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Sauna Talk: Sauna Sherpa guides people into the world of the Finnish sauna

light steam graphic

Sauna Talk global series continues. Today we welcome Sauna Sherpa to Sauna Talk. His real name is Kimmo Raitio, but he’s known around many of the many saunas in Finland as Sauna Sherpa. He is a Sauna Sherpa guide to Finnish sauna.

Like many Finns, (all Finns?) Kimmo grew up with sauna. Like many Finns (all Finns?) Kimmo takes good heat seriously, and welcomes those interested in learning more about sauna with a clear and open mind and discussion. And this is what you will hear in this episode.

More and more tourists and business travelers were coming to Finland with a keen interest to experience the Finnish sauna. And so Kimmo began taking people around to different saunas in his homeland. This was how the concept of Sauna Sherpa came about. The global pandemic has put a hold on Sauna Sherpa, but the love for an appreciation of good sauna is still very much deep in his bones.

Cooling down outside Kotiharjun Sauna, Helsinki, Finland

Sauna Sherpa guide to Finnish sauna

In this episode, we hear interesting antidotes of the Finnish sauna. When asked about what makes a good sauna, Kimmo, answers in succinctly Finnish style (very few words).

  1. Ventilation
  2. Heat
  3. Steam (humidity).
Kimmo Raitio partaking in sauna (object in mirror is closer than it appears).

We touch upon the nudity in sauna subject, and how it is in Finland, compared to Germany, Great Britain, and the United States.

We discuss the rebound of the public sauna, as it is in Finland paralleling many parts of the World.

The connection between Japan and Finland.

Drinking beer, and the ethos of being healthy and happy with sauna.

Kimmo and Glenn pondering sauna bench heights
Glenn making a wise crack, and getting a smile out of Kimmo

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10 thoughts on “Sauna Talk: Sauna Sherpa guides people into the world of the Finnish sauna”

  1. Hello Glenn,

    I recently started listening to your podcast and following your blog. You don’t know how important it has been for me and my wife to hear the optimism and enthusiasm for sauna. We opened a public sauna house in February last year, and it’s been quite a challenge since the pandemic hit. However, after hearing you and your guests it’s clear to us that public saunas have a bright future! We’d love if if you’d be willing to add our business to your map of public saunas. It’s called the Lost Faucet and is located in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island.

    thanks for everything!

  2. Hi Glenn, I’m in the process of finishing up my 10’x20’ sauna building. All the T&G cedar is done and I’m trying to decide what to on my corner walls where the Kuuma stove will be. I plan on covering up the foil vapor barrier with either 1/2” Durock or treated plywood by attaching to walls studs, followed by a 1” air gap and another sheet of Durock. The outer sheet of Durock with then get some sort of stone veneer siding. I’ve found they make both mortar applied stones or others that can be attached with screws. Therefore, if I want to use the style that’s attached with screws I would probably be better off going with treated plywood against my studs so the screws securing the stones have something solid to grab vs cement board. Would this treated plywood be ok in the sauna as far as chemicals or safety wise? Or would I be better off going with Durock on the studs and using a stone that is applied with mortar?

  3. Jesse: no treated product in the hot room. I think you’ll be best screwing the applied stones to regular plywood. If moisture is an issue, you can stain the plywood and seal the ends. But the cement board, mortar, stone method is tried and true. Tile shops sell high temp mortar/grout.

  4. For sure, Dan and Lisa. I feel you on the challenge, and there are brighter days for sauna in the public domain. Will add Lost Faucet for sure, and wishing you good sauna!

  5. Hi Glenn, I just discovered your talk on High Intensity Health’s YouTube Channel! I’ve been a sauna lover for over 30 years, currently living in a Sauna-like city – Tucson, AZ. Thank you for going on the show, I’ve been looking for you during the pandemic as I’ve had no sauna for over a year now…. I have medical and mental(!) conditions that require I sauna frequently, lol. Being mostly German/by DNA I can tend to get highly enraged in gym saunas due to the basic lack of respect by others, so now is the time to build my own, stay out of jail and truly be able to enjoy them. My question for you is, should I build a very small sauna inside of my small condo as it’s sadly my only option? I may not be living there for a long time and I imagine they are not easy to dismantle… It will be placed in the dining room, in my dreams it will allow me to lay flat on my back. How small can I go, I’m thinking 4′ x 74″, I’m 5’7″. My flooring is tile over concrete. My other option is to buy one online and assemble at home for ~ $3-6k, I imagine they may be easier to take apart if/when I move.

    I’m looking forward to listening to your podcasts! Thank you! Sauna on!!!!
    Julie M

  6. Thanks Julie:

    Yes, for this “plug and play” solution, i’d be looking for a kit you can assemble at home. And as you well know, if you choose infrared light bulbs you won’t have rocks or ability to toss water on rocks, and that’s not a sauna. Forgive for this obvious notation.

  7. Hi Glenn! My name is Willow and I am going into my 4th year with my sauna business, Relics Retreat in northwest Montana. I have 3 saunas from B+S Finland Sauna in Germany. This wonderful gem in the middle of nowhere was a private residence from 2007-2018 until I began leasing it and opened the doors as a private wellness “retreat” property with private spa. I have been a licensed massage therapist since ’96 as well as an educator and mentor of the trade. It has gone hand-in-hand with this facility along with yoga, sound and other natural healing modalities. I would like to personally invite you here to experience what I have to offer as it is very special and a one-of-a-kind sauna experience in the Rocky Mountains of wintery Montana. I would also love to get on your map! I tune in often! Thanks for all you do! ~Willow

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