Postby culúrien » 2011-02-19, 8:09

Formiko wrote:- How common are saunas in your country?
Saunas are uncommon in the US, except in hotels or health clubs (like a YMCA or a Gold's Gym
- How much does it cost to go to a public sauna?
I've never heard of a public sauna. You have to have a membership to a health club or be in a hotel that has one. Still, you may be the only one inside :)
- What do you usually wear inside?
In the US, you must be clothed.(bathing suit)
- Do men and women go inside together?
In health clubs, they are usually in locker rooms, so no. In hotels, they are usually small, but then they allow all sexes
- What is the usual temperature in the sauna?
To avoid liability, very low. 38 - 41 °C (100-106 F)


Just to emphasize, it took me a while to grasp the European idea of saunas because it isn't something people would specifically go to a gym to do usually, it's lik an added benefit. According to wikipedia saunas are most popular in the region I live but I've not really seen evidenrce of that.
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Re: Sauna in your country

Postby Varislintu » 2011-02-19, 8:48

Lada wrote:
Is it allowed/possible to throw water on the stones :P?

Allowed? it's obligatory :mrgreen: Actually we do not pour water, we prefer beer or some ether oils especially eucalyptus and pine needle flavours.


Beer? Interesting :)! We don't throw/pour beer, but we also have scented oils and such things. Oh, and also sauna-honeys that you can smear on your skin :).

Formiko wrote:- What is the usual temperature in the sauna?
To avoid liability, very low. 38 - 41 °C (100-106 F)


38-41?? I'm sorry, but that's a joke :P. What's the point :hmm:?
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Re: Sauna in your country

Postby Hunef » 2011-02-19, 15:41

Varislintu wrote:38-41?? I'm sorry, but that's a joke :P. What's the point :hmm:?
It definitely sounds more comfortable than 120C or whatever you'd prefer. Personally I just hated when the physical education teacher forced us kids into the sauna after class. I seriously don't understand the point of saunas. It's pure hell, a purgatory.

In Sweden saunas are in spite of my personal experiences very popular, every apartment building has them and many private homes with enough space have them too, unfortunately. Needless to say, the sauna culture in the northeastern part of Sweden is nearly identical to the one in Finland.

BTW, is Swedish the only language that has it's own name of the sauna not based on Finnish? Irt's called bastu in Swedish, a short form of badstuga 'bath house'.

    Image
    A badstuga, i.e., an old style Swedish sauna.
I'd never get close to that house. :nope:
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Re: Sauna in your country

Postby Jurgen Wullenwever » 2011-02-19, 19:42

A hot place full of naked people. :shock: I do avoid them as well.
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Re: Sauna in your country

Postby JackFrost » 2011-02-19, 21:18

Canada

- How common are saunas in your country?
Compared to Finland? Not that common.

- How much does it cost to go to a public sauna?
If they're available at city pools/fitness centres, they're free to use to all city residents and guests (we don't prove our residency, it's just come in and come out). If you find them in health fitness centres like YMCA, well you pay for membership and you should get the sauna usually (unless YMCA is partially funded by the city to offer some free access to the pool hours and other facilities). Saunas are quite common at spas and hotels.

- What do you usually wear inside?
Bathing suit or a towel. Gotta cover it up if it's a shared sauna, but if the sauna is linked to the locker room... supposedly there is no rule for that and you can be naked if you wish, but very few do that.

- Do men and women go inside together?
Yes, if it's a mixed one. It's not always common to have separate ones since most people don't appreciate the benefits of the saunas and there are hardly any social rules regarding their use.

- What is the usual temperature in the sauna?
Well, to keep the liability low, about 40C. Too cold to be honest. The spas would bring it up to 100C since any hotter, it's very uncomfortable since it's hot enough to make water boil... your skin would do that easily.

What's the point :hmm:?

They don't want people to have heart attacks and get sued, despite proper signage warning about the use of saunas. That's the magic of living in a country with common law system.

When I was only 10, it's not unusual to see places forbidding the use of saunas and hot tubs to those under 18 because of "high temperature". I got kicked out of the januzzi once. :roll:
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Re: Sauna in your country

Postby Formiko » 2011-02-19, 22:02

JackFrost wrote:
When I was only 10, it's not unusual to see places forbidding the use of saunas and hot tubs to those under 18 because of "high temperature". I got kicked out of the januzzi once. :roll:


Since I have MS, saunas would literally CRIPPLE me. So, if I were persnickety jerk, I could go into a sauna and then have my wife sue them to kingdom come because I am now in a wheelchair and I can no longer provide for my family.
How they tested for MS in the 60's before MRIs. They threw you in a hot tub. If you couldn't get out, you had MS! :)
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Re: Sauna in your country

Postby Hunef » 2011-02-19, 22:29

Formiko wrote:How they tested for MS in the 60's before MRIs. They threw you in a hot tub. If you couldn't get out, you had MS! :)
"Doctor, I'm just a nurse but... He's got no legs nor any arms." - "The hot-tub test clearly says he got MS if he can't get out of there!"
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Re: Sauna in your country

Postby Formiko » 2011-02-19, 22:34

Hunef wrote:
Formiko wrote:How they tested for MS in the 60's before MRIs. They threw you in a hot tub. If you couldn't get out, you had MS! :)
"Doctor, I'm just a nurse but... He's got no legs nor any arms." - "The hot-tub test clearly says he got MS if he can't get out of there!"


Haha..very funny...they had to suspect MS previously..MS is usually confused with a stroke initially. So that's how they rule out other things.
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Re: Sauna in your country

Postby Bondefanget » 2011-02-21, 9:40

Varislintu wrote:Beer? Interesting :)! We don't throw/pour beer, but we also have scented oils and such things. Oh, and also sauna-honeys that you can smear on your skin :).
We have one here with honey and tar. The tar smell always reminds me of viking ships and stave churches :)

Hunef wrote:
Varislintu wrote:BTW, is Swedish the only language that has it's own name of the sauna not based on Finnish? Irt's called bastu in Swedish, a short form of badstuga 'bath house'.

Badstue/badstu in Norwegian. Although I would think that sauna is just as common to say, if not even more. Same with Helsinki, really, officially the Norwegian name is Helsingfors, but Helsinki still seems to be the more common name to use.
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Re: Sauna in your country

Postby Hunef » 2011-02-21, 16:33

Bondefanget wrote:Badstue/badstu in Norwegian. Although I would think that sauna is just as common to say, if not even more. Same with Helsinki, really, officially the Norwegian name is Helsingfors, but Helsinki still seems to be the more common name to use.
Sorry to hear. :?
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Re: Sauna in your country

Postby pamelalynn » 2011-02-22, 16:50

Many houses in Thunder Bay, (Northern) Ontario are equipped with saunas - probably because a lot of Finns migrated there in the 50s/60s.

In Southern Ontario temperatures can swing from -36C in winter to 36C (with humidex in the 40s). Probably because we experience such swings in temperature, we are not exactly seeking extremes for pleasure reasons. We just wait for July and then turn the air conditioner off.

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Re: Sauna in your country

Postby Johanna » 2011-02-22, 17:44

Here it's pretty much like Finland, except less saunas in private homes I guess. You find at least two at every public swimming pool, one for women, one for men, in which you are naked, and if there is one for both you keep your swimsuit on.

In private homes it all depends on the group, sometimes you're expected to be naked, sometimes not. It's also about who you're in the sauna with, if there's 8 women and 2 men, the men are much more likely to cover some parts than the women. 8 men and 2 women, usually everyone covers some parts. 5 women and 5 men are much more likely to be naked, even if everyone doesn't know each other, but most still have to be family. A group mostly consisting of strangers, or friends are never naked together.

Not that that many people have a sauna in their home, maybe one in ten.
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Re: Sauna in your country

Postby JackFrost » 2011-02-22, 19:43

I would never, never, never be naked in front of my family.
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Re: Sauna in your country

Postby culúrien » 2011-02-22, 19:48

JackFrost wrote:I would never, never, never be naked in front of my family.


Ditto, just the thought freaks me out
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Re: Sauna in your country

Postby Johanna » 2011-02-22, 20:22

My family wouldn't either, but I know of some who would.
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Re: Sauna in your country

Postby Sol Invictus » 2011-03-10, 20:52

What is the diffrence between sauna and any other bath anyway? When I was little we used to go to pool which had a ``sauna``, meaning an electricaly heated room. Totaly loved lying there watching water drops dry out. :D Besides that I haven`t really been to any bath, I have impresion that people party there, additionaly it seems that lately it has become trendy and healthy to go to bath or have your own bath


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