The sauna is a small room or hut heated to around 80 degrees Celsius. It is used for bathing as well as for mental and physical relaxation.
While a hot sauna may seem a cruel punishment to unexperienced bathers, it is actually a very pleasant experience. All you need is a towel and at least half an hour of time. Start with a shower, then enter the sauna for a few minutes, listening to your senses. When you've had enough, take a refreshing shower, cool off for awhile and repeat once or twice. And no need to worry, it's entirely safe.
... and a lot more
The sauna has a long history and close relatives in other cultures: the Russian banya, the Native American sweat lodge or inipi, the Turkish hamam, even the Japanese onsen. In Finland it has at least a thousand years of history.
There are 1,212,000 saunas in private apartments in Finland (2002 statistics). With another 800,000 installations in summer cottages and public swimming pools that makes for more than 2 million saunas for a population of 5.2 million. For comparison, we have just under 2.5 million cars and trucks. If you are thinking of building a sauna of your own, start with these ideas and guidelines.
Mikkel Aaland has recently published a Kindle ebook on building saunas. I haven't read it yet, but based on his earlier writing and expertise on saunas, it ought to be good. Take a look: How to Build Your Own Sauna & Sweat
About the book: This is an illustrated, in-depth, how-to-build guide to constructing your own sauna or sweat bath. The author is Mikkel Aaland, a universally recognized authority on sweat bathing cultures around the world. The 100-page booklet comes complete with simple, straightforward instructions and designs that accommodate just about any budget and a variety of building skills.