A sauna is defined as a room in which a person or persons can relax in dry heat. There are some key benefits to using a sauna on a regular basis through sweat therapy.
A sauna is normally heated to 158 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. By raising the skin temperature, the body begins to try to cool itself by sweating. Possible health benefits include everything from pain reduction to lower stress levels to even improving one’s cardiovascular health.
If you are considering the purchase of a sauna for home or business use, you may wish to learn which types of saunas are available and what each one can offer.
What Are the Different Types of Saunas?
Each type of sauna works a little bit differently. All have their pros and cons. Depending on personal preference, you may find one work better for you than what someone else might choose based on taste or what you can afford to spend out of pocket.
Wood Burning Saunas
This type of sauna relies on wood to heat the room. These rooms are low in humidity and the temperatures run quite high. There are two different types of wood saunas, one is traditional and the other is contemporary.
The only difference between them is that the contemporary wood-burning source is in a unit that allows you to add water on the rocks without causing the unit to short-circuit.
If considering building your own, choose a softwood. The reason behind this is because hardwood heats up quickly. Softwoods include spruce, pine, and cedar. Spruce and pine are the ideal choices of these three because cedar has a tendency to lose its luster after a couple of years and can in some cases, actually create mold.
Steam sauna is another type of sauna that provides so many health benefits.
This type of sauna makes use of low moist heat of around 120 degrees Fahrenheit and high humidity. The steam heat soothes your nerve relaxing your sore muscles.
Unlike traditional sauna rooms, these types house high humidity and moist heat. Saunas run about 160-200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a lot hotter than a steam room, but it’s dry heat with only 5-20 percent humidity.
The benefits of using a steam room include faster recovery times after a workout, removing the body of toxins, and improved immunity overall.
Avoid using steam rooms before a workout. Shower before going in with a towel around your body and start out sitting in the steam room for five or ten minutes.
Increase the duration over time working toward a goal of about thirty minutes. Afterward, be sure to catch a nice shower to rid the skin of any lingering toxins that may be still sitting on the skin.
Electric sauna rooms are similar to wood burning with low humidity and high temperatures. The electric sauna heaters are attached to the floor to heat the room. What’s great about these types is you never have to worry about the wood to keep it going unlike with a wood-burning sauna room. Simply get started with the push of a button!
Another great thing about an electric sauna room is that it is remarkably energy efficient. By making your electric sauna more modern, the lightbulbs are more energy efficient. In addition, a lot of the rooms come with remote control. That saves you the inconvenience of having to constantly readjust the temperature.
The only downside to electric saunas is the cost of the sauna heaters themselves. Most simple heaters you can expect to invest about $500 with an upwards cost into the thousands!
The less expensive models are not as aesthetically pleasing to the eye but do the same thing as their more expensive versions. Each holds a collection of stones on the top that water can be poured over.
These types of sauna heaters are most ideal for commercial settings than for personal use. Each box of stones weighs about fifty pounds, but you can easily just pick some large stones and wash them and use them for the same purpose if using for personal use.
Another type of sauna is an infrared sauna. This type is very different from other sauna types since it does not use wood or electricity to heat the sauna room.
Instead, this type uses light waves to create heat, creating absolutely no humidity. The process is through far-infrared rays. Unlike other saunas that heat the entire room, infrared sauna targets only the person’s body.
These sauna rooms differ quite a bit from wood and electric sauna rooms. Light waves from specialized lamps are used to heat a person’s body, not the entire room itself.
Temperatures run lower than other sauna types but the body sweats the same amount as other sauna rooms. Expect the temperature of the room to run about 120 degrees to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although these little gems can penetrate the skin up to nine inches deep and are the least expensive to run, they may be too strong for those sensitive to heat.
Benefits from using an infrared sauna include:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Type 2 Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Scientists have reported that there is no difference in health benefits between infrared saunas versus traditional wood-burning saunas. There are also no adverse reactions either.
So whether you wish to try a traditional sauna or an infrared one, you will still reap the same benefits.
Wet saunas are not to be confused with steam rooms. The rooms are heated by applying water onto the heating element. Once the liquid strikes the hot rocks, it converts the water into steam which creates a hot and humid environment. Wet sauna is best for increasing the sweating process.
Benefits from using a wet sauna include opening the sinuses and weight loss. Plus, it also can increase flexibility and reduce stress, just like any other sauna type. So, you can stay healthy and socialize with friends and family at the same time!
Sweat Lodge Sauna uses a wood-burning heat source but the rocks are heated outside and then brought inside while super-heated. From inside, water is poured on the rocks to heat the sweat lodge.
Aim to stay for about five hours, with the ceremony divided into four sessions (referred to as “rounds”), each one lasting between twenty and forty-five minutes.
Sweat lodges are commonly associated with Native Americans. In North American Indian tradition, the sweat lodge is built with the bark of a willow tree that’s placed in a circular shape on the ground and then covered with blankets.
The heat is generated by hot basalt stones which are strategically placed in the center and soaked with both water and medicinal herbs.
One of the types of saunas is a traditional sauna. This type is wood-lined and uses wood to heat the sauna room. The sauna room usually has sauna rocks, a spoon, and a bucket of water.
With a traditional sauna, you can be able to regulate the humidity and temperature in the sauna.
You should add water into the rocks and change the steam and humidity from 20% to 40%. When the temperature is higher inside the sauna, the humidity is usually low.
Another type of saunas is a dry sauna. This sauna type is similar to a traditional sauna since it has heated rocks in the sauna, but it lacks water to add to the heating rocks.
A dry sauna is usually low on humidity and mostly found in gyms. When you use a dry sauna, your metabolism increases temporarily, enabling you to reduce weight through fat burning and sweating. It also increases your heart rate allowing better blood circulation.
Commercial Versus Personal Sauna Types
Most commercial saunas utilize an electric sauna. This prevents customers from pouring too much water on the heating elements (as in a wet sauna) or in some cases causing health problems from sitting in a sauna too long (like a steam room).
Plus, many people do not consider a wet sauna or a steam room to be a normal sauna. As regular saunas use dry heat, wet saunas and steam rooms use the opposite. The only reason steam rooms are popular is for the benefit of relaxation.
Personal saunas can be designed in really creative ways. You choose what type you want and let the creativity begin! Choose from:
Outdoor saunas can be broken down and divided into different types. The barrel sauna is literally as it sounds. You just open the door and there are two benches, one on either side, that you can sit down and relax for a few quiet moments.
Some styles come with a panoramic view where you can see outside of the back of the barrel through a window.
There is also a POD sauna where the idea is derived from the barrel sauna but is instead tear-drop shaped in design. Then there is a Luna Sauna that you can add easily to your home or cottage. The benches inside are L-shape and look more like storage sheds made of cedar than a barrel design.
If outdoor saunas sound like too much work or hanging out in a barrel seems odd, you can always install your sauna inside your home instead. You can choose from:
- Corner Design
- Portable Personal
The built-in saunas are custom design to fit your personal taste. Due to budget restraints or whatever the reason may be, some people like to go with the kit box style saunas. These are much more simplistic in the design are very small; enough for one or two people to sit inside.
If your home will not allow the others, you may wish to look into the corner design models. Roomy and stylish, these builds offer a glass door entry and plenty of room to sit down and relax.
If building a sauna isn’t possible, you may want to consider a portable personal sauna. Although not as pretty, portable saunas function the same as any other, no matter where you are.
Do’s and Don’ts of Using a Sauna
The first thing to note about stepping into your brand-new sauna is don’t apply antiperspirant. These are designed to keep your body from sweating which is the opposite of what you want in a sauna.
Using deodorant on the other hand will kill bacteria causing sweat but will allow you to keep sweating as normal.
1. Drink plenty of water – Using a sauna can quickly deplete your fluid levels. If you suffer from any health conditions (like Diabetes), consult with your physician before using a sauna. Diabetics are chronically dehydrated, to begin with, and doing so further could increase health issues.
2. Limit your time in the sauna – Don’t do more than twenty-minute intervals at a time. Sweat therapy is not something that can nor should be mastered in a week. You’ll reap more health benefits by using the sauna in short visits.
3. Be sure to shower after using the sauna – It allows the skin to breathe better by removing any unwanted toxins that might be hanging around afterward. Plus, you’ll feel better too!