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Authentic Sauna Blog

Making a Vihta for an early summer sauna at the cabin

In Northern lake climates, brilliant early spring warm days

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Give rise to fresh lush foliage , opportunities for canoeing, and new growth birch.

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Clipping about a dozen 12-16 inch length birch bows and wrapping the base with some string make for an excellent Vihta.  Sticking it in the backpack with a couple nICE mugs and beers and heading down the path

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Meet a newly arrived neighbor.

photo (5) Vihta is a great addition to an early summer sauna.  It sounds like a crazy thing to whip your body with a bunch of birch twigs.

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I didn’t do it for many years until I realized that the centuries old Finnish tradition had to be there for a reason.

Now I realize why. SUGGESTION: Make a vihta and give it a wack.

Very nICE augmentation to the authentic sauna experience.

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3 Comments on This Post

  1. It would be sacrilegious not to make a vihta with early summer birch twigs available. Hard-core fundamentalists tie the handle with natural materials (the same twigs somehow wound around themselves to soften them), but I feel like using some type of twine works well. If you dip the vihta into a bucket of lukewarm water for a while, you can throw it (the water) on the rocks in the sauna to get the über Finnish experience while you whack yourself. Also, making the vihta while the sauna warms up is a good pastime and gets you into the right frame of mind.

    My suggestion would be to add a little more birch twigs to the next version you make. Choosing a variety of lengths makes it fuller. The hard-core fundamentalists I mentioned above take a great deal of time assembling each twig into a bouquet-like shape. If you don’t have enough twigs, it may actually hurt a little bit if one single twig hits you hard. But it still hurts good!

  2. And in addition to all the wonderfulness above, like many great things in life, it don’t cost nothin’.

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