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Book – Secrets of Finnish Sauna Design

This page documents the story of the Secrets of Finnish Sauna Design, an English edition of a book published in Finnish in 2019 (Hyvien löylyjen salaisuus) and first published in English 20221. There is also a Japanese version of the book available on since May 2024.

The book is now available on Saunologia (Finnish customers) and all Amazon stores.
Click here to visit product page

Amazon reviews for SFSD on Halloween 2021

Read the review from Mikkel Aaland as it was published in Sauna-magazine (3/2021)

On this page

  1. Buy the book from for customers in Finland
  2. Mikkel Aaland's review
  3. Updates in chronological order
  4. Errata and log of changes
  5. Form to subscribe for updates

Buy the hard cover edition from Saunologia

35€ per book, free shipping!

Saunologia offers the hard cover edition of the book for Finland based customers. No shipping outside continental Finland!

How to order?

Mikkel Aaland's review

MIKKEL AALAND Norwegian-American photographer, filmmaker, publisher and author who is especially known for his 1978 book Sweat, an illustrated history of sweat bathing. More info at www.mikkelaaland. com

One of the first sauna books available in English was Sauna: The Finnish Bath by H. J. Viherjuuri. I bought it at a bookstore in Los Angeles in 1974 and although I never met Viherjuuri himself – he died in 1949 – I did get to know his charming daughter, Irmeli when I moved to Finland to research my own book on sauna. His is a small book, more of a booklet really, but Viherjuuri, who was one of the founders of the Finnish Sauna Society, did a good job introducing the Finnish bath to the west. But that’s really all it is, an introduction. The job of fully revealing the secrets of the sauna fell to others.

Now decades later, many other books have been written on the sauna. The latest by a Finnish author is The Secrets of Finnish Sauna Design by Lassi A. Liikkanen. Liikkanen stands on the shoulders of many other authors who approached the sauna from an architectural point of view. But he has gone further. For Liikkanen, there are four elements that must be balanced harmoniously to create a positive sauna experience: Heat, air quality, interior design, and company. His “four leaf clover model” is a holistic look at the entire sauna experience and Liikkanen does a good job of explaining why it is important. He is clear, however, in saying that his book is a guide to sauna design, not a general construction manual. The book is profusely illustrated and smartly designed.

Liikkanen is more than qualified to write this comprehensive book. Besides running the popular Saunologia blog since 2015 he is an adjunct professor at Aalto University with a Ph.D in Design. He has international hands-on experience as a consultant for several personal and commercial sauna projects. Earlier, Liikkanen’s authored a Finnish edition of his Secrets book. The English edition is similar but with a well appreciated index. I met Liikkanen once in Helsinki and saw first-hand his passion and devotion to the subject.

What impressed me most was the scope of this ambitious book. Liikkanen treats equally all types of saunas from indoor to stand-alone outdoor saunas. He also writes about the special requirements of public saunas. His description of sauna stove options is comprehensive and detailed and his chapter four on air quality contains some of the best directions on ventilation and löyly I have seen in a book.

Liikkanen also acknowledges the special needs of people with physical disabilities and presents practical advice on how to accommodate them in the sauna. For the first time in my life, I have been dealing with an auto immune disease that has temporarily affected my mobility. I never understood the challenges of climbing onto a sauna bench until my knees couldn’t bend.

Liikkanen is also not afraid to take on popular sauna myths, for example the myth of the superiority of the log cabin sauna. He acknowledges some of the well-known advantages of massive wooden walls such as their inherent insulation qualities and their ability to hold and release moisture, but then he goes on to explain that they are also more complicated to design, construct, and maintain than common alternatives. Over time, for example, log shrinkage becomes an issue and because of the thermal mass, they take a lot more time and energy to heat. Ventilation is often taken for granted, he explains, but properly crafted log walls are quite airtight and care should be taken to make sure there is adequate air flow by keeping the lowest rounds of logs free of sealing material.

Anyone who knows me, knows my love and respect for Finland and the Finnish. But one of the issues I’ve had over the years is the myopic way Finns have shared the sauna. Not only does Liikkanen give the sauna a historical and global context with the rest of the world’s sweat bathing customs, he acknowledges the influence of other cultures on the sauna, especially Russian. Also, in my experience, Finns often take the sauna for granted and don’t see the need to explain what it is exactly to foreigners. Liikkanen starts with a solid and easy to understand definition of what a Finnish sauna is, and what it is not.

This is a well thought out book, authored by a man who really knows his subject, and I highly recommend it for sauna lovers around the world.

Updates - What's going?

14th June 2021 - starts selling the hard cover edition

A new exlusive hard cover print has just landed in Finland. The print will be later available on, but Finnish customers can also order it direct from Saunologia.

30th April 2021 - it's alive!

The book is now available on all Amazon stores.

Click here to visit product page

You can find the book by its ISBN (1683150260) on every other store as well.

I hope you enjoy it and give a good review on Amazon 🙂

16th April 2021

It's all set! (or close).

The digital editions is now available for pre-order at .

You can sign up for the launch party at

This will be a Zoom event featuring the author and the publisher.

Date: Thursday, 29 April 2021
11:00 US Central Summer Time/
19:00 Finland Eastern European Summer Time

15th March 2021

The publication date of the book is set to 29th April 2021! The long wait will soon be over and the this page will be updated in April with a pre-order link and a launch party sign-up link.

I also published a kind of preview: Top Ten Finnish Sauna Myths Busted

Check out publisher's FB post and book page:

We're expecting that this full color book will span around 220 pages and cost some $40 without shipping.

21st October 2020

I have just signed a deal to publish the book next year! Read here for details:

June 2020

I have finished writing the manuscript and working on a plan to get the book published.

3rd March 2020

I just published the final article of a series in Finnish Sauna Essentials online. This series is practically a long summary of the upcoming book. Please enjoy for free and share wide and far!


In December I was happy to receive good news about a grant I had applied for writing the book. Now just today on third of March, I have initiated the work and started writing the manuscript! You can find the draft table of contents at the bottom of this email. Please comment if you think there's something essential missing!

It’s a small step for a book, but I have high hopes to Finnish the raw manuscript by June. What happens after that is still a mystery.

I have applied for additional grants to finalize the manuscript with all its necessary steps. With bit of luck, that will succeed and close the financial gap between a raw manuscript and ready-to-print book.

I will keep you up to date how things proceed with emails before mid Summer! (please feel free to unsubscribe if you think this is bothering you)

Finally, If you want to somehow offer your assistance, for instance test reading some of the sections, please let me know

14th December 2019

Kickstarter project in late 2019 showed some international interest in the book but failed to raise adequate funds to make the book potential. While I'm eager to accept any philantrophic initiatives, I will in 2020 explore opportunities to fund the production with a dedicated grant.

To be realistic, the work on the book will unlikely commence in 2020 even if the plan succeeds. 2022 is more probable target.

If your question was not answered, please contact via email, thanks!

Secrets of Finnish Sauna Design book pile mockup

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