On this page we look at the advantages, disadvantages and benefits of steam saunas.
Want to buy a sauna? These unbiased reviews will help you make that important decision.
The first question to be answered is: What exactly is a Sauna?
A sauna refers to a room (usually small) that is heated to high temperatures with controlled humidity. These heated rooms are used by people for many reasons which include relaxation, health benefits and for traditional reasons.
The temperatures range from 140 °F to 250 °F. You might wonder how people stand such high temperatures without getting burnt or scalded?
This is controlled by keeping the moisture in the room very low. The higher the temperatures within the sauna, the lower the moisture levels are kept.
This is done to prevent the water vapor from burning your skin i.e dry heated vapor will not harm you. Herein lays the difference between a Sauna and a Steam room.
A steam room which is also called a wet steam sauna is also a small heated room, the difference being the temperature and moisture level. The temperatures in a steam room or wet sauna are much lower than in a dry sauna.
The temperatures range from 100 °F to 115°F and the moisture levels are much higher. The temperature is kept so low to prevent persons from being scalded by the water vapor that is present in the air.
The Sauna originated among the Finnish; the word sauna is ancient Finnish for a traditional bath or bath house.
The first saunas were pits that were dug in a slope which were used as winter dwellings. Stones were heated in a fireplace and then water was thrown on them to produce water vapor or smoke.
These were called savusaunas or smoke saunas by the Finnish. They used the steam saunas for many reasons and are deeply embedded in their culture. It was seen as a place for relaxation, rejuvenation for the body, mind and spirit.
This was seen as the cleanest and most sterile environment, so it was used by Finn mothers to give birth and was also used to prepare the dead to be buried.
It has a lot of spiritual and familial significance which the Finnish people have shared with other countries after migrating.
However, many changes to Sauna design and use were performed as it was adapted to each country’s needs. The sauna evolved to create the electric sauna stove and the far infrared sauna.
The behavior surrounding the rules and regulations for steam sauna use are determined by the country and culture. In North America, Europe and Russia, saunas can be found in sport recreation grounds like the pool, at gyms, the spa etc.
The usual etiquette maintains that you leave your swim wear on unless there are designated areas where you can disrobe.
In some countries saunas are used by both genders of all ages and include nudity as the norm. However, these areas are not sexualized and are the social and cultural custom where even whole families go to the sauna.
The two main types of saunas are traditional and infrared saunas. The traditional sauna is as was discussed above and is built similarly to the first sauna created by using heated rocks and water to produce a hot dry vapor.
The Infrared however, operates differently. The heat in a traditional sauna heats the air and therefore heats the human body indirectly whereas an infrared sauna heats the body first. Infrared radiant heat is emitted which is directly absorbed by your body.
Both are very different methods and feel differently even though they are both enjoyable.
There are many arguments for and against each method which will be discussed in a subsequent article.
Despite differences, check out these home steam sauna use tips to make the best of your steam bath experience.
There are many benefits, some include but are certainly not limited to:
• Relaxation akin to physical and mental therapy,
• Relieves stress and can help you to have better sleep,
• It can immediately decrease your blood pressure and improve your overall circulation,
• Reduces workload off of your kidneys as you sweat, impurities escape through your skin which reduces the amount of work your kidneys have to do,
• Cleanses your skin by removing surface dirt,
• Infrared saunas can be beneficial to those suffering from asthma or other sinus conditions and it may help them breathe better,
• Weight loss. However, one should never replace healthy eating and exercise for losing weight.
• If you are a heart patient you should consult your doctor before using a sauna,
• If you are suffering from fever, contagious diseases, inflammatory diseases and other injuries, you should refrain from using a sauna,
• It is unwise to use a sauna for long periods of time as it can cause dehydration. The recommended time is between 15 and 20 minutes. Make sure that you drink a few glasses of water before and after using one,
• Know your body – if you feel unwell during use, discontinue using the sauna,
• If you suffer from atopic dermatitis, sweating may aggravate the condition,
There are many types that can easily be bought online, specifically infrared saunas that can be assembled and even portable ones complete with accessories.
They are available to suit every price range so that you can afford to have your own personal home sauna as there are lots of cheap saunas to choose from if you're on a limited budget.
The traditional saunas are bit more difficult to source and in many cases it is best that you hire someone to build one for you or you can even build one yourself as a DIY project!
There are also build it yourself sauna kits and sauna heater kit available to help you along the way.
If you are building your own, then we recommend using the tylo sauna heater as it is one of the best and most trusted brands.
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