“Sauna” is a Finnish word – hardly surprisingly, since this form of sweat bathing, followed by rapid cooling, is highly popular in this northern country. However, the Finnish did not necessarily invent the sauna; nor were saunas always housed in wooden cabins. Sweat bathing was popular in many cultures, because it required heating only a small amount of water – far less than would have been needed to fill a tub. But Finland is responsible for the popularity of saunas, which spread following the amazing successes of Finnish athletes. In the Olympic Games in Paris in 1924, two Finnish athletes finished the 5000m and 10,000m races far ahead of their opponents – despite the scorching heat. All thanks to using a sauna regularly.
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