Finnish Sauna Rules You Should Know

Are you interested in learning the Finnish sauna rules? If you're going to be in Finland and plan a visit, it's important to know what to expect as it is an extremely important part of the culture.

In Finland, practically every family has a sauna installed in their home. It is universally recognized as a place of physical and mental relaxation. To the people, it’s not a luxury—it’s a necessity. Indeed, rest and relaxation are critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

While we’re on the subject, what are some of rules of a sauna? What about proper Finnish sauna etiquette?

Behavior Inside the Sauna

Let’s first discuss the most important Finnish sauna rules, that of guests’ behavior. In general, it is not polite to talk in saunas, especially if you bring up controversial topics. These run contrary to the whole point of entering a sauna in the first place—to relax.

As far as gender goes, anything goes here. As a rule, men and women may enter the sauna at the same time, while on other occasions a group of men will go in together after a group of women exit. Sometimes children go inside with parents, and business partners go inside with each other.

Do not mistake a sauna invitation for anything sexual. A visit to a Finnish sauna is never sexual in nature so don’t presume anything and embarrass yourself.

Next in discussing Finnish sauna rules, we come upon a sensitive subject: that of clothing. Understand that in some cultures nudity is not necessarily interpreted as sexually provocative. Therefore, it should not shock you to realize that a majority of sauna users will be naked.

This may not be the rule, however. You may be allowed to wear a swimsuit or a towel if you prefer—and if swimsuits are not explicitly banned by the sauna.

Some Finnish saunas may forbid swimsuits because of possible chlorine contamination from pools. Under no circumstances should you wear full clothing into a sauna. It’s disrespectful and defeats the whole purpose of your visit.

Etiquette of Finnish Saunas

Finnish sauna rules also require that you should shower before entering a sauna. This is to cleanse your body of dirt and keep the sauna area clean.

Upon entering, choose a seat. The higher benches involve more intense heat. Other sauna rules to be aware of include using a towel on the bench when sitting, remaining respectful of all attendees, and not overstaying your welcome. The average time of a sauna session is less than 20 minutes.

Finishing our list of Finnish sauna rules, do not be surprised if in some situations, you are approached by a sauna attendant. This is a person hired by the sauna to soap, scrub and rinse the bodies of bathers.

Not every sauna still has the practice, though a few do. Again, this is no big deal, just a part of cleanliness. Concentrate on soaking up the heat and letting in saturate your body. Observing the rules will make the Finnish sauna experience better for everybody!