Skip to content

Order Online or Give Us A Call

Premium Sauna Stoves - ONLY Manufactured in Finland

Tradition of the Finnish Sauna, Russian Bania, Islamic Hammam, Japanese Mushi-Buro, Mexican Temazcal, and American Indian & Eskimo Sweatlodge

Tradition of the Finnish Sauna, Russian Bania, Islamic Hammam, Japanese Mushi-Buro, Mexican Temazcal, and American Indian & Eskimo Sweatlodge

Tradition of the Finnish Sauna, Russian Bania, Islamic Hammam, Japanese Mushi-Buro, Mexican Temazcal, and American Indian & Eskimo Sweatlodge

By Abigail Mote (Co- Founder of Burn Saunas)

Sauna is found around the world, believed to have traveled from Asia across the once land bridge to North America. Pollinating, across the Mediterranean to Africa; Japan to Mexico. The odds of one’s ancestors not partaking in a form of sweat therapy is slim to none. Sauna has been used for Medicinal purposes, spiritual purposes and as a wonderful community resource for centuries. 

Leading the world in Sauna research, ownership and usage is Finland. In Finland, the top medical research on sauna has been conducted. This includes over 20 year studies following Sauna usage. Finland unsurprisingly sets the European standard for sauna building, which Burn Saunas proudly meets. 

Meanwhile, a noteworthy mention is the Russian Banya, which parallels Finnish Sauna. Mikkel Aaland, author of “Sweat”, notes “similarities between the Russian and Finnish bathing styles: In Fact, because “ritual, folklore, and even construction of both baths are so similar, it is safe to assume their development has been parallel, although no records show when each culture began sweat bathing”(Aaland). In fact, If the “history of the early 1900s had been different, if Russian folklore hadn’t been concealed behind a dense political curtain, the banya might have become a household word in America instead of the Finnish sauna”(Aaland). Whether Sauna or Banya is closer to your heart, an added floor drain in the Sauna allows for water to be thrown on the rocks, a common practice in both Sauna and Banya using steam to intensify heat.

In the late 18th century, Mungo Park wrote, “African diseases are but few in number. On the first attack of fever, when the patient complains of a cold, he is frequently placed on a sort of vapor bath…This practice commonly produces a profuse perspiration and wonderfully relieves the sufferer.” (Aaland). The medicinal practice is present throughout the ancient world, pre-dating the beginning of Greece and Rome. In Africa use of heat, steam in a form of vapor bath dug in a dirt hole at first onset of illness is documented. However, with more grandeur, the Romans and Greeks were famous for their bathhouses which included heat and steam. 

              Picture of a Roman Thermae

In Turkey ``The Turkish Hammam (pictured below) was a bathhouse created inside ornate buildings and became a safe haven for spiritual and social communion” (Aaland). Especially for Turkish women to whom the Hammam was their social reprieve from the house. The Hammams in Egypt document medicinal heat therapy beyond social for treatment from tumors and infections (Aaland). While eventually, the Greek, Roman and Ottoman Empire fell, bath houses did not. 


As Mikkel Aaland continues to document worldwide Sauna usage through his FREE online book linked below, the “Marco Polo” of sweat baths continues to compare baths by nationality through compare and contrast. He illustrates Japanese Mushi-Buro for their use as natural hot springs for centuries, used to treat health disorders and to promote optimal health. In India, Indian Ayurvedic medicine has incorporated heat therapy in their healing modalities for thousands of years using a hot stone massage. In Laos, every village has at least one sauna, referenced as a “herbal” sauna; specifically for aiding the healing process after childbirth. Saunas and Hammans become a sanctuary for women and a place of socializing with community.

A Jjimjilbang (Korean for heat), features a traditional Korean Kiln sauna. In addition to the hot springs, saunas, and massage, the Jjimjilbangs, also features “therapeutic spaces with heated floors for deep healing: Participants complete their time in the Jjimjibangs by lying on a heated floor to solidify the experience”(Aaland). Mexican Temazcal is an ancestral shamanic ritual practiced by ancient civilizations throughout Central & North America, including the Maya, Aztecs & Toltecs. Often compared to other sweat lodge activities, the sauna and hot water baths, Temazcal is guided by a 'shaman' who accompanies you throughout the experience, called Temazcalero. In the indigenous Náhuatl language, Temazcal means "house of steam”. (Tours, Info Mexico Kan). Regardless of region, the purpose of heat is therapeutic healing to relieve stress, aches and injuries, cure skin or respiratory disease and also during childbirth.

In the USA, saunas are seeing a rebirth, a remembrance to health and happiness. Despite any race, culture or geographic location Sauna or any other name, is tradition. Tradition follows on to the next generation, much like it brought one shopping for a sauna to begin with. Answering the call, to journey back into longevity and using heat for healing.

Please check out Mikkal Aalands FREE e-book on his website linked here His book is a wonderful adventure that deserves to live on! 

Works Cited

Aaland, Mikkel. Sweat, 1979,

Team, “The History of Saunas.” Saunas.Org, 10 Dec. 2021,

Tours, Info Mexico Kan. “What Is a Temazcal ?” Mexico Kan Tours, Mexico Kan Tours, 10 Nov. 2023,,disease%20and%20also%20during%20childbirth.