Social or Silent?
How Finn’s like to sauna
As more Nordic spas have opened across Canada and the US, some of these facilities have chosen to follow a silence policy, where guests are asked to keep quiet in the sauna or when using the pools. People wonder if this is an ancient Finnish or Scandinavian tradition or requirement.
Ask a Finn and you will get a laugh—or a smirk—and a “no.” In Finland the sauna is a place to meet with friends and family, and converse with others who are present. It is a place of equality as well, with many believing the popular saying that everyone looks the same in a towel. The usual markers of class and status aren’t present when you are naked or in a bathing suit sitting beside someone in sauna.
One benefit of being able to talk in the sauna is the opportunity to hear from other people, who may not be the usual people you chat with in your usual, everyday life. You can chime in if you feel like it or walk out into the fresh air to clear your mind.
Today in busy North American cities, it can feel like there are fewer options to informally meet or interact with others in real life, away from phones, the internet or work. The rise in popularity of the Nordic spa, modern sauna house or “social wellness club” (as some of these place are called) offers a kind of neutral “third space” between work and home.
Sauna – where the unrelated can relate (if they wish)
At Ritual, we provide both types of sauna experience: the large sauna in the Nordic circuit area suits up to 12 people and can be a busy, social, fun space. (Especially in the evenings when it tends to get busier and more active. For a quieter visit try for a midweek morning sauna circuit booking.) And for those who prefer a less-social sauna experience, there are private sauna suites. Beautiful spaces to be on your own, with a partner, family, or close friends, enjoying sauna on your own terms. In silence or discussing whatever comes to mind.