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Over 2,000 years ago, someone in Finland dug a deep hole in the ground, heated a pile of stones, and created the first sauna. As time went by, they began to build saunas above ground. The Mayans were ahead of the Finns, using sweat houses for both spiritual and health purposes.
The benefits of sauna sessions can’t be denied, and in Finland, some even call them “the poor man’s pharmacy” because of their amazing effects on health. Studies have found that saunas can deliver a number of health benefits, especially for those with cardiovascular-related and rheumatological disease, as well as athletes seeking improved exercise performance.
Saunas continue to evolve, and today, many use sophisticated technology and mobile apps. And while “sauna” is the only Finnish word you’ll find in an English dictionary, there is more to choose from than the traditional Finnish sauna.
While in ancient times they may have just built a structure with a hole in the roof and fired up a pile of seasoned wood, today’s wood-burning saunas use stoves.
These types of saunas can be bought as a kit, and are meant for outdoor use. Temperature control is primitive and adjusted only by adjusting the amount of wood burning in the stove. A number of stove models are available.
These are the type of saunas most people are familiar with. These saunas use electric heaters, which come in a variety of sizes and configurations, including Bio Water Technique heaters, and provide both a dry and wet sauna experience and classic heaters with a large rock mass that provides soft, radiant heat.
These heaters are available with both simple or sophisticated controls and Helo saunas even have an available mobile app to control your sauna from anywhere.
This type of sauna is not available in the United States, but it’s certainly an interesting concept. A smoke sauna uses a large wood-burning stove without a chimney.
To heat the sauna, several hundred pounds of rocks are used and heated for several hours before its available for use. Smoke and flames from burning wood heat the rocks directly, sending smoke into the sauna room between the rocks. The room, once heated, is aired and ready for use.
A stream room is not technically a sauna, but is a Turkish-style bath, with a humidity level of 100% as opposed to a sauna, where the humidity is 5% to 10%, only rising for a short time when water is poured over the stones. The temperature in a Steam bath is also much lower than in a sauna.
The Finns don’t consider an infrared sauna a “real” sauna because heat is reflected directly onto the body instead of heating the air.
Infrared heat therapy rooms are based on radiant heat, there is no water, and humidity is low. Saunas, or “sweat baths” are part of many cultures and even spiritual traditions.
In addition to those mentioned above, the other types of sweat baths include the Turkish hammam, which is a public steam bath, and the indigenous American sweat lodge.
Dreaming of that infrared sauna or that “ah” quality of steam from hot rocks? Great Bay Spa and Sauna can create a customized sauna just for you, using our 40 years of experience to find the solution that best fits your space as well as your budget to create your perfect sauna experience.
We’re one of a few select dealers who carry Helo saunas. Helo is the world’s largest sauna manufacturers, and they stay at the forefront of the industry, keeping Finnish sauna traditions alive while innovating for modern needs and wants for over 100 years.