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What is a Finnish sauna? If you’ve ever heard about the different types of saunas, you’ve likely heard about Finnish saunas. A substantial part of Finnish and Estonian culture, Finnish saunas are now recognised internationally as one of the best ways to harness the power of dry heat.

The Finnish sauna is a traditional type of steam bath originated in Finland. It is a wood-heated room where people can sit or lie down to cleanse and detox their bodies. They have become increasingly popular worldwide, with more people discovering the amazing benefits of this unique form of relaxation.

Rimba Sweat’s flagship Neutral Bay studio is the newest adopter of the Finnish sauna experience. As such, we think it’s only fitting that we outline what a wood sauna is, what’s involved, how it compares to an infrared sauna, and what you can expect next time you drop in for a sweat session.

What is a Finnish sauna?

Finnish saunas are a type of sauna where steam is produced by having water thrown on hot stones. A sauna in Finland is recognisable by the traditional birch-panelled walls that instantly transform you into the breathtaking Finnish Forests.

Finnish sauna definition

This type of sauna has evolved from primitive ways of bathing, where saunas were originally pits that were dug into slopes and heated with hot rocks. Unlike other saunas around the world, finnish sauna culture do not involve a bath or scrub process like in a Turkish hammam, and do not include long soaks in a hot spring like a Japanese onsen.

A smoke sauna helps clean your skin and flush out all the toxins in your body as you sweat. More importantly, a Finnish public sauna room is the perfect place to relieve stress, both mentally and physically, as you relax.

How does a Finnish sauna work?

A Finnish sauna is a spacious room lined with birch wood on the walls and benches. A heater is found in the centre of the room, with the floor grill made from either thermos magnolia or thermos aspen wood. The traditional sauna from finnish culture offered by Rimba Sweat has burning wood inside a sauna stove to generate heat and rocks on top to create humidity when exposed to water.

The sauna heats up to a warm temperature of 80-100ºC through wood burning. The low conductivity of the wooden benches ensures you’ll have a comfortable sauna experience. The wooden panels are also designed to provide temperature-resistant sealing to maintain the correct temperature all while insulating the space completely.

How to use a Finnish sauna?

To ensure you are getting the most out of Rimba Sweat’s Finnish sauna, here are some tips to follow on your next visit to our studio:

1. Rinse off

Finnish saunas must be kept clean so going in a bath or showering beforehand is essential to keeping the space hygienic and pristine.

2. Use a towel

It is best to dry off before entering the Finnish sauna. Having dry skin promotes sweat more easily than going straight into a sauna with wet skin.

The towel can also be used as a barrier between your body and the bench. Although the wooden benches are made in a material that ensures the bench does not get too hot, placing the folded towel underneath can helps make to make the space more comfortable as you visit the sauna typically naked.

3. Stay hydrated

When you’re in a Finnish sauna, you’re expending and sweating all of the toxins out. However, if you’re going to be actively sweating for an extended period of time, it’s important to ensure that you’re gentle with yourself (particularly if you’re new to saunas), take breaks, and most importantly, stay hydrated. You need to replace all lost electrolytes and ensure that you’re putting water back into your body after sweating.

Finnish vs infrared sauna – what’s the difference?

With both saunas available at Rimba Sweat, let’s look at the main differences between a traditional smoke sauna from Finland and an infrared sauna:


  • The Finnish like it hot! Finland has a colder climate, so it makes sense for them to naturally prefer warmer temperatures for their sauna session. Smoke saunas are kept at a higher temperature than most saunas. They offer a wet, humid heat, whereas Infrared saunas provide a dry heat source.
  • Infrared saunas utilise temperature a little bit differently. The infrared waves generated from the heat are not combined with heat or humidity, and do not heat the air around you, but heat from the core within. This often makes infrared saunas a lot more tolerable for those who are new to saunas.


  • Studies have shown that infrared saunas produce sweat comprised of 80% water and 20% toxins.
  • Within the same studies, traditional saunas produce sweat that consists of 97% water and just 3% toxins.
  • When considering infrared vs Finnish and detoxification, it is clear that infrared technology is more beneficial in sweating out all of the nasties!


  • A Finnish sauna is often used for up to 30 minutes, after which you can engage in contrast therapy and sit within an ice bath or cold pail shower.
  • An infrared sauna can be used for longer, as it heats the body up differently.
Finnish sauna and Infrared Sauna

What are the benefits of a Finnish sauna?

There is a myriad of benefits that a sauna from Finland can offer, including:

Stress Reduction & Sleep Improvement

Relaxation is an immediate benefit of using a Finnish sauna. Once you step foot into the sauna, you instantly feel more at ease.

Feeling relaxed helps reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Stress is a major cause of inadequate sleep, and as we know, not getting enough sleep can cause further concerns for both mental and physical health.

Cardiovascular Health & Lowers Stroke Risk

Studies have shown that regular use of a Finnish sauna reduces the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases.

Improve Exercise Performance & Muscle Recovery

Saunas from Finland can do wonders for joint and muscle pain. The heat penetrates injured areas and helps muscles recover by an increase in the endurance of the locomotor and respiratory systems.

Final thoughts

Rimba Sweat is pleased to offer Finnish saunas in our new Neutral Bay studio. Our large communal contrast therapy room also comprises a communal contrast therapy room, two ice baths and a pail shower.

Each session includes up to 1 hour of recovery and can be booked individually, or if you’re feeling social, you can book this room for a group of up to 4 people at one time. Please note that the Remedy Room is a communal space, unlike our private infrared sauna suites. Get in touch with the Rimba Sweat team for more information on Finnish saunas, or to book your next session at our Neutral Bay studio.