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well the earliest evidences of sauna-type healing rituals that i know of come from about 40-50 000 y ago from the region which is now Ukraine... May be that i dont know all the research but thats what i remember reading.
A lot of information on sweat lodges, saunas, etc., and their history here:
There's even information on how to build your own "Native American style" one. That man - Mikkel Aaland - is a pro photographer and has written books for Adobe, too. He's got some good pictures, like one of a Navajo rolling in sandy snow.
AFAICT, modern Europe was unusual in not having something of the sort. Apart from its fringes that is - further off the beaten track in Finland and Russia they never went out.
Mikkel Aaland speculates that this was because of Christianity. (Interestingly, Finland was only converted relatively late, and there are still traces of paganism in the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala - Vainamoinen was probably a god once.)
There may be something in this: some of the early Christians were highly austere and ascetic and would undoubtedly have regarded a sweat bath - or even washing at all - as "luxurious". There may be nothing in the New Testament that demands such asceticism, but that was how people thought.
Actually, the reason Christianity would have wiped out saunas in Europe is because of the modesty that was taught along with the religion. For hundreds of years, stripping down to wash was seen as inappropriate, if not sinful, and seeing any body, even your own, was bad. It's very difficult to use a sauna without being at least mostly exposed! I'm sure there wasn't much of a way to use them if you weren't willing to take off most or all of your clothes.
Even those who didn't follow through with the modesty would have at least pretended to, so bye-bye saunas.
None of this changes the fact that it is quite primal. Suanas may be man-made, but the conditions exists in nature as well, so nothing's wrong with it.
"The rose petal floats on water. The kingfisher flashes above the pond. Life and beauty swirl in the midst of death."
"The Eye of the World" by Robert Jordan
I was just going through everyone posts when I remembered being in a sauna with 60 other people I did not know. It makes me smile in a way thinking, we were all naked strangers who just enjoyed a communal sweat as a group. If that is not primal...what else is?