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Could lämpömassa become the second Finnish word to be adopted into the English language?

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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.


Why lämpömassa?

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?

  • Sauna
  • Löyly
  • Sisu

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).

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10 thoughts on “Could lämpömassa become the second Finnish word to be adopted into the English language?”

  1. Reading this makes me wanna sauna. Hope mine qualifies, but don’t have much of a frame of reference. I sure am enjoying it!

  2. Jeff: Having enjoyed your sauna multiple times, as well as experiencing 50 saunas in Finland, I can say with great confidence that the sauna you built and enjoy has plenty of lämpömassa. Eg. I specifically like the experience after tossing a splash of water on the rock surround behind your stove, Hugely “ahhhh” and inspirational and lämpömassa goodness all the way around (and in between).

  3. Hummmmm ! Looking forward to experience lämpömassa home soon ! Although we cannot access our e-book. We bought it online from the site, but unfortunately the loading blocked due to lack of space on our Ipad (was supposed to have enough space but apparently not). Tried to download it on our “regular” computer but received a message saying we reached limit of download. Unfortunately, this limit is none as we cannot access it through the uncompleted Ipad download. Can you help? thanks ! We are sooooo looking to build our own yukon sauna !

  4. Hi Sandra: No problem, we sent you the ebook via email, with access to google doc so you don’t have to download it or find a Lampomassa detector.

  5. Now that our sauna is up and running, part of the fun for me, is the tinkering.
    Our first session was a month ago.
    We’ve used it almost every night since then – sometimes extremely hot…(with many short sessions), other nights were purposefully cooler, so we lingered in long sessions.
    We’ve tried hats, vihtas, massage and stretching, various lighting… just testing the possibilities.

    I’ve wanted to try to balance the strong radiant heat coming from the stove, with the lesser heat coming from other directions, so, last night, we experimented with five large rocks placed under the top bench to get more heat-mass under us, coupled with a heat shield in front of the stove.
    It was surprising:
    (1) The heat shield did soften the strongly directional heat from the stove, a bit.
    (2) The rocks brought up the temp of the lower sauna area a great deal, since heat was now radiating from both the stove in front and these large rocks behind.
    Since the rocks were under the top bench – the top bench was very hot to sit on, in fact everything in the sauna was too hot to touch!

    Something I learned from that experiment was how different every sauna really is – even if the temperature is the “same”.
    This month, we’ve taken several sessions around 210 degrees – (at head height, top bench), and found it very hot, but not really too hot… last night, with the addition of those five rocks, however, it was 200 degrees, but much. much too hot!
    How could that be?
    The vents were wide open, oxygen was plentiful, but heat was everywhere – even coming from the seats – there was no escape. Before those rocks, part of our bodies, facing away from the stove or pressed against the bench were cooler.
    Adding those five rocks seems like a very small change, but it was a radically different sauna experience.

    Something else I learned for me personally, was that the variation in temperature – (hotter skin that’s facing the stove, vs cooler skin facing away), is actually more interesting than even heat all around – it’s what feels natural around a campfire, “as it should feel”, perhaps.
    But on those nights when I want the heat to more evenly surround me, I can just add some big rocks under the bench!
    I like how much we can change things up, depending on our mood or how many people are in the sauna.
    (We have a Wood-burning Kuuma – very versatile).

    I’m curious what other people are experimenting with.

  6. We experiment a lot! Part of the enjoyment for me is experiencing new and different varieties of sauna. I am actually spending the weekend in upstate New York discussing that with a friend in the industry who shares the passion. We experiment with different kinds of bench designs, different ventilation techniques, lighting, different woods; and in the future different types of heat. I’d love to build a traditional log sauna with a huge stone wall at an awesome location.

    Sauna On Ken.

  7. Hi Glen
    Finished my finish Appalachian sauna cabin and lamppa stove. It is great. But now I am looking for an accurate thermometer and where in the sauna is the best place to locate it in the sauna?
    Looking forward to your reply.

  8. Thomas:

    Can you hang tight for about a month? If so, i’ve got something extremely cool to present to you: Saunömeter. The most accurate sauna specific sauna thermometer out there. And it’s super cool how a sauna bather will be able to document their sauna session.. happy to share more about this in about 30 days..

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