Why Canada Loves Saunas (And Why You Will, Too)

a small log sauna in winter

At Vettä Nordic Spa, we’re defined by our signature sauna experience. Unless you’ve spent time in a sauna before, the idea might sound like a strange concept brought over from Finland, or a niche experience that only a select few enjoy. You might be surprised to learn that sauna use is actually a growing trend in Canada, and it’s one that’s easy to love.

What is a Sauna?

A sauna is a room or building dedicated exclusively to the purpose of enjoying time in wet or dry heat. Typically heated between 82 and 90°C, the lack of humidity in a sauna creates a very pleasant feeling of heat. If the sauna-goers desire a little more steam in the air, they can throw a ladleful of water on the central heating stones. 

A typical sauna session lasts between 10-20 minutes, depending on what is comfortable for the visitor. Afterwards, the sauna-goer will cool their body down, either with a dramatic dunk into snow or cold water or through a less-intense shower and cool soak.

Why Do Canadians Love Them?

Saunas have been popular in Finland for thousands of years, and while they’re relatively new to North America, it hasn’t taken long to discover the appeal of a sauna session. Encouraged by widespread use among health professionals, world travellers, and celebrities alike, saunas are quickly becoming a popular addition to many Canadian’s weekly routines. The cause of their popularity can be narrowed down to three main reasons.

They’re Usually Outdoors

It’s no secret that Canadians love the outdoors. In 2016, almost 7 in 10 Canadians enjoyed an activity outdoors, with 41% participating in three or more different ones. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors not only makes you healthier – it can make you happier, too. Traditional saunas were built outside the home, and when exiting, people would cool off in a nearby pond or snowbank. 

Today, most Nordic-styled saunas will provide a pool for the cooling portion of the sauna, but many still exit to the clear blue of the sky. At Vettä, our saunas are surrounded by a natural hardwood forest, which means that visitors still get to enjoy the authentic experience of a sauna without having to construct one themselves.

They Allow You to Spend Time Together

An essential part of Finnish sauna tradition is communication and the same holds true in Canada. While you’re in a sauna, relaxing in the heat and steam, conversation flows naturally, regardless of whether you’re with friends or strangers. In the sauna, everyone is equal.

Home saunas are usually large enough for one or two people, but public or spa saunas can fit many more. You can relax and catch up with friends and neighbours or make entirely new connections. It’s a revival of a social scene that faded away with the hyper-individualized modern world, and it’s not without its own unique benefits. More social engagement is associated with better mental health, particularly in helping alleviate the symptoms of depression.

They’re Good for You

Sure, we covered better mental health and general well-being, but regular sauna use has actually been proven to improve your physical health. Besides what was stated earlier, sauna use can:

  • Reduce your risk of heart attacks
  • Reduce your risk of hypertension
  • Make your arteries healthier
  • Help you recover more quickly from physical activity
  • Relax your muscles and soothe sore joints
  • Improve your athletic performance
  • Reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Encourage deeper sleep
  • Improve your immune system
  • Improve your skin and overall complexion

With so many benefits, it’s easy to see why regular sauna use isn’t just a popular choice – it’s also a healthy one. Come visit us in Horseshoe Valley and experience it for yourself.

For more information on Vettä Nordic Spa, or for any questions not covered in the FAQ, send us a message online. If you’d like to be the first to hear about our progress, sign up for our newsletter.

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