Sauna Benefits, Types, and Safety Tips
Whether or not to purchase a sauna for your home is a big decision. You must determine whether the benefits of regular use are worth the investment. While there are many options available, you must choose which type is right for you. And you must be familiar with the safety tips. You will need to be prepared in the event of a problem if you’re home alone.
What is a Sauna?
In simplest terms, a sauna is a room designed to use dry heat to help you sweat. It’s often heated to temperatures between 158-212 degrees Fahrenheit. And, some humidity is often added.
What Benefits are Associated with Sauna Use?
Here are just a few of the many benefits that have been associated with regular sauna use.
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Increased endurance
- Pain relief
- Stress reduction
- Decreased risk of Alzheimer’s or dementia
- Better sleep
What Types of Saunas are Available?
There are seven common kinds of home saunas available. This makes it easy to choose the style that works best for your home and lifestyle.
- Wood-Burning Saunas
Often called a Finnish sauna, this is a “dry” sauna, best suited for outdoor use. It has little to no humidity inside. A fire in a wood stove is used to heat stones that then radiate the heat into the room. Every sauna of this kind comes with a bucket and ladle so you can pour water over the stones to create steam. Temperatures of Finnish saunas typically range between 140-200 degrees.
- Electric Sauna
If preserving trees is a consideration for you, consider an electric sauna. It is similar to the wood-burning option without the same environmental impact. Plus, you don’t need to give up the experience of pouring water over stones. Incredibly versatile, electric is a great option for home saunas because they can be installed inside your house.
- Infrared Saunas
Want the sauna experience but not the high heat? Look no further than infrared for your home sauna. These don’t heat the ambient air. Instead, they heat your body. For people who are temperature sensitive, infrared offers all the same benefits without the same discomfort or risk.
- Smoke Saunas
You’ll not come across this option very often, and it’s not well-suited to homes. Although, if you have a property to build on, it may still be an option. Smoke saunas use a fire built under a rock pile. You don’t go in to enjoy your sauna session until after the fire has gone out, the rocks are heated, and the smoke has been cleared from the room. With no stove or chimney, this choice isn’t ideal for most people.
- Steam Saunas
You may have heard of these referred to as steam rooms, hammams, or Turkish saunas. This variety of saunas features moist heat from boiling water that fills the chamber with hot air. The temperature for this type typically hovers around 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Sauna-Shower Combos
Let’s face it. Not all homes offer a lot of free space for a luxurious home sauna. If that feels familiar, consider replacing your shower with a sauna-shower combo. You can even invest in a model that’s big enough to share with your partner during a romantic evening. Or, you can get one that also offers a whirlpool tub!
- Portable Saunas
If you’re just starting out and you’re not sure how often you’ll use it, a portable steam sauna may be just what you’re looking for. Inexpensive and easy to store, you can get a one-person model to use whenever you want. While it won’t give you the full-body experience, you’ll get a steam tent to sit in while your head sticks out the top.
What Safety Tips Do I Need to Remember for Sauna Use?
Heat baths are not without their risks. When you choose to invest in a home sauna it is important to keep several important safety tips in mind.
- Stay hydrated. You’ll need to drink lots of water both before and after to avoid severe dehydration
- Limit your sauna time to 15-20 minutes
- Always cool down slowly afterward
- Many health conditions make sauna use unsafe. If you have breathing problems, epilepsy, heart disease, or blood pressure issues, or use any drugs (including tranquilizers, stimulants, or mind-altering substances) consult with a doctor before use
- Pregnancy and saunas don’t mix
How to Decide if Sauna Use is Right For You
Adding a sauna to your home is a fantastic way to invest in your own health and well-being. But, for most people, it’s not a simple impulse buy. Consider how often you will use it and where it fits into your lifestyle. Determine how much space you have to dedicate to your new wellness practice. And make sure you know all the safety considerations so you can continue to enjoy it for years to come.