During the Cold War, the leaders of Finland gave special hospitality to the then Russian President Nikita Khushchev who reached their country. They didn’t take them to an expensive hotel or resort, but to a sauna-bath. Happy after steam-bath all night, the President finally agreed on many things of Finland. In the year 2005, the current President of Russia Vladimir Putin also took a steam bath in Helsinki and described it as the most memorable time of his life.
Finland does this for every foreign guest who does not mind going to the bath house and public bathing in short clothes. In this, people bathed in sweat in the midst of high temperature, decide the important things of politics. Along with this, there is also arrangement for excellent wine, seasonal fruits and chocolates. Many researches have also been done on the use of sauna as a soft diplomatic tool.
this is how it starts
Foreign politicians or diplomats coming to Finland first meet each other formally. After the conversation, it is decided who is ready to go to the bath house and who is not. After this people together go to the bath house. Care is taken that the lighting is very dim so that no one is uncomfortable. Similarly, the light is kept low during the sauna bath so that the mind can get maximum rest. If women are also included in the diplomats, then they go to the sauna separately, where only the wives of the ambassadors are sent to accompany them.
Finland’s strongest weapon under soft diplomacy
In this, the conversation becomes more intimate during steam bath. Along with the layer of clothes, the wall of discrimination also keeps getting smaller. The mind is relaxed, due to which mutual trust increases and decision making becomes easier.
Finnish connection of the sauna
Sauna is a Finnish word, which means a room where water jets are released on hot rocks. The steam that is generated during this is the sauna. Originally coming under Finnish culture, this thing is also a part of routine in countries like Russia, Latvia and Estonia. Although the name of Finland is kept at the top of it.
An old-fashioned Finnish sauna that kept people warm at minus temperatures. (Unsplash)
Finnish sauna is very ancient
It is believed that the sauna may have started in Finland in the 10th century. As a proof of this, many such caves have been found, in which a big pit has been dug and there are signs of smoldering furnace nearby. There are still many such caves in the Republic of Karelia with mixed symbols of Finland and Russia. It is believed that while living in the cave, the families would dig a pit to store water, and there would be a fire nearby to eat. In the same way, some day suddenly the sauna bath must have started.
However, in the 12th century, proper bath houses were built for the sauna. It would have been a separate building, which would also have a stove and separate rooms for clothes. The room was heated a lot before anyone took a bath because then there was no technology to set the temperature.
All the activities started happening near the sauna.
Gradually, the kitchen started coming up near the sauna. Clothes were washed there and children were born there because this place used to be the hottest place in the house or a locality. Let us tell you that in all the countries with sauna culture including Finland, it is very cold and in winter the temperature goes below -20.
Began to become a means of gathering spiritual strength
From the 15th century to the beginning of the 20th century, the sauna was associated with a kind of spirituality. People would lie down for hours drowning in the hot steam and remain silent. There alcohol and noise were forbidden to everyone. Sauna equipment has become more modern over time, but most bath houses still maintain many rules. There is strict prohibition of talking or eating. With the passage of time, there were many changes in the steam sauna, with which the spiritual side became lighter and the sauna became a way of relaxation.
Talking is generally prohibited in the sauna bath. (Getty Images)
Estonia continued to claim it
The European country Estonia considers Sauna as its cultural heritage and claims that it started from there. He says that since he was under the occupation of the Soviet Union (now Russia) for a long time, the culture of his place could not come to the fore. On the other hand, Finland says that it has a sauna in every house, because it has been a part of its culture. According to the Travel and Tourism Portal of Finland, they have more than three million saunas on a population of 5.5 million.
what are the advantages
On staying in a hot room, the body sweats continuously, which has many benefits. This strengthens the immune system. Muscle pain goes away. Even in mental diseases, sauna bath gives a lot of benefits. Many people also take sauna to lose weight or for beauty therapy. In Finland it is called Saturday Sauna, when the whole family or office coolies get together and take a bath.
There are also many other rules for the sauna bath.
Here before going to the room one has to take bath without applying soap or shower gel. Hair has to be kept dry so that it does not get overheated after going to the sauna. Cold bath has to be taken after 10 to 15 minutes of sauna. This process goes on many times. Altogether the whole process of sauna takes 2 to 3 hours. However, it is not advised to take sauna bath under certain circumstances, such as pregnant women or hypertensive patients or those prone to heatstroke, are advised not to go in it or go for a short time.