Finns pronounce 'sauna' like 'soun-a', as in the word 'sound'.
You might catch us doing this too. However we usually simply
say 'bath house'. This is one of the first buildings we erected
here and it was for years our only way to bathe 'indoors'. But
it is bathing in its finest form.* Skin pores get much cleaner.
On bath night the women
traditionally go first, men go later. There are towels and wash
cloths if you haven't come with them. If you haven't come with
a bathing suit, well, that's the way we bathe!
If things have been done
sufficiently before you enter, the fire should be hot (the thermometer
will read between 60 and 90C), the water jacket should have hot
water in it and there should be cold water in pail(s) in the
change room. After changing in the outer room bring a cold water
pail in with you. You can make up pans of washing water by mixing
pail water and hot water from the spigot off of the water tank.
Please be careful around the stove and the hot water that
comes out of the tap!
Once you have your pan
and wash cloth, find a bench that suits your temperature range
and soak up the heat. If you are prone to heat stroke be careful
not to overheat yourself. You may want to find the soap,
the back brush or the switch. From time to time you may want
a drink of water. Use the dippers but do not return any water
to the pail. You may want to splash some water on the rocks.
The only prohibition with this is what you can handle when the
steam hits you!
When taking a break in
the outer room remember to shut the door or the remaining bathers
will usually yell at you. Cool off either in the change room
or on the porch. Certain bathers have been known to find a snow
bank in winter or even run to the pond in summer.
Relax and enjoy your time.
Unlike a 'sweat lodge' we do not believe there is anything mystical
about a common bath experience. Rather, we have found that the
unique atmosphere of unguarded camaraderie and refreshment lends
itself effortlessly to times of intimate sharing, honesty and
It is courteous when done
to empty your pan down the drain that is visible on the bathhouse
floor. Wring out your face cloth and leave it to dry on the bench.
If you are the last one bathing, please drain the hot water tank
into a pail and pour it down the drain. Leftover cold water likewise.
*Read the Valmet
booklet for bathing instructions from a Finn source.