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The first Finnish saunas are what nowadays are called savusaunas, or smoke saunas.
These differed from present-day saunas in that they were heated by heating a pile of rocks called kiuas by burning large amounts of wood about 6 to 8 hours, and then letting the smoke out before enjoying the löyly, or sauna heat.
The "wet heat" would cause scalding if the temperature were set much higher.
In a typical Finnish sauna, the temperature of the air, the room and the benches is above the dew point even when water is thrown on the hot stones and vaporized. In contrast, the sauna bathers are at about 38 °C (100 °F), which is below the dew point, so that water is condensed on the bathers' skin.
A properly heated "savusauna" gives heat up to 12 hours.
German soldiers had got to know the Finnish saunas during their fight against the Soviet Union on the Soviet-Finnish front of WWII, where they fought on the same side.This allows air temperatures that could boil water to be tolerated and even enjoyed for longer periods of time.Steam baths, such as the Turkish bath, where the humidity approaches 100%, will be set to a much lower temperature of around 40 °C (104 °F) to compensate.This led to further evolution of the sauna, including the electric sauna stove, which was introduced in 1938 by Metos Ltd in Vaasa .Although the culture of sauna nowadays is more or less related to Finnish culture, the evolution of sauna happened around the same time both in Finland and the Baltic countries sharing the same meaning and importance of sauna in daily life, shared still to this day.