- Alexandra Seltzer Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Why sweat outside in South Florida when you can do it in the comforts of a traveling sauna?
Well, a traveling sauna — it’s on wheels and literally travels around the country — has made it to the Boynton Beach area and is ready to be enjoyed by the masses this weekend as a nod to Finnish culture.
Boynton officials first considered the idea this summer, for a few reasons: One of Boynton’s sister cities is Rauma, on the west coast of Finland; Between 10,000 and 12,000 Palm Beach County residents, many in Lantana and Lake Worth, are Finnish; and Finland is celebrating its 100th year of independence (from the Russian Republic) on Dec. 6.
Is there a better way to celebrate than to sit in a big wooden box with temperatures hotter than 175 degrees? How about doing it naked?
Yes, true Finnish tradition is to enjoy a sauna naked. But although there’s a naked history in Palm Beach County, for this version a swim suit is required.
The sauna, for now, is parked behind the Finland House on Central Boulevard in Lantana. The Traveling Sauna crew drove it to Lantana from its home base in Minnesota on a trailer connected to a F250 Super Duty XLT truck. It will be brought to the Intracoastal Park in Boynton on Saturday and will return to the Finland House on Sunday, where it will be used.
Before here, the sauna was featured at an arts and crafts festival in Mississippi. After its stop in Palm Beach County, the sauna will be brought to Virginia and later Washington D.C. It’s been making stops around the country since January.
Reservations to use the sauna — which has a wood-burning stove inside — are recommended and can be done on the company website (sign up here). A one-hour session is $10. Sessions can be for women only, men only and those who want to sauna together. The sauna fits five people at once. Attendees should wear a swimsuit or a towell (remember the “no naked policy”) and a smaller towel to use as a seat cover.
“It is a great thing for the Finns because it so much represents the Finnish culture,” said Sirpa Aho, the president of the Finland House, which has about 400 members. “Finnish people are used to having a sauna. They have them in townhouses or apartments.”
The sauna is beneficial for a variety of reasons: It relaxes muscles and soothes aches and pains; it relieves stress; it induces a deeper sleep and flushes out the toxins and cleanses the skin.
And when it’s cold outside, it’s cozy and warm inside.
It’s supposed to be about 80 degrees this weekend in Palm Beach County. So, why would you want to be hotter?
Relax, Aho has a theory. She’s heard that when it’s hot outside and someone uses the sauna, the air outside feels cooler.
Hey, don’t sweat it, just give it a try.
And wish your Finnish friends a happy 100 years of independence.