Then one day out of the blue, some guy called Benjamin Franklin flew a kite and discovered electricity. (Although I do believe that people like Edison, Tesla, Ampère, Ohm and Faraday might have had a hand in the development of electricity in other forms than deadlier-than-sin-lightning.) Nevertheless, Finns, realizing the huge potential here, immediately decided that the sauna needs to go electric. They took a big metal box and chucked a generator in it. Then they threw a couple resistors in with the generator, and connected everything with lots of exposed wire. Next, they placed a couple stones on top of the resistors, and plugged it in. No one’s ever accused Finns of being cowards, so while the sparks were still flying from the wires, the Finns got undressed, took their birch whisks and threw a gallon of water on the contraption.
They all died.
But since then, the electric sauna has come a long way, and today almost every Finnish house and apartment has one. This is the sauna M and I have in our apartment.
I was first going to post a picture of me in it, but M talked some sense into me and told me no one wants to see me naked. Very true indeed.
Don't mind the wires at the bottom, they're perfextly safe.
The old wood-burning ones are still the best, though, and almost every little summer cabin in the archipelago has one. Wood-burning ones are also used in the World Sauna Championships. The World Sauna Championships are held every year in Finland, and won almost every year by a Finn. Except this year when the one of the two finalists died (that would be the Russian, Vladimir Ladyzhensky) and the other one is still in a coma (that would be the slightly tougher Finn). Personally I could think of more effective ways of committing suicide, but to each their own, I guess.
Experts have ruled that “hot steam was likely the cause of death.” You don’t say? In a sauna bathing contest, the sauna is heated to 110°C (230°F) and 0.5 liters of water is thrown onto the rocks every 30 seconds. For those of you who are not scientifically gifted, I can tell you that water boils at a lower temperature than that. I can also tell you that the steam is therefore hot, and will hurt. I like to keep my sauna at a comfortable 70 or 80°C (158-176°F), which you’ll notice is considerably lower than the 110 it takes to kill a Russian. And that’s not because I’m less tenacious than a Russian, I just like my skin attached to the rest of my body. *