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Documentary - The Truth About Sauna: The Truth About Finns
February 23, 2013 10:31 PM   Subscribe

Documentary - The Truth About Sauna: The Truth About Finns. Documentary about the importance of the sauna in Finnish lifestyle and culture. NSFWish ... Free-range Finns in their natural habitat (in and around the sauna) ... some of them nude. [May have to turn off under-18 filter to view]
posted by ZenMasterThis (47 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Highly related; recommend Steam of Life, a documentary about Finnish men, talking in saunas.

Less related, but socially similar: MetaFilter FPP on Norwegian Wood.
posted by Wordshore at 10:43 PM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


That link does not work for me. This one did.
posted by Authorized User at 10:51 PM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Finnish for "sauna" is "sauna." This should not be surprising, since "sauna" is also the Finnish word for everything else.
posted by Nomyte at 11:06 PM on February 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Feels good, man.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:08 PM on February 23, 2013


If you want to win, hire a Finn.
--Ancient racing rule.
posted by eriko at 11:13 PM on February 23, 2013


More truth about Finns: the Finnish national vegetable is "lenkkimakkara," or "saunawurst." That's not even a double entendre.
posted by Nomyte at 11:21 PM on February 23, 2013


There is a story about a Finnish family who traveled abroad for Christmas. They were positively surprised to find a hotel that advertised having a sauna. They were even more surprised when living in the hotel that sauna was just code for gay-friendly.
posted by Authorized User at 11:26 PM on February 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


[ZenMasterThis, I moved your nudity warning up to above the fold for those who may be clicking through from the front page, and added a note about the under-18 filter. That can be turned off via a toggle on the top right of the page.]
posted by taz at 11:30 PM on February 23, 2013


Also: Kamome Shokudō, the first Japanese film to be shot entirely in Finland.
posted by Nomyte at 11:36 PM on February 23, 2013


I used to work for a Nordic hotel chain. Hotels in the Scandinavian countries were codes in the system as to whether they has a sauna or not. The Finnish hotels were coded as to how many rooms had en-suite saunas, and whether there were conference sauna facilities. Yeah, saunas with a conference table etc.

Interestingly, in talks of workplace sexism, old-boys-club networking, etc, the sauna crops up as a problem area, with unofficial meetings or business decisions taking place after hours in sex-segregated environments.
posted by Iteki at 11:48 PM on February 23, 2013


Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but I can't get it via that link. Authorized User's link requires login.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 11:51 PM on February 23, 2013


Finland is the only country in the world that has a sauna in the secure area of a major international airport.

I need that. A long flight. A long layover. Stuck in the airport. A long sauna makes sense.

Go Finland!
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:21 AM on February 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Should change main link to
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xwfv4k_the-truth-about-sauna-the-truth-about-finns_lifestyle

We're getting DailyMotion redirect silliness here.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:37 AM on February 24, 2013


Okay, I made that change; maybe that'll make it easier to work with the age-restriction toggle? I can't tell, now that I've got the cookie.
posted by taz at 12:46 AM on February 24, 2013


Oh. THAT'S why they have an under-18 filter.
posted by Drumhellz at 1:31 AM on February 24, 2013


Interestingly, in talks of workplace sexism, old-boys-club networking, etc, the sauna crops up as a problem area, with unofficial meetings or business decisions taking place after hours in sex-segregated environments.

Well, golly, the Dutch have solved that one!
posted by dhartung at 1:43 AM on February 24, 2013


maybe that'll make it easier to work with the age-restriction toggle?

Probably not. The toggle is there because there are male dingle dangles and butts and other things children are not supposed to see, I guess. That's the great thing about saunas though... after about 15 minutes in that kind of heat everybody relaxes and the guy who needs to hide his wiggle waggle looks really uptight, because he's wearing clothes in a very hot sauna, so he draws even more attention to his jingle jangle, which makes everybody else in the sauna even more uncomfortable than they would be if he had let his wiggle woggle.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:01 AM on February 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Now I miss that really nice sauna I visited on my trip to the Netherlands.

One thing I wonder though- with all that heat and wetness, how do they avoid a mold problem? Maybe I'm extrapolating from the effect my hour long showers have on my bathroom, but one would think mold would be a problem.
posted by happyroach at 2:08 AM on February 24, 2013


Mold really isn't a problem because these are dry saunas. Aside from perspiration and steam from the small amount of water you throw on the rocks, there isn't that much wetness.

Finns traditionally used saunas as birthing rooms for precisely that reason. The sauna was the was most sterile place to give birth to a child.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:15 AM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are there subtitles somewhere for the Finnish-impaired of us?
posted by cthuljew at 2:38 AM on February 24, 2013


When I was in grad school, our small family was looking for an apartment/house around the university. We found a rental not far off campus advertised at a price we could afford.

We packed up the kids and went to look at it. Turns out that it was a detached building behind a house in a nice little nieghborhood that had originally been built to house a small beauty salon. The owner had retired and was now renting the space.

The layout was strange, the upstairs had one very large room, a bathroom, a smaller, kid sized room and a kitchen. But, the basement... ahh... down the stairs was another large room with a huge fireplace (this became our master bedroom. and, off to one side, a door that led to a three person shower and a redwood walled sauna that would hold ten. We rented it.

We lived there for two years. Coming home from work, firing up the sauna, followed by a cold shower was one of the most therapeutic ways to leave the work day behind that I've found. The owner eventually sold the property...I think, otherwise, I would still be there!
posted by HuronBob at 3:02 AM on February 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mold really isn't a problem because these are dry saunas. Aside from perspiration and steam from the small amount of water you throw on the rocks, there isn't that much wetness.

Yeah and even when using the sauna room for washing up as well, there is enough heat in the kiuas to dry up the sauna afterwards.
posted by Authorized User at 3:11 AM on February 24, 2013


Well, golly, the Dutch have solved that one!

It's not true that unisex saunas are a Dutch thing. Isn't that more or less the norm, saunawise? If it's not, then it should be.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:24 AM on February 24, 2013


coed saunas are the norm here in Germany as well. Mosty wellness spas have a nude coed portion.

It is never as sexy as you want/are afraid of.
posted by Dagobert at 4:20 AM on February 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's not true that unisex saunas are a Dutch thing. Isn't that more or less the norm, saunawise? If it's not, then it should be.

Unisex saunas are pretty much the norm in the Netherlands and Germany and to some extent in Scandinavian countries. I can't say I've seen it as the norm anywhere else.
posted by vacapinta at 4:21 AM on February 24, 2013


On the original topic, the Finnish church in London famously has its own sauna. Of course.
posted by vacapinta at 4:23 AM on February 24, 2013


I watched the whole thing, and the only thing I found NSFW was the fact that it was a 52 min movie. Unless your willing to spend your whole lunch hour on chance that you're going to get to see some titillating nudity (that isn't there), you obviously shouldn't be watching this at work!
posted by QueerAngel28 at 4:33 AM on February 24, 2013


Related
posted by empath at 4:37 AM on February 24, 2013


...he draws even more attention to his jingle jangle, which makes everybody else in the sauna even more uncomfortable than they would be if he had let his wiggle woggle.

My white-America Puritanical side let itself known when I first moved to Japan and experienced an onsen (hot spring). Letting it all hang out takes some getting used to at first. But I eventually recognized that my embarrassment with nudity (mine, everyone else's) is just a mental construct, and that whole cultures of people literally don't think of it that way. It also helps that I've been to European cultures like in Germany, where I saw nude sunbathers in the middle of downtown Berlin parks and no one bats an eye.
posted by zardoz at 4:51 AM on February 24, 2013


Can a baby nap in a sauna?
posted by orme at 6:23 AM on February 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


I seem to remember reading in the biography of Linus Torvalds that he got in trouble for not wearing clothes in saunas in the US.
posted by octothorpe at 6:47 AM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well what do you know, Finns actually smile.
posted by tommasz at 7:00 AM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can I put in a good word for Korean Baths here? I mean I love my pure Finnish Sauna, but dang the Koreans have got it practical.

For $3, you get your hot bath, your cold bath, your steam room, your dry sauna, then after that there's a wall of Manscaping stations (handshower, 3-legged stool, full-length mirror, drainage trough), and once you get dressed there's an aftershave bar, and massage chairs in front of huge TVs.

And there's one in the airport! (it's $20).
posted by anthill at 7:04 AM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well what do you know, Finns actually smile.

We smile. We just don't smile without a reason. And no, serving you food or taking your money at the supermarket checkout are not reasons.
posted by Authorized User at 7:12 AM on February 24, 2013 [18 favorites]


We splurged on a basement sauna just because I fondly remember the one my aunt had when I was a kid. Whenever we use it, we always remark that it was the best money we ever spent (and I've been driving the same Civic CX for 20 years).

I've never understood the attraction of hot tubs - sitting in a steam-tray of used bathwater.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:01 AM on February 24, 2013


When I was a kid in Helsinki, our class would go to a nearby pool for swimming lessons and then saunas. That sauna had a setup I've never seen elsewhere, which was just so sensible: there were wooden boards, like trays or kickboards, in a tub of what I presume was disinfectant right outside the sauna door. So you'd bring in a tray to sit on, and when you left you dunked it back in the tub.

Why does this not exist everywhere? I love saunas and I know they're cleaned by the heat, but still...
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:01 AM on February 24, 2013


The house we bought in Seattle a year and half ago had a sauna in the attic, which is accessed by a ladder in the bathroom. One could see how it could be considered smart usage of an unused space in the house. But after using it a few times, the last thing I really want to do after taking a sauna and feeling somewhat wobbly is climbing down a steep ladder over a hard tile floor.

Plus, my sinuses can't really take the dry heat very well.
posted by ShooBoo at 9:14 AM on February 24, 2013


They do have unisex saunas here too, but I think being the only nude woman with 12 nude male coworkers might still create a bit of a threshold to participation.
posted by Iteki at 10:28 AM on February 24, 2013


"If sauna, booze and tar don't work, the disease is fatal."
Nice film, but it's got stuck at 39 mins for me. Hope I get to see the rest of it.
posted by glasseyes at 10:34 AM on February 24, 2013


Seconding the recommendation on Steam of Life ("Miesten vuoro" or "men's turn" in Finnish). It's an excellent documentary and not really that much about sauna but about being human. Generally, I'd say that public saunas in Finland are single-sex, and mixed-sex among friends and family if it's more practical that way.

Wearing a swimsuit to a private sauna is ok too for a foreigner, if you feel uncomfortable naked. The locals will smile at your strange prudishness, but it's not like you're breaking a taboo by wearing one to sauna. In public swimming pool saunas there is a strict no-swimsuit rule because of hygiene reasons (related to not washing yourself properly before entering the pool, not the sauna itself).
posted by ikalliom at 1:23 PM on February 24, 2013


Thanks to Malor, I feel I can tentatively predict a mini-boom in the construction in American houses of saunas big enough to accommodate pieces of furniture such as easy chairs and couch sectionals, as well as mattresses and box springs turned on their sides, and which can reach temperatures of at least 118°F:
...You can kill off bedbugs utterly and completely by raising them and their eggs to 118 degrees F for 90 minutes. This is, apparently, the 100% death rate. All the adults die within 20 minutes, but eggs take 90.
posted by jamjam at 3:53 PM on February 24, 2013


I've never had a reason to link to these two odd little songs from home, but here you go, everyone.

Guess Who's Coming (to Sauna)?

The Sauna Song
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 5:58 PM on February 24, 2013


Watching the first few minutes of this, it reminds me of "The Japanese Tradition" series, especially the episode about Sushi. (8:00)
posted by not_on_display at 9:03 PM on February 24, 2013


The music and narration makes it sound like a Peter Serafinowicz pisstake.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:21 PM on February 24, 2013


A friend of mine, aged 18, went travelling and started seeing a Finnish girl. She invited him back to come and stay at the family home, which had a sauna.

While he was there the family decided to go have a sauna. My friend was sitting in the sauna, naked, with his girlfriend. Dad comes in. Awkward. Mum comes in. My friend got an erection. Awkward. Dad thinks this is hilarious and proceeds to ask my friend why he didn't get an erection when he was sitting next to his naked girlfriend but did when her mother came in. Awkward.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:19 AM on February 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


Oh my goodness, MuffinMan, that is really awkward!-- I suppose he could have said something like 'I guess it just excites me a little to see what I might have to look forward to', but that would raise (so to speak) a whole other set of problems.
posted by jamjam at 12:14 PM on February 25, 2013


"What makes you think it's for your wife?"
posted by IAmBroom at 12:57 PM on February 25, 2013


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