History Of The Sauna

History Of The Sauna 

The word ‘Sauna’ is down in the English Dictionary as meaning ‘bath’.  The word itself comes from Finland and is the only word from the Finnish language to be included in the Oxford British Dictionary. 

Historians have no idea who actually invented the very first sauna but they all agree that Finland should claim this crown. The reason being is mainly because the sauna lifestyle is such a huge part of the Finnish society.  They even have the term “saunassa ollaan kuin kirkossa,” – one should behave in the sauna as in church.


Early Records 

The first record of a sauna is dated over 2000 years ago dating back to 1112 in Finland. Early saunas were dug beneath the ground with hot rocks. Later through time, they become above ground with hot wooded logs.  The room would have no chimney. It would take around 6 hours to heat the room that would be filled with smoke.  Bathers would wait until the room got super hot and the smoke cleared.  They then would relax against the smoke blackened walls.  This original sauna was called  ‘savu’ meaning ‘smoke room’  It is thought the word “sauna’ was derived from ‘savu’


Present Day 

Through time and technological advances, metal wood stove heaters and a chimney were introduced to the sauna rooms we recognise today. 

Leave a Reply