Finnish sauna and Russian banya: comparison

Russians usually believe that Finnish sauna is dry. They say temperature in sauna is high (90-130 C) and humidity is low (10-15%) because water is not thrown to the stones. Russians say banya is cooler (60-70 C) and has higher humidity (40-70%). Who believes this?

This is all false. I have measured the temperature of some Russian banyas. The temperature has been about 80-90 degrees Celsius. Once I got 96 Celsius. Quite high temperature! Today I measured the temparature in sauna Arla in Helsinki. It was about 70-75 degrees Celsius. Thus Russians were wrong: Finnish sauna might be cooler than Russian banya!

Humidity is more difficult to measure. It changes time to time depending how much you put water on the hot stones. Also electric humidity sensors do not work so well in sauna or banya… But physics is easy: higher temperature can contain more water. Thus in higher temperatures it is more difficult to get high humidity.

How to prove the Russian banya can not have higher humidity than Finnish sauna? Today in sauna I put so much water to the stones in the stove that everyone (except me of course) had to go out. The temperature stays about constant so only humidity rises when water evaporates. The humidity was so high that no normal human being (nor Russian) could enjoy it. Thus the humidity in Russian banya can not be any higher! Russians were wrong again: Finnish sauna has as high humidity as Russian banya.

Conclusion. The following Russian statements are false:

  • Finnish saunas has higher temperature than Russian banya.
  • Russian banya has higher humidity than Finnish sauna.

There is not much difference between Finnish sauna and Russian banya.

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