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Enjoy the sauna, just like in the middle ages

You might think that the sauna is a new invention, especially when you see modern electric sauna heaters with wireless remote controls, but people have actually been enjoying saunas since the middle ages, or possibly even longer. Nomadic Persians are said to have used so-called 'sweat baths' as early as 3,000 years ago. In the Nordic countries, people have probably been using saunas for 2,000 years, and, today, Tampere in Finland is the official sauna capital.

Over the years, the sauna's popularity has fluctuated a bit, but from the 20th century onwards, it became more popular, because using a sauna is hygienic and healthy, not to mention pleasant and enjoyable. Also, a simple sauna is a cheap construction, which meant that even the lower classes were able to enjoy a sauna, making it a popular way to stay clean.

The sauna tradition has been modernised over the years, including the equipment. During the latter part of the 20th century, electric saunas were developed, which made using a sauna easier. In addition to not having to start a fire or work hard to get the right temperature, it has become even easier to build a sauna. Now that you no longer need a chimney, the sauna can easily be built in almost any home, even in apartment buildings. With a timer, you can turn it on at a specific time and enjoy a hot sauna as soon as you get home.

A sauna from the 2000s is very similar to one in the Middle Ages. Many traditionalists think that a real sauna should be heated with a wood fire and you should pour water on the stones with a ladle and sit on wooden benches, just like in the past.

For those who would like to, however, it's possible to decorate the sauna using modern technology. The benches can be lit up by recessed light ramps with LED lights and spotlights. You can listen to music through special sauna speakers that are completely waterproof and can withstand the heat. The old mercury thermometer can be replaced with a modern one that also has a hygrometer to measure humidity, digitally if you like, and the electrically heated sauna heater with wireless control unit is now just a computer.

All of this is possible, but you still won't be any cleaner and you’ll be just as happy in a traditional, wood-fired sauna, on a bench made of alder or aspen, where you also have a traditional sauna stick with a wooden scoop. Either way, the choice is yours.