How wonderful would it be to have a little immune system-boosting building in your backyard? We all want to take better care of our health these days, and one town has it all figured out. These little structures are so important to this community that they are built before the houses!

For many of us, sitting in a sauna and sweating isn’t a part of our daily routines, but in the town of Lapland, Finland, life wouldn’t be the same without them. From government meetings to births, they do everything in the sauna. Which is a good thing, since saunas are well known for their surprising range of benefits—including, you guessed it: improving immune health. 1

So grab your towel and get cozy, because on this edition of Saturdays Around the World, we’re heading to Lapland to learn why these hot, steamy, sweat houses are so important to everyone in this community!

Don’t sweat it! (Or do?)

What makes an entire town (let alone, country) so obsessed with the sauna? Saunas themselves are believed to have been around since 2000 BC, and while “sweat bathing” is known across the world by many names 2 and has many purposes, saunas are serious business in Finland.

I mean, if you’ve ever visited one, then you know how refreshing it feels to sit in the hot steam and exit feeling brand new. But seriously, how does everyone here have one?

Throughout Finland, there are estimated to be two million saunas! This equates to about one per household.

To them, the sauna is known not just as a great place to detoxify the body and boost the immune system, 3 but as a perfect gathering place for the community. Politicians even get together for a sauna to discuss important business. (It’s said that honesty can really shine through when sitting naked in a hot, steamy structure.)

Many people in Finland were actually born in a sauna 4 because it is a sterile environment and a great place to find warm water!

Now, let’s head over to Lapland to see this love for the sauna and quirks of the community ourselves in this fun video from Great Big Story.

Thank you, Great Big Story, for this wonderful story to share! Find more from them over on Youtube.

If you’d like to learn more about the health benefits of enjoying a sweaty, steamy sauna, check out this article from Medical News Today!

Finland isn’t the only country who understands and takes advantage of the benefits of sweat bathing. The practice is found in other countries like Ireland, Russia, Japan, Korea, South Africa, and more. And often in Finland, the sauna is referred to as the poor man’s pharmacy!

Yes, sweat bathing has physical benefits, but there are mental benefits to love, too!

With the heat in the sauna pumping, your mind has a moment to rest and reset. Those who suffer from depression, fatigue, anxiety, or other disorders can gain much from spending time in a sauna. There are even studies that have found that saunas can decrease the effects of dementia when used a few times a week! 6

So, what’s unique about your community?

One of the most beautiful things about the story of saunas in Lapland is the realization that all of our communities have a uniqueness to appreciate. Look around your community to find the distinctions woven into it, and then celebrate that.

What may seem normal in your life can actually be a wonderfully inspiring idea to the wider world!

Maybe your community is known for climbing on top of each other to create giant towers, or you all built your houses out of tires and glass bottles to reduce your impact—or maybe, you just eat a whole lot of grits. Whatever you have, embrace it. For you may inspire another community to embrace what’s beautifully unique about them!

Even this well-known skincare company sprouted from the act of celebrating what’s special about their community. Head over to this article next to see how!

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Notes:

  1. Hussain, Joy, and Marc Cohen. “Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2018, 2018, pp. 1–30, 10.1155/2018/1857413. Accessed 8 Sept. 2019.
  2. “History of Sweating.” MySauna, 2019, www.mysauna.info/en/about-sauna/history-of-sweating. Accessed 2 Feb. 2021.
  3. Berger, Lawrence, et al. “THE IHS PRIMARY CARE PROVIDER Sweat Lodges: A Medical View.” IHS Clinical Support Center, vol. 23, no. 6, 1998, www.ihs.gov/sites/provider/themes/responsive2017/display_objects/documents/1990_1999/PROV0698.pdf. Accessed 2 Feb. 2021.
  4. “Universitas Helsingiensis.” Helsinki.fi, 2021, www.helsinki.fi/lehdet/uh/498b.htm. Accessed 2 Feb. 2021.
  5. Great Big Story. “The Town Where Everyone Owns a Sauna.” YouTube, 23 June 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn1ed7EKanQ&feature=emb_title. Accessed 2 Feb. 2021.
  6. Fetters, K. Aleisha  “5 Reasons to Hop in a Sauna ASAP.” US News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, 2018, health.usnews.com/wellness/articles/2018-01-26/5-reasons-to-hop-in-a-sauna-asap. Accessed 2 Feb. 2021

Brittany Nugent

Guest Contributor

Brittany has been writing and creating stories since childhood! She graduated from Holy Family University with a degree in communications, is an avid world traveler (five of the seven continents!), lover of nature, and spends her days working to connect to the world in deeper ways. Have any questions about the awesome world of rocks and crystals? She's your gal.