It started with sauna. And while many act like strict schoolteachers scolding its incorrect pronunciation, there is another Finnish word that may start to resonate and radiate deep into the consciousness of English speaking sauna enthusiasts.
Like good löyly, lämpömassa is something universal and egalitarian. Lämpömassa separates a very good sauna from a lame sauna. Lämpömassa cannot be achieved via infrared light bulbs or toaster ovens. Lämpömassa is what we are able to feel in the most traditional old saunas, well constructed newer saunas with quality sauna stoves, and savusaunas in which we may have the pleasure of experiencing.
Lämpömassa is what heating contractors whisper under their breath, while explaining Uponor radiant flooring heat vs. cheaper to install forced air furnace and ductwork.
Your cat understands lämpömassa.
Anyone who has had cold feet understands lämpömassa.
There is a moment on the sauna bench we all cherish, when the heat is intense, yet we are not rushing for the sauna door. When we are in this moment, the humidity is balanced perfectly with the temperature. The heat envelopes and surrounds us, while at the same time, the heat penetrates through our bodies evenly, gracefully, and intensely. Our whole body is uniformly “ahhhh” (no better word for it). We can only achieve this with lämpömassa.
Lämpömassa makes softer, better Löyly.
Lämpömassa is not difficult to achieve. We need to invest in a quality sauna stove. We need to have a well proportioned amount of sauna stones atop this sauna stove. We need a well insulated hot room, capable of enveloping heat (as well as being well ventilated).
With lämpömassa, we exit the hot room ready for cold plunge and cool downs, sometimes in the garden all misty wet with rain. Thanks to lämpömassa, our cool downs are longer and more complete. The rubber band theory of sauna is actualized through lämpömassa.
Wim Hof declares “cold is my warm friend.” Many sauna enthusiasts declare lämpömassa to be our friend to good heat.
As sauna – authentic sauna – becomes more popular, is it time for a 2nd Finnish word to work its way into the English language?
All beautiful and wonderful words (and meanings!). Yet it could be argued that all of these are possible thanks to good lämpömassa.
There is something about lämpömassa that gets right to the heart (and bones).