Aug 7, 2015

The Finnish Sauna Championships

Today every health club has a sauna, a little wooden room where the temperature is high so you can sit around naked, sweating in either wet or dry heat, with relaxation and maybe other benefits.

It's a standard part of many workout routines (pictured: Russian bodybuilder Mikhail Sidorykov).

Sometimes guys like to do things in saunas, but I don't understand the attraction.  Why would you want to touch someone who's covered with sweat?

But the nudity is nice.  Where else can you get a good, long look at naked men sitting still?  (The shy wear swimsuits or cover their privates with willow branches.)

Finland has more public penises than any other country in the world, except maybe Bhutan, so it makes sense that the sauna originated there (it even plays a role in the first Finnish novel, Seven Brothers.)

 Almost every house has one -- there are 2 million saunas for a population of 5 million, and a Finnish Sauna Society with 4200 members.
Entire families or groups of friends go in at once for bouts of naked sweating, preferably accompanied by hitting yourself with a willow switch, and followed by running naked through the snow to cool off (or a cold swimming pool, if no snow is available).

Finnish saunas are generally hotter than the American versions, and you stay in longer, up to thirty minutes.

Beginning in 1999, World Sauna Championships were held in Heinola, Finland, about 1 1/2 hours north of Helsinki.   Contestants from over 20 countries facing an incredibly high starting temperature of 230 F.  Rounds typically lasted less than 3 minutes.

Can you imagine anything more dangerous?

Amazingly, the championships continued annually for 10 years without incident.

Then, in 2010, two contestants passed out after 6 minutes in the sauna.  Vladimir Ladyzhensky died, and Timo Kaukonen was hospitalized with burns over 70% of his body.

The city of Heinola will not be holding championships in the future.

The sauna remains an integral part of Finnish culture.  But most Finns know how to handle heat with care.

See also: The Top Public Penises of Finland and The Garden of Gay Dreams and Nightmares.

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