Buying a Sauna in 2019?
The Finnish have it totally right – Saunas are amazing for both your body and your mind. There is nothing that compares to that almost euphoric feeling of stepping out of the sauna feeling your skin completely cleansed and your mind ready to take on the day. Over here in the UK, saunas are becoming increasingly popular with people interested in health and fitness, but there are so many advantages to saunas that almost everyone can get some benefit out of using one.
So, what are the benefits?
- Saunas are relaxing. The main reason any of us even try a Sauna in the first place is to chill out. After a hard workout or a long day, you need to just relax, which is exactly what you will do. The combination of heat, plus being disconnected from the rest of the world for even just a few minutes (don’t even try and take your phone in with you!), can transform your attitude and leave you feeling refreshed.
- Using a sauna cleans your pores. Think about it: Steam causes your pores to open so you can release sweat. As your pores open and sweat, they also flush out the icky stuff sitting on your skin’s surface or just below the surface. All the dirt, toxins and germs from your environment, your day, even your makeup get flushed out to leave your skin looking clearer and feeling healthier.
- Using a sauna increases your flexibility. The last thing you want when you’re trying to relax in the Sauna is for some towel-clad person next to you to bend over and touch their toes. That said, if you are ever lucky enough to find an empty Sauna (or if you have a private home sauna!), take a few minutes to stretch. The concept is that intense, penetrating heat can relieve stiff muscles and make them more malleable. A recent study showed that stretching in the Sauna led to a 205% improvement in flexibility.
- Saunas can help with exercise recovery. An intense workout can leave your muscles tired, sore and stiff. Using the heat from a Sauna can release tension and help muscle fibres recover faster.
- You can detoxify. Regardless of how healthy you may be and how much you may try to live a balanced, health-focused lifestyle your body is storing tons of toxins. They can come from chemicals in your environment or from your food, and the best way to release these toxins is to mobilise them in your body and sweat them out in a sauna.
- Saunas can help cure a hangover. To help alleviate the hangover symptoms and speed up the recovery process, sweating it out in a Sauna can help rid your body of all the grossness from last night’s booze-fest. That said, just be sure to properly hydrate along the way. While a good sweat can help, being dehydrated could hurt you and make your symptoms worse.
- Relieve joint pain. Saunas have been shown to help patients dealing with arthritis and joint discomfort, as the heat therapy can cause temporary pain relief. A Dutch study in 2009 showed that participants reported improvement in pain, stiffness and fatigue during the Sauna session.
- Saunas are good for your heart. Because Saunas stimulate your heart to pump faster moving blood throughout your body, bathing in a sauna is a mini-workout for your heart. Saunas can also lower blood pressure, being the perfect excuse to hop in the sauna for people with high blood pressure!
- Increase the value of your property. let’s face it, with all the benefits in owning a sauna, everyone will want what you’ve got. Health, well-being, a beautiful private sauna room and all in the confines of your own home.
Infrared OR Electric?
- Heat. If you prefer steam, higher temperatures and a more social environment, then the best option is a traditional steam Sauna. Because the traditional Saunas create steam, the temperature varies within the room. There is much more bather flexibility in the Sauna’s impact, effect and seating arrangements. If you prefer lower temperatures but with body-penetrating heat, an Infrared Sauna is best. To maximise the heat produced by any Infrared Sauna the hottest place in the Sauna will always be in front of the heater. Finding somewhere to sit comfortably to maximise this position is often difficult in an Infrared Sauna.
- Humidity. The benefits of heat bathing have much to do with the Sauna creating a self-induced fever (sweating). As Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine observed, “Give me fever and I can cure every disease.” While this statement is hyperbole, it does point to the healing power of an increased body temperature. Both Sauna types will be relatively dry. The Infrared rooms tend to be close to normal house humidity levels unless it has been on for extended periods of time. The traditional Sauna will be drier (10% or lower) until water is sprinkled over the rocks. The traditional Sauna is the only bath in the world where the user controls both temperature and humidity, with humidity controlled by how much water is thrown on the rocks. In infrared Saunas you can control the temperature, but not the humidity.
- Social Experience. There is a difference in the social experience between the two rooms. While the UK may not fully explore the social experience to the extent of the Finnish, traditional saunas are more socially rewarding. From family time, to heart-felt conversations with significant others, to Sauna parties - the traditional Sauna experience can lead to meaningful socialising and bonding. Traditional Steam Saunas are typically large enough to allow multiple people to enjoy the Sauna for social time. Though a Sauna session may only be 10-15 minutes at a time, the experience of heating, preparing to use the Sauna, talking and relaxing afterwards can be very therapeutic and rewarding. It is possible to converse in an infrared room, but due to the smaller room sizes and room design the typical experience of the infrared room is often more about an individual experience.
Wood or electric?
- Overall Experience. The overall experience is similar whether heating with electric or wood.
- Heating. Traditional Steam Saunas can be heated either by electricity or wood. Electric heaters will need a 32amp supply and must be connected by a qualified electrician. This obviously comes at an additional cost, as no Sauna heater will be supplied with an electrical cable. This supply will have to be connected directly to your fuse board, so you will need to determine the location of your new Sauna in anticipation of how the electric supply will be managed.
- Ventilation. The wood heater will need a vent out the top or back of the room, as well as provide an appropriate firewall around the heater.
Is there anything else I need to think about when buying a Sauna?
I’m glad you asked! Like with any major home investment, you need to make sure the sauna you buy is perfect for you and what you want to use it for. There’s no point buying a 2-seater electric sauna if your plan is to hold sauna parties and want to throw water over the hot rocks!
- Seats. Do you want one level of bench seats, 2 or even 3? The various seats are not just to accommodate more bathers, the different levels of seating each offer variation of temperatures and the ability to lay down and stretch your body.
- Heater. How hot will the Sauna get? Is it going to be effective for the internal size of the Sauna? Do you need a window in case the heater makes the Sauna too hot or you become claustrophobic? No one likes a show-off. If the heat regularly gets too uncomfortable, you’re not going to use the sauna as often, and you will not see the benefit of your investment.
- Lights. How does the lighting appear? Most Saunas come with pretty colour-changing lights; but as with anything metal in contact with steam, they quickly rust. Would you prefer to create the ambience with candles which can even be scented?
- Cladding. Is the internal and outer material guaranteed and fit for purpose? Remember that both the outside and inside will be affected by moisture and temperature variation. This is unavoidable!
- Cooling down. Is there a ‘cool down’ area anywhere inside the Sauna – either further away from the heater or closer to the door? You may want some light relief without leaving the Sauna room and without opening the Sauna door – you don’t want to lose all that sweet, sweet humidity.
- Music. Music is the food of the soul and can enhance the Sauna experience. Would you prefer waterproof, wireless speakers which can be purchased from a third party and therefore better suited and guaranteed than speakers that may come with the sauna?
- Aromatherapy. If you have a traditional sauna, pouring one or two drops of essential oils in the water you pour over the coals will surround you in a cloud of delightful fragrance! Unsure what essential oils to try in the sauna? Check out our aromatherapy section in our post on Maximising the Benefit of a Sauna Session!
There are loads of things to consider when it comes to choosing the right sauna for you – if you’re just starting out, it can feel a little overwhelming. Fear not! You can find more information in our Free Downloadable Sauna Buyer’s Guide, or if you have specific questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert team. Unsure what model will fit in your home or garden? Book a Free Home Site Survey to maximise your space and find the perfect sauna for you.