Finnish Saunas


By Erika Janik | February 15, 2011

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What could possibly make hundreds, maybe thousands, of Wisconsin residents jump naked into freezing lakes? It’s called a Finnish sauna.

Commentator Arnold Alanen says it’s part of our state’s heritage.

Arnold Alanen is an emeritus professor of landscape architecture at the University of Wisconsin. He recently wrote the introduction to a new book called “The Opposite of Cold: The Northwoods Finnish Sauna Tradition.”

Erika Janik

Erika Janik is the co-creator and former executive director of Wisconsin Life. She is the author of six books, including Pistols and Petticoats: 175 Years of Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction, Apple: A Global History, and  Marketplace of the Marvelous: The Strange Origins of Modern Medicine. She’s currently the executive...
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