I've tried to make this list as complete as I could. If you know of any interesting book that I've not listed, be sure to let me know. Some of the interesting books are out of print, but can be found second hand. E-mail the Finnish publishers for details on delivery to your country (tell them I said Hi!).

Recommended reading

The Sauna: A Complete Guide to the Construction, Use, and Benefits of the Finnish Bath

Sauna - book cover

by Rob Roy

A revised and expanded edition of the popular title The Sauna by an experienced sauna bather and builder. Rob Roy explains the history and traditions of the Finnish sauna with such enthousiasm that it's a pleasure to read. Löyly, whisking with vihtas, sound health advice and frustration with too dry saunas -- it's all there. The book also describes in detail, with pictures and drawings, the building of a cordwood masonry sauna as well as a conventionally framed sauna. Unless you are building a log sauna or a smoke sauna, you will get pretty far with this book alone. Appendices include a list of manufacturers and a bibliography.


Also from the UK or France.

Some Like it Hot: the Sauna, its Lore and Stories

Some like it hot book cover

by Nikki Rajala

For anyone who wants to see the lighter side of saunas in addition to the bare facts. It gives a fresh look at saunas today, personalized with interviews: "How am I supposed to shake hands now?" Rajala also covers the history of the sauna, including quotes from the Kalevala. Some unique modern day saunas are reviewed, so you can pick up ideas for your own sauna project. 200 pages with about 100 black and white pictures. Sadly "Not currently available"...


How to Build Your Own Sauna & Sweat

by Mikkel Aaland

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.

Kindle ebook


by Mikkel Aaland

Sweat : The Illustrated History and Description of the Finnish Sauna, Russian Bania, Islamic Hammam, Japanese Mushi-Buro, Mexican Temescal, and american indian sweatlodge. Very thorough book on traditional sweat baths in different cultures. Excerpts available at Mikkel Aaland's own site.

Available 2nd hand.

Also from Amazon UK.

Cathedrals of the Flesh: In search of the perfect bath

Book cover

by Alexia Brue

This book has was recommended in Finnair's on-board magazine as an interesting overview the world's bath traditions, including saunas. It has received good reviews but I have not read it yet.


Understanding saunas

The Sauna

The sauna book cover

by Rob Roy

Rob Roy's book from 1997 gives instructions for building your own sauna. It mainly covers building a cordwood (log) sauna, but you may get ideas for your apartment sauna as well. An updated editionis also available.


Also from the UK or France.

The Sauna Is: Revised and Expanded

The sauna is book cover

by Bernhard Hillila, illustrations Nancy Hillila

Author Bernhard Hillila, emeritus professor of education, is a native Finn currently living in Valparaiso, Indiana. He combines humour with stories about sauna in Finland today. He gives advice on sauna etiquette as well as construction.


Sauna - Hottest Way to Good Health

Sauna, the hottest way to good health book cover

by Giselle Roeder

Sauna information from the point of view of skin care. I am not familiar with this book or author. 64 pages, paperback.


Also from the UK or France.

The businessman's guide to the Finnish sauna

by Arto Paasilinna, illustrated by Terho Ovaska

An introduction to the sauna culture for foreigners. Should also be a good description of the Finnish way of living in general. I have not read this book, but Paasilinna is known for his humorous way of telling stories. Tammi, 2002. Available in Finnish (ISBN 9518850380) or translated to English (9518850097), French (9518851077), German (9518850984) or Russian (9518851662).

Building the sauna

The Art of Sauna Building

by Bert Jalasjaa

Has gotten good reviews, but is unknown to me.


Spas and Hot Tubs, Saunas and Home Gyms

Spas and... book cover

by Thomas Dale Cowan and Tom Cowan, 1993

A total of 160 pages of advice on building spas, saunas and gyms in your home. According to a reader review, it includes good graphics on saunas. I have not read this book.

Available 2nd hand

Also from amazon UK.

Sauna (Finnish)

Cover image

by Pekka Tommila

A comprehensive and beautiful guide to all aspects of modern sauna construction by architect Pekka Tommila. Only in Finnish, I think. ISBN 952-9687-24-9, 120 pgs hb, 25 euro

Kustantajat Sarmala,
see below.

Savusauna (Finnish)

Cover image

by Risto Vuolle-Apiala

Suomen saunaseuran palkitsema arkkitehti Risto Vuolle-Apiala on tallentanut savusaunaperinteen tähän kirjaan elävästi. Risto Vuolle-Apiala on kirjoittanut myös muita savusauna-aiheisia teoksia. A book on the smoke sauna, its construction and traditions. ISBN 952-9687-12-5, 112 pgs hb, 32 euro

Kustantajat Sarmala,
see below.

Original Finnish Sauna

Cover image

by Risto Vuolle-Apiala

Same as the previous, in English. Note that this book covers the construction of a smoke sauna, which differs in several aspects from that of a normal residential sauna. Still, the book has received an award from the Finnish sauna society and will inspire you in building your own sauna. Out of print as of Aug 2, 2002, no date was given for a reprint. ISBN 952-9687-44-3, 120 pgs hb, 32 euro

Kustantajat Sarmala Oy

Sarmala Publishers Ltd
Kaupintie 13
FIN-00440 Helsinki
Phone: +358-(0)9-503 2540
Fax: +358-(0)9-503 2542

Sarmala will accept foreign orders, but payments must be with a SWITF bank transfer.

The Finnish Sauna. Design, Construction and Maintenance

As the title states, a book for the sauna builder. It seemed a reasonably well illustrated quide with design advice, although this opinion is based on flipping through the pages of the book in a bookstore... Published in 1994, ISBN 951-682-318-1.

Finnish Building Centre Ltd
P.O. Box 1004
FIN-00101 Helsinki
Tel +358-(0)9-5495 5400
Fax +358-(0)9-5495 5340

Sauna Made in Finland

by Jarno Peltonen, Matti Karjanoja

Kustannusosakeyhtiö Tammi, Tampere 1997. ISBN: 951-31-0909-7

Finnish Sauna

Rakennustietosäätiö, Rakennustieto Oy, Tammerpaino 1995 ISBN: 951-682-318-1 (English), 951-682-361-0 (Deutsch), 951-682-272-X (Suomi)

Rakennustieto webshop

The International Handbook of Finnish Sauna

by Allan Konya, Alewyn Burger

See next item.

Architectural Press 1973, John Wiley & Sons, A Halsted book, 176pgs. ISBN 0470 50223-1

Finnish Sauna

by Allan Konya

Both of Allan Konya's books are considered good books on sauna building, classics if you will. They contain a lot of practical advice on sauna design as well as specifics on construction and materials. Although saunas don't change much with time, people's expectations have changed since the eighties and you may find these books a bit outdated.

1987, Van Nostrand Rheinhold, Distributed by Macmillan, 154 pgs. ISBN 0 442 20496 5

Long out of print. Occasionnally available second hand.

Other books on sauna

Sauna Detoxification Therapy

Sauna Detoxification Therapy: A Guide for the Chemically Sensitive by Marilyn G McVicker, Lawrence A. Plumlee and Richard Layton, 1997.

I am skeptic of saunas as a detoxification tool and this report got a mixed review from amazon readers. But you might still want to take a look.



Sauna, by the Sauna Society of America

I could find no info at all on this one... odd.

Limited availability, extra shipping fee.

Of Stones, Steam & the Earth

by Wendell Nelson and C. J. Watkins

Of Stones, Steam & the Earth: The Pleasures & Meanings of a Sauna, 1994. Again, very little could be found on this book so I can't vouch for its worth.

Available 2nd hand.

Sauna As Symbol: Society and Culture in Finland

Sauna As Symbol: Society and Culture in Finland, American University Studies, Series Xi, Anthropology and Sociology, Vol 53, by L.M. Edelsward, 1991. Yet another book I just found online.

Limited availability.

Livres en Français

Retrouver et conserver sa santé par le...

d'Alain Rousseaux

M. Rousseaux écrit comment utiliser le sauna pour améliorer sa santé. Comme je l'ai dit ailleurs, je ne suis pas tout à fait d'accord sur l'usage du sauna comme medecine alternative, mais vous trouverez peut-être quelque chose d'interressant.



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