Experience the benefits of your own sauna

Saunas have been in use for over 2,000 years, and many historians attribute the origin of the communal sauna to Finland. For today's homeowners, there are a multitude of home sauna options to take advantage of the benefits for health and relaxation.

Sauna Basics

Many homeowners install a sauna for the health benefits, which include:

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  • Increased cardiovascular health
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Detoxification and strengthened immune system
  • Rejuvenation of skin color and clarity
  • Relief of painful joints
  • Treatment of muscle fatigue
  • Decrease in pain from arthritis

Most saunas are dry saunas, with the relative humidity at around 20 percent. If the humidity drops much below that level, it can cause respiratory difficulties, so a quality sauna will have a way to track the humidity. A dry sauna uses hot rocks or infrared rays to create a dry heat. Infrared heaters use less power and heat faster than traditional sauna heaters.

Steam saunas, also known as wet saunas and steam baths, generate steam from heating water to create a high-humidity sauna experience. A steam sauna can be as simple as a steam cabinet, which is portable and operates simply by filling the tank with water and plugging in the unit. A more elaborate option is the steam room, which is often used in place of traditional showers. Steam rooms are small molded rooms that can be filled with steam, and they also serve as traditional showers when the steam is not activated.

Options in Home Saunas

Since saunas range from a simple box to an elaborately wired room, the options for installation are numerous. For DIYers, sauna kits – which contain the plans and necessary materials to construct a fully-operational sauna – are readily available. Before assembling the sauna kit, you will need to build a frame and prepare the floor (or have a contractor do this for you). The kit will supply the walls, ceiling, trim, benches, door, heater and accessories.

A custom sauna is preferable if your bathroom is too small or oddly-shaped to fit in a sauna kit. Seek out a sauna professional – they can provide advice and insight regarding the size and special features of a custom sauna that you might not have considered with a DIY sauna kit.

Whichever type of sauna you select – dry or steam, kit or custom – you are sure to enjoy many hours of relaxation along with the long list of health benefits.