It’s 2018…time for a new year and a new you, right? Have you thought about adding a valuable piece of “fitness equipment” to your home? A sauna is really more of a “wellness” item than a fitness product and I can’t say enough good things about it!
While mine isn’t quite the grandiose palace of relaxation and healing like some saunas, mine definitely works its magic while blending into the design of our basement something like this:
Saunas have been used for healing and maintaining good health for thousands of years.
According to saunas.com, “Sauna is a Finnish word which best translates into English as “Bath”; though it’s every day meaning in Finnish implies a specific type of bath – one in which a person could escape the cold winter air, or the oppressive heat/humidity of the summer.
The earliest known Saunas were huts or lean-to’s which were dug into the side of a hill/mountain, a large berm, or something similarly convenient. The goal was to create an enclosed space in which one could trap heat. Early Saunas – in Finnish savusauna (“smoke sauna”) were universally wood-burning, and would often take much of the day to become fully prepared and reach a desirable temperature.
The desire for the Sauna sprang from a need to relax, cleanse the mind – much of the ancient world clearly understood that a heavy sweat would, generally speaking, offer a permeating sense of relaxation and cleanse the body of impurities.
What most of the Western World understands to be a Sauna is often referred to as a “Dry Sauna” – a wood-lined room with (in the modern day) an electric heater that transfers heat to the air in the room by way of igneous rocks, and reaches a maximum of 195ºF (200ºF+ in Eastern Europe) This heating method was found early on in the history of Sauna to produce a “soft” heat, the rocks diffusing the raw energy of either a wood-burning stove or an electric heating element.
While Sauna and Steam have typically dominated the landscape, recently the Infrared Therapy Room has become an important part of the industry. While not actually a Sauna by definition, the Infrared Room or “Infrared Sauna” is generally referred to as a Sauna in the United States and often abroad as well. The Infrared Sauna is dry, offering no steam or moisture – it achieves the same end result as the traditional Sauna or Steam Bath, in that it raises your body’s core temperature to help the body release sweat naturally.
Sauna and Steam have historically been known to help offer measurable health benefits – with the rise in skin temperature to around 104ºF, the body rises to around 100.4ºF internally. This increase causes the body to sweat and raises the heart rate to around 30% above normal resting rate. As the human body’s pulse rises, circulation quickens throughout the body, sending oxygen-rich blood to nourish aching muscles and tired minds. The heightened levels of perspiration help to flush toxins from the body while simultaneously cleansing the skin’s pores.
Over time, and with continued use, Sauna and Steam have been known to help ease the pain of aching joints, muscles, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, sports injuries, improve complexion, and increase flexibility. In addition to physical benefits, Sauna and Steam are widely used around the world to help reduce stress hormones in the body and to encourage a state of mental relaxation.”
While I could go on and on about my personal sauna use and the health benefits I reap, I stress the importance of checking with your doctor prior to using one. Patients who are pregnant, have high blood pressure or other ailments may be at risk using, so please ask your doctor first.