Where Does Sauna Come From?

People have always wondered who first thought of creating a sauna. The origin of the sauna is the subject of heated debate. Many countries claim to be the first founders. However, history teaches us a different lesson. There are so many saunas, almost all countries have their own personal sauna. And it developed separately in each of these places before going to other parts of the world. Therefore, every nation has a legend that confirms that the sauna was invented by the people of that country.

Who invented sauna?

Who invented the sauna? The sauna originated in different places around the world. Historians have believed that the sauna did not originate in one place. Many ancient cultures practiced and developed saunas over the centuries. And each of these cultures developed the sauna separately without inheriting it or being influenced by the use of a sauna from another region. As surprising as it may sound, the birth of the sauna can be traced back to several places. While many claim to be the original origin of the sauna, some have a claim to the throne. 

The forefather of medicine, Hippocrates, advised people to go to the bathhouse before they began to heal, in order to wash away dirt and destroy various contaminants. The sauna has been known to mankind for thousands of years.

Saunas or the use of sweat lodge only in Europe dates back to early Greco-Roman, Arabic, Scandinavian, Slavic and Irish cultures. It is well known that Roman thermae had a great influence on the development of bath culture. The more modern Turkish hammams are descendants of this great sauna. 

There is no single place of origin, and sauna use is spread throughout Europe from several independent sources. There is plenty of historical evidence that the ancient Romans and Greeks loved to spend time in the sauna. In Rome, anyone could visit the steam room, and it didn't matter if that person was poor or rich. In European countries, the creation of cheap saunas for the poor was the main solution to the problem of infections and diseases caused by unsanitary conditions.

The Romans built impressive large-scale baths, called thermae, which included thermal steam rooms similar to the modern sauna. They also built balneols, similar to large thermae but on a smaller scale. The origin and spread of sauna in ancient Greece and Rome seems to have been related to the popularity of sauna in the Islamic world at the time.

In fact, it does not matter in which country or by whom saunas were first invented. The important thing is that they have reached our time and today anyone can enjoy this beautiful form of recreation.


The ancient saunas

When man made the useful discovery that stones were capable of accumulating the heat of fire, he gave himself the opportunity to effectively heat his dwellings and, by increasing the temperature, to produce intense sweating. Today, scientists have proven that our ancient people living as far back as the Stone Age used such sauna physiotherapy.

The earliest forms of saunas were pits dug on the ground or on the hillside. These were the oldest designs of saunas that did not require any special construction materials or labor. The word sauna itself is an ancient Finnish word, the etymology of which is not entirely clear, but originally it could mean a winter residence of a similar type.

Inside this room was a hearth with stones. The stones were heated to a high temperature, and then water was poured over them to produce steam. This allowed the temperature inside the sauna room to rise to such a level that people could be in it without clothes. When the stones in the furnace were heated, smoke from the combustion would escape through entrances or vents in the roof.

The sauna middle ages

In the Middle Ages, the sauna was upgraded to a sauna room. Bathrooms, a long-standing Roman heritage, were the rule throughout medieval Europe, both private and quite numerous public saunas, with their baths, steam rooms and loungers, or with large pools. People met here as naturally as in the church, and these sauna establishments were intended for all classes, so that they were taxed with the same duties as mills, smithies, and drinking establishments. 

As for the rich houses, they all had saunas in semi-basements, where there was a sweat-house and tubs, usually wooden, with hoops stuffed on them, like barrels. The main methods of organization were the same in most countries of Northern and Eastern Europe: first, the stones or furnaces were heated in an enclosed space. Water was poured over the stones to create steam. And people sat on benches near these stones naked.

Modern saunas

With the development of saunas, modern saunas have become very diverse. There are even infrared saunas and sonic vibration half saunas.

The design of a modern private sauna is difficult to classify in any way. It is always a flight of fancy of its owner adjusted to the specifics and peculiarities. Modern materials and technology open up a wide range of possibilities for designers.

It is best to place the sauna in a wooden building. This provides the best microclimate and steam exchange between the sauna room and the open air. But in contrast to the sauna, it is possible to make a sauna in a brick or concrete building. It is important to cover the interior of the room with planks.

In short

Everyone perceives sauna differently, but everyone agrees that it revitalizes the soul as well as the body. It doesn't matter where the sauna originated or who its founder was. Today, we all have the opportunity to use and benefit from the sauna. Of course, before using the sauna, you should carefully understand its contraindications, consult your doctor.

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