Each year, more traditional saunas are being built or purchased in North America. This is largely due to the increase in interest in using saunas for everything from relaxing away the stress of the day to improving your health. The popularity of these steamy rooms can be traced back to Finland, where saunas have been a part of the culture for hundreds of years.
A typical sauna holds one or more people and is heated to extreme temperatures so that users can sweat out toxins, increase their blood circulation and relax aching or tired muscles and joints. In a traditional, Finnish style sauna steam is produced when water is poured over heated rocks. The steam filled versions are the most popular, with many people swearing by the effectiveness of sweating for a wide range of problems, including acne and other skin conditions.
The interior of a traditional sauna is usually made of a strong hardwood and will have bench seating where you can relax and unwind. Typical temperatures are between 80C-110C, or 170F-230F. Most people relax in a sauna for no more than twenty minutes, then take a cool shower or go for a dip in a swimming pool. Many people repeat this cycle of relaxing in the steam and getting a brisk rinse-off three or four times for maximum effect.
In Finland, sauna use has been a tradition for centuries. It is a popular Saturday tradition to gather friends and family for an afternoon of sauna fun, punctuated with frequent dips in a lake, showers, or even rolling in the snow. A light meal, including beer, is often part of the afternoon.
If you visit the country, you'll see Finland saunas that are hundreds of years old in some regions. You'll also find that public saunas are quite popular in the cities.
If you're interested in owning your own sauna, take the time to determine how you're going to be using it. A Finnish sauna for one or two people can be installed in your home for a relatively low cost.
You can even have music piped in if you want a bit of entertainment while you relax. If you'd like to start a custom of relaxing with friends and family, you'll need to build a traditional Finnish wood heated outdoor sauna in order to accommodate a larger group of people. If you go this route, remember to also install an outdoor shower nearby if possible so that you can go through the cycle of hot and cold easily.
Regardless of where you install your sauna or how many people share it with you, you'll soon discover that using traditional saunas as part of your weekly or daily routine improves you health and your outlook on life. You'll sleep better, feel more refreshed, and look forward to those relaxing moments enveloped in healing steam.