Dating back to twelfth-century Finland, the sauna has become a popular form of relaxation the world over. For those who are unaware, a sauna is a small enclosed chamber containing heated rocks where people take what's basically a sweat bath. Traditional saunas operate at a temperature of 65.5 C, measured at the benches. Since the rocks give off a dry heat, bathers can adjust the humidity by throwing water on the rocks to produce steam.
Sauna Health Benefits
Sauna provides a wide range of health benefits, especially to frequent bathers. The heated air brings blood nearer the skin, improving circulation and sweating out toxins. It also relieves congestion and helps fight and prevent the common cold. Sauna is even heart-healthy, raising your heart rate even while you are sitting there.
Types of Sauna
While all traditional saunas rely on heated rocks, there are several different kinds of sauna heater. The earliest saunas were wood fired and had no chimneys; you heated the room and then opened it to let the smoke vent. Later saunas used wood fired heaters with a chimney, allowing a longer exposure. Most saunas today use electric heaters in one form or another due to its practicality.
The steam sauna more resembles a Turkish bath, running at a lower temperature than other saunas. It usually has only one bench level and the humidity is normally set at one hundred percent. Infrared saunas rely on radiant heating. It doesn't use steam; instead the heat applies directly to the occupants rather than to the air.
Choosing a Sauna Heater
When choosing a sauna heater you want to size it for your sauna room; when in doubt choose a smaller heater and let it run longer as that is easier on your body. Also be aware that the more stones you choose to heat, the longer it will take. Stainless steel heaters are preferred for their anti-corrosion properties.