The best traditional steam sauna can be easily found in Finland where the first ever recorded evidence on saunas dates back to 1112. Saunas play a significant part of the country’s culture until today. In fact, it is a common form of courtesy, so it is not surprising that saunas are not just an intimate place for personal relaxation but can also be a setting for business meetings.
Finland has an estimated number of 2 million saunas for a population of 5.3 million. However, you no longer have to travel to Finland to get the best and most authentic experience as you can already have this extremely relaxing and health-boosting installation in the comforts of your own home.
How Does it Work?
- 1 How Does it Work?
- 2 Benefits of Using a Sauna
- 3 Addressing the Controversies
- 4 Do’s and Don’ts in Using a Sauna
- 5 What to look for in a sauna?
- 6 The Top 5 Best Traditional Saunas
- 7 Conclusion
There are currently different types of saunas available in the market: portable steam sauna, steam shower, and outdoor sauna. All of them works similarly; they heat up a room to a certain temperature, usually around 110℉ to 190℉. Some of the traditional saunas are heated by wood being burned in a stove. The burnt wood is then placed inside a room, allowing the ember to heat the room.
You can make a simple Outdoor Sauna
Benefits of Using a Sauna
Saunas are known for its many health benefits, and below are just some of them:
- It can help with mental fatigue or stress.
Sauna rooms, or also known as dry rooms, can help lower stress. Being in an environment which temperature is higher than usual creates heat stress to the body; thus, it releases dynorphin. To counter that, the brain activates the production of endorphins, a type of chemical that creates a positive feeling to the body.
- It increases blood flow and relaxes the muscle.
As the body releases endorphins, this gives the body a tranquilizing effect. The heat from the sauna increases the body’s core temperature. This causes the blood vessels to dilate, which increases the blood flow. This also speeds up the natural healing effect of our body.
- It gives you a healthier complexion.
When you produce sweat because of the steam, it opens up your pores. Sweating removes the bacteria from the upper layer of the skin and the sweat ducts, which makes the skin soft and glowing.
- It induces better and deeper sleep.
Because of the high temperature in the sauna, the sudden drop in temperature in the environment, especially at night, reduces the endorphins being released, creating a calming effect to the body. Because of this, you will have a better sleeping experience.
- It releases toxins.
The major organ for detoxification is the skin. Numerous studies have been published that clearly showed the relationship between frequent sweating and detoxification. Another study showed significant reduction of symptoms of chronic illnesses caused by methamphetamine exposure of police officers after regular sauna sessions.
Addressing the Controversies
Sauna aiding weight loss has been a subject of debates and discussions among skeptics and sauna users, for a good reason. Yes, it does help with weight loss, but only to a certain extent. Overheating causes the body to work harder as it tries to regulate the body’s temperature, thus the sweat. A well-hydrated body effectively eliminates excess water; however, the increased salt percentage in the body causes water retention in the cells, resulting in water weight gain. Sweating helps shed this excess salt.
Other health benefits claimed for using sauna are boosting the body’s metabolism and assisting in muscle growth, but there few to no evidence to support these claims.
Lastly, there is the concern on athlete’s foot. Some claim that using a sauna can cause athlete’s foot; however, this is more on if the room is cleaned properly on a regular basis and not by the use of the room itself.
Do’s and Don’ts in Using a Sauna
Here are some sauna etiquettes and safety tips:
What to look for in a sauna?
Here are some tips to look for when purchasing a sauna for your home:
- Indoor or Outdoor
Indoor saunas are typically located near the bathroom of the home. It doesn’t require proper insulation but requires proper ventilation. Outdoor saunas are typically located near the pool or garden. It requires proper insulation and foundation, on top of power connection and water supply fixings.
- Heat Source
Currently, there are two major types of saunas: the traditional saunas and infrared saunas. The heat in a traditional dry-wet sauna comes from either an electric or a wood heat source. Infrared saunas are relatively new with two types, namely carbon far infrared and ceramic far infrared. Carbon panels can bring the temperature up to 140℉ in 10 minutes, but the ceramic panels can deliver a long-lasting heat as compared to carbon panels. These features make these type of saunas more affordable to operate than traditional saunas.
- Electrical requirements
Modern saunas have moved way past from its wooden origin. A modern-day traditional sauna steam room uses electricity by heating a basket of rocks. Moisture and temperature can be raised by sprinkling water over the rocks; however, it takes 20 to 35 minutes to heat. Its counterpart uses a heating element that radiates heat and takes lesser time to heat up the place.
Sauna interiors are made of softwoods that absorb steam and remain cool, making the room cozy and comfortable. Hemlock, a light-colored hardwood and is naturally stain-resistant, is a good choice for people with allergies since it’s less aromatic. Cedar, long-lasting and aromatic, is naturally resistant to insects, which makes this material a good option for an outdoor home steam sauna. Aspen is usually used for indoor saunas because of its affordability.
The Top 5 Best Traditional Saunas
Almost Heaven Saunas Bluestone 2-3 person Indoor Sauna
This is an indoor-type sauna which can comfortably fit three people. The multi-level seating makes it a good place for social interactions or a solo relaxation. It has a Nordic spruce wood finish. Though this is an indoor sauna, among all others, this is the most portable because of its size. It uses an electric heater, which is common for a traditional sauna.
Dynamic Infrared 2-3 Person Traditional Steam Sauna
This is another indoor-type sauna that uses an electric heater. Finished with a natural red cedar wood, it comes with a large front door and glass panel. Though claimed to seat up to three people, it can only accommodate two people comfortably. This also comes with a bluetooth connection, which allows you to connect your music devices to the built-in speaker.
Almost Heaven Saunas Weston 6 Person Electric Heater Sauna
Though this sauna can be used either indoors or outdoors, the barrel design makes it more usable outdoors, which brings an even more authentic feeling. It has a comfortable seating capacity for six people with a small place for your belongings outside the door. This sauna has a nordic spruce wood finish and also uses an electric heater. Among other products reviewed, this is the easiest to clean.
Dynamic Infrared 4-6 Person Traditional Steam Sauna
This is a traditional-style steam sauna that comes with an electric heater and is finished with a natural red cedar wood. This can seat up to six people. This also comes with bluetooth speakers and an FM radio to add music to your relaxation experience. You can bring a book to read since it also has a built-in reading lamp.
Baltic Leisure Modular Baltic Leisure 2 Person Sauna
This is the only reviewed product that is manufactured from Finland, and it has a beautiful natural spruce wood finish. Just like most traditional saunas, it uses an electric heater. This is the smallest of all, making it easy to be fitted indoors. It has a glass door, but the front panel is made of wood. It has a simple design, which may be interpreted as cheap.
These five best traditional steam saunas are available in the market right now. Considering the details of the reviews, the most recommended sauna is the Dynamic Infrared 2-3 Person Traditional Steam Sauna. It’s not only reasonably priced but also comes with a lot of features. The included therapy lighting system combined with the aroma of the red cedar wood enhances the mood of the users. To help you keep track of the time spent on it, it also comes with a built-in timer. Though it can only seat up to two people comfortably at a time, this can possibly make the social interaction more meaningful.
Another product that should be considered is the Almost Heaven Saunas Weston 6 Person Electric Heater Sauna– that is if you are into pool parties and other social gatherings. This product can comfortably seat six people, and its aesthetic quality can also be a good conversation starter.