Sauna becomes a world heritage site | Küng Wellness

Sauna becomes a world heritage site

Sauna culture in Finland is an integral part of the lives of the majority of the Finnish population. That is why it has now been included as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. It is far more than mere body care, the UN cultural organisation explained. "In a sauna, people cleanse their bodies and minds and embrace a sense of inner peace."

Kueng sauna wellness ratgeber finnland weltkulturerbe 2

Long tradition

Unlike in many other countries, taking a sauna in Finland is not just for wellness purposes. Rather, taking a sauna is an important tradition for Finns that has been carried on for many generations. In the past, women even had their babies in the sauna, completely relaxed and accompanied by the family.

The tradition has survived into modern times and even today most Finns go to the sauna regularly. While there used to be many communal saunas, today more people have purchased a private sauna. These are built into the flat or house so that sauna sessions can be better integrated into everyday life. Public saunas can also be found almost everywhere in Finland, for example in gyms and hotels as well as in all swimming pools.

Kueng sauna wellness ratgeber finnland weltkulturerbe 8

Electric or with wood heating

More and more people are indulging in the sauna experience similar to the Finns. There are different types of saunas. Most saunas today are electrically operated. These have the advantage that they are ready for use without much effort and the heat remains constant. Wood-heated saunas are often used as garden or outdoor saunas. The advantages are the high temperatures and the original feeling that comes with this traditional form of sauna. The disadvantage is the higher effort required to heat up the sauna.

Kueng sauna wellness ratgeber finnland weltkulturerbe 3
Sauna visit in Finland


A day in the sauna is not only great fun for Finns (see "Finnish sauna"), more and more sauna enthusiasts around the world also like to spend a wellness day sweating and relaxing - either alone, with friends or even together with the children. And if you go to the sauna regularly, you are not only doing something good for your health, your soul also benefits from the soothing change from everyday life. As a beginner, however, you should not overdo it and start with less high temperatures first.

Place of rest and purification

Finns go to the sauna as often as other people go to the gym or for a walk. If a Finn has to do without it for longer, he feels unbalanced and restricted. For many centuries, the sauna has been a place of rest and mental and physical cleansing in this country. Being naked in the sauna is considered the most primal form of being and is therefore taught to even small babies. Often, Finns are only three months old when they venture into the sauna with their parents for the first time. Saunas can be celebrated in different ways.

Flash sauna or sauna sessions lasting several hours

If there is little time in everyday life, a short sweat session in the sauna is often enough to relax. In addition to the lightning sauna session, there is also the sauna session that is extended over several hours to a whole wellness day - often also as a social gathering of families and friends. Many Finns use their weekend homes for this purpose, where they sauna together, barbecue together and engage in other activities. The sauna is especially popular here in winter. Once heated up in the sauna, they often go into the ice-cold lake or directly into the snow to cool down. This boosts the circulation, but is not for inexperienced sauna-goers.

The perfect sauna process in 4 phases

  1. Phase 1: The right preparation

    It is not possible without good preparation. Under no circumstances should you go straight to the sauna under stress, but first prepare yourself for the coming time out. Prepare the infusions, sauna stones and other accessories and then mentally switch down a gear. A pleasantly warm shower cleanses your skin and gets your circulation going for the first sauna session. Once the sauna has reached the right temperature, start the first session.

  2. Phase 2: Sweat profusely

    For the first sauna session, first sit down on one of the lower steps to slowly heat up the body. A large sauna towel is important to prevent sweat from running onto the bench. Now leave your stressful everyday life behind and get in the mood for several relaxed sauna rounds. Up to three sauna sessions are recommended. Beginners should not start with a 95 degree sauna, but with lower temperatures between 50 and 65 degrees Celsius.

  3. Phase 3: Every sauna session is followed by cooling down

    Depending on how much experience you have in saunas, 10 to 15 minutes of sweating is recommended. Beginners can also start with a shorter stay. After each sweat, the body must be cooled down again. For example, with a cold shower, a surge bucket with ice water or even in the plunge pool. Afterwards, you will feel refreshed and all spirits are awakened.

  4. Phase 4: Finally comes the rest phase

    After the sauna session and cooling down, there is a resting phase. This should be at least 30 minutes long, or even more if a complete sauna day is planned. The rest phases are important for the body to better cope with the change from heat and cold and to be able to relax completely. In each rest phase, the loss of fluids should be made up for by drinking enough. After resting, another sauna session can follow. Every sauna day should end with a cleansing shower and extensive rest.