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There are probably around 3 million saunas in Finland, which is a staggering number considering the country's population of 5.5 million! Sauna-crazy Finns have been building their sweat rooms as early as the Bronze Age, from 1500 to 900 BC, first in earthen pits and later in enclosed buildings. The oldest of these is probably the smoke sauna, which has a one time-heated stove. The stove is not heated during the actual bathing and, in the absence of a chimney, the smoke exits the sauna through a vent on the wall. Smoke saunas are sensitive to fire and can easily take a whole day to heat up - perhaps for this reason it is estimated that smoke saunas cover only about 1% of the total amount of Finnish saunas.

The sauna has traditionally been a place for washing, but it has had many other meanings. People have been born and died in saunas, treated coughs and got rid of vermin. In winter, it was used for washing clothes and may also have served as a place of shelter. The sauna was also a sacred place. Traditionally, you had to behave in the sauna in a manner befitting its dignity - no shouting, swearing, eating or farting (as in church), otherwise the sauna's elves or gnomes might get angry. We still use this custom, although probably for a different reason :) Sauna is a place of calm for people of all ages.

Today it is estimated that about 99% of Finns go to the sauna, most of them at least once a week. The sauna is still used for washing, but relaxation plays an increasingly important role. The social aspect should not be forgotten either - taking a sauna with friends is a common Finnish way of spending the evening, which may involve a bride or groom taking a sauna, a game of ice hockey or even a birthday party. In the sauna, titles and positions are forgotten, nudity is natural and chatting with strangers is commonplace, even among otherwise so untalkative Finns.

The idea behind Myllytalo's LatoSpa experience is to offer authentic experiences in a real environment. The yard of an old, over 100-year-old farmhouse offers an idyllic setting just a stone's throw from the centre of Hämeenlinna. The current courtyard sauna was built in the 1950s and has been carefully renovated only to the extent necessary. For example, the old wall panels have only been washed and treated with an inaudible wax. Many guests have commented that 'the sauna smells like it used to be in my grandmother's sauna'. The authenticity of the sauna penetrates all the senses, as the old sauna benches have also been preserved after the renovation.

The heart of the LatoSpa is the Aitokiuas, which is heated once and takes around five hours to heat up. The LatoSpa sauna is a 'more advanced version' of the smoke sauna. Like the smoke sauna, the stove is heated before the bath, but the so-called sauna steam (carbon monoxide heat) exit the sauna room through the chimney. The soft, long-lasting steam is exceptionally invigorating and the sauna-goers can enjoy it well into the next morning. As the heat relaxes the muscles, the release of feel-good hormones increases and blood circulation is stimulated.

From the warmth of the sauna, a group of six can take a dip under the stars and let the water caress their limbs. The lounge, built into an old wooden hut and equipped with patio heaters, offers a place to relax with a fridge and barbecue, both during and after the sauna.

Welcome to enjoy a unique and authentic sauna experience at Myllytalo!


Kirsi -host