SAUNA – A Psychoanalytic Point of View

No thorough examination of the meaning of sauna would be complete without including the classic paper by Finnish psychiatrist, P. Sorri.

Sorri (1988) wrote a psychoanalytic view of sauna bathing and described it as follows (p.236):




Sauna bathing is a pleasant and relaxing experience that combines psychic,

physical and social pleasures. A person’s inner feelings about sauna bathing, its

essential components are mainly unconscious. The sauna bath reduces the

aggressive behavior and enables bathers to forget the commonplace pressures of

everyday life. The sauna evokes memories of childhood development, awakening

feelings of maternal warmth and paternal power in the bather.

Dr. Sorri discussed how the sauna is an excellent place for philosophizing and creative thinking, “dissolves” stress and negative feelings and declared the sauna a “positive mental health resource.”


Sorri, P. (1988). The sauna and sauna bathing habits – A psychoanalytic point of view. Annals of Clinical Research 20, 236-239.



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