”My passion has been offering the relaxing experience of the Finnish sauna and ice swimming to people around the world. I like sauna and ice swimming, travel, architecture, design, nature and sports. My relationship with the sauna started as a young boy, on an island cottage, where my family and I used to spend our summers. Bathing in the sauna and using the vihta (a birch whisk used in the sauna), complete with its intoxicating scent, was the crowning jewel of summer nights at the cottage. While living abroad, and on work trips, I realised what attracted me in the sauna; I began to miss a manner of relaxation, which cleanses the body and mind completely. Later, I decided to also try ice swimming, which I immediately got hooked on. While searching for opportunities to bathe in saunas and go ice swimming – both for myself as for my foreign guests in my home town, Helsinki – I realised that there weren’t any places, where just anyone could enter in the city centre. Fortunately, we found a spot in Hernesaari.
My relationship with the sauna changed into an almost obsessive goal, to achieve a high-quality, all-year spot, open to all, next to the waterfront; a living room for city folk – a place to relax. We gathered an expert team, with whom we developed the “Nordic relaxation experience” called Lumo Nordic. The name stems from the charming feeling of well-being, which takes over your mind and body after being in the sauna.
It combines the sauna and tasty, healthy Nordic food and drink, forming an experience for many of our senses. The first site, Löyly, which is a sauna and restaurant, was opened in May of 2016. The next sites will be opened in Tampere and Kuopio, and we’re actively searching for new locations in Finland and abroad.
The most important elements of the concept which our team has developed are a real, high-quality Finnish sauna experience, which allows for a refreshing swim in a lake, a hole in the ice, as well as high-quality, healthy and tasty food and drink. Other important items in our concept are an easy-going approachability, an ecological approach and Nordic components and ingredients in our design, architecture and restaurant. Chef Sara La Fountain has developed our food and drink concept, which combines natural Nordic flavours with seasonal and local specialties – innovative meals, shareable meals, communal dining in a relaxed environment.”
”To me, a sauna signifies tradition, authenticity and being Finnish. I could have a sauna bath three times a day. Even when in town, I go to the sauna every day. In the arctic forest spa, Metsäkyly, guests can enjoy an all-day or even an all-night sauna experience, hopefully under the glow of the Northern Lights. During the wintertime, it’s nice to be in the tub, in sub-zero temperatures. You can see the stars in the sky here. Chinese tourists in particular have been excited about the clear sky, which you cannot see in many Chinese cities.
In our Arctic Treehouse forest hotel, we offer a safe nature experience. From the hotel room windows, you can see how close nature is. We didn’t want to create igloos, but rather, something new. The nature experience can also be frightening, which is when the contrast is easy to create, but nature cannot be too scary. In our glass houses constructed by Kontio, nature is allowed to enter, in a warm and safe manner. Even watching the snow fall can be a pleasant, with a cup of tea in your hand.
At Metsäkyly, local sausages, fish and reindeer meat are available. Naturally, after bathing in the smoke sauna, smoked fish is appealing, and why not catch it yourself, with a guide while angling or ice fishing. There are four saunas at Metsäkyly, but we also intend to build a floating sauna, a sauna in a tree and a teepee sauna (kota). The floating sauna, naturally, will be on a raft from which you can take a dip in the lake – even straight down through the sauna floor – and the tree sauna will, of course, be located in a tree and heated with wood. The teepee sauna will be built inside a “kota” with tubs beneath the floor and a central hearth. The “kota” sauna, raft sauna and tree saunas can all accommodate 10 people, and taking a seven-sauna tour is the idea.”
”Just the thought of going to the sauna gives me satisfaction. I bathe in the sauna several times a week. I usually go alone, or with my family, but I also often invite friends over for a sauna. I also use the sauna a lot for my work. The goal of the Sauna from Finland network is to create the world’s best sauna experience. The network already features 160 member companies, which further this goal with their own products, services and know-how.
Nothing beats my own sauna, however, having a sauna bath takes my mind off of everyday stress and I get some time to myself. This is real steaming therapy.
As the evening grows darker, my own sauna moment starts with my heating up our yard sauna, either with electricity or wood. While waiting for the sauna to heat up, I spread out the linen cloths on the sauna boards, then I fill the water containers and place a lantern in to create the mood. The sauna mood is important to me. Often, my sauna moment also includes body and facial treatments. Cooling off is a significant part of my sauna experience. After bathing in the sauna, I get into my linen bathrobe and sit peacefully, for a long time, enjoying the blissful state which you get after having a sauna bath. The sauna did it again, relaxing the mind and body.
A real Finnish sauna experience, provided in a high-quality manner as a package, creates interest all over the world; there is definitely a high demand for the Finnish sauna experience as a service. In the genuine Finnish sauna experience, all traditional elements of sauna bathing are combined: wood, water, a naked flame and people with their stories. The real Finnish sauna experience is easily identified by its quality mark, which has been specifically made for it. The Authentic Finnish Sauna Experience quality mark, granted by Sauna from Finland, can only be applied for by a sauna service company which passes the quality criteria established by Sauna from Finland, for a genuine Finnish sauna experience.”
”The Heiskanen family has been keeping a tavern on the shores of Porosalmi since 1685. The sauna is a significant part of the well-being of Finns: The refreshing effect of the sauna affects both the mind and body. For us at Järvisydän, bathing in the sauna is a must after spending an activity-filled day by the lake!
At Järvisydän, we have an entire sauna world constructed for our guests, since we want to offer the greatest sauna experience in Finland, on the shores of Saimaa. Our various saunas can accommodate up to 70 people. The windows of the spa, which has been carved into a crack in the beachfront bedrock, open up to a view of the lake. In the centre of the spa, there is a circulating water pool which is like a natural pond.”
”Sauna roots run deep in me. I have spent my childhood summers at my father’s cottage, which has a smoke sauna built right on the waterfront. Its timber beams are from a building from the 1800s. Already as a child, I was fascinated by the dim light, smells and silence of the smoke sauna. The after-heat of the sauna the next morning is still something magical to me.
In the Finnish national epic Kalevala, the sauna is described as an energy source for people, and a healing method for physical and mental ailments. For me, my father’s smoke sauna signifies just that. It takes hours to heat it, and being in the sauna is like path to an ancient heat source, which has carressed people through the ages.
In Finland, there are five million people and over three million saunas. I think that the sauna has given birth to an entire people. Just two generations ago, women still gave birth in the sauna. In this modern age, it seems a distant concept, but even my own grandmother gave birth to my father in the sauna. Close to the spot where our smoke sauna has been built. My grandmother has dried linen and smoked meat in it.
To me, the sauna is a simple space, which brings us back to basic values, and bathing in it is a passage to the resting of the body and mind. The sauna has a balancing effect on me. The sauna creates presence. After the sauna, the mind is at rest and it feels like your body is smiling.
In modern, hectic times, these basic things are easy to forget. Sauna yoga stemmed from the thought that in the centre of the flood of modern stimulants, “silent urban spaces” could be created. I wondered if the sauna, as a quiet space, could have yoga-based movements combined with it, which would maintain the health of people, as a whole, creating a presence together with the sauna. There are now more than 450 sauna yoga trainers, and sauna yoga is practised as guided, small-group activities in six countries. We are also creating a new kind of sauna space, as a collaborative project, together with designer Harri Koskinen and sauna stove manufacturer, Harvia. In it, the functional elements and design support calm and well-being.”
”In the sauna, I have always been attracted by the feeling of it, and the warmth of the sauna. It’s important for me to get in the calm of the sauna, I can just be quiet and enjoy the vapour and steam. The temperature does not need to be high (65–70 degrees C), but there has to be enough humidity. In the wintertime, ice swimming is a very important part of sauna bathing and, luckily for me, I often get to visit a sauna which has a hole in the ice next to it.
The sauna offers me the opportunity to operate a business, as well as to guide our customers into the Finnish sauna experience. I feel lucky, since I get to tell and show our customers what a genuine Finnish sauna experience is. It’s a holistic experience for me, which begins before the sauna, and ends with relaxing cooling off after the sauna.
The Finnish guided sauna experience is an object of interest all over the world. Customers are interested in the stories and history, which are related to the sauna, as well as a certain mystique. The Finnish sauna experience (sauna construction, decor, design, and producing an experience) has an enormous market in the world, when done correctly. Customers must be offered a holistic experience, which is designed and built in Finland, topped off with high-quality Finnish materials, and provides professional guidance. That is Finnish natural luxury.
Our company operates at Ruka. We own a few saunas, two of which have received the Sauna From Finland quality certification. Together with six other companies, we have developed the SaunaTour concept. SaunaTour saunas are quality-certified saunas around Kuusamo, which always feature a guide. We offer, among other things, an ice sauna. Our company has two wild food restaurants, Rukan Kuksa and Kultala. We offer high-quality lodging in deadwood villas.”
The Finnish Sauna Society is a cultural association founded in 1937 to foster the heritage of the national bath. The function of the Finnish Sauna Society is to preserve the traditional native sauna culture, spread information about it, correct wrong impressions about the sauna, emphasize the meaning of sauna bathing for a healthy life and also to develop the sauna of the present day. The Society has published papers, books and other items in different languages. www.sauna.fi
FinRelax-programme, Visit Finland
”In the arctic forest spa, Metsäkyly, guests can enjoy an all-day or even an all-night sauna experience, hopefully under the glow of the Northern Lights.”
”In the genuine Finnish sauna experience, all traditional elements of sauna bathing are combined: wood, water, a naked flame and people with their stories.”
”We want to offer the greatest sauna experience in Finland, on the shores of lake Saimaa.”
”The sauna is a significant part of the well-being of Finns.”
”Sauna yoga stemmed from the thought that in the centre of the flood of modern stimulants, “silent urban spaces” could be created.”
”Customers are interested in the stories and history, which are related to the sauna, as well as a certain mystique.”