Used for hundreds of years by Scandinavians mainly for its health benefits, you may have heard that stepping into a hot sauna after a session at the gym can be highly relaxing, as well as detoxifying for your body. Usually associated with spa trips, vacations or the gym, who says that you cannot have a sauna unit right in your house? A worthwhile investment that can save you big in the long term, a home sauna offers you the added bonus of being able to relax in the comfort of your own home whenever you feel like it.
What exactly is a sauna?
A small room which is typically heated between 65 and 90 degrees Celsius with wooden interiors and temperature controls, the sauna's purpose is to offer either a dry or a wet heat session that will render the bathers to perspire. Saunas may also include rocks that form part of their heating element and may have water poured onto them to create steam. In essence, there are many different types with the most common ones being the Finish-style sauna that uses dry heat and the Turkish variety that tends to have more moisture. Otherwise known as steam rooms, what sets these apart is the heating method used, while they operate at lower temperatures, typically around 43 to 49 degrees Celsius as opposed to their Finish counterparts.
A brief history of saunas
Closely linked to Finland, saunas were originally made from pits dug into the ground and were mainly used as houses during the cold winter months. These featured a fireplace where stones were heated to a high temperature and water was thrown onto them to produce steam. As a result, the temperature would rise so high that people could take their clothes off, becoming an important part of maintaining personal hygiene. With the emergence of the Industrial Revolution, saunas developed further sporting a metal woodstove with a chimney instead.
The evolution of the sauna took place both in Finland and in other Baltic countries, increasingly becoming popular when individuals from these places migrated to other areas, such as in Scandinavian countries, as well as in German-speaking regions across Europe following the Second World War.
What types of sauna units are available by suppliers in Malta?
Locally, installing a sauna in your house is not a common occurrence, however, if you wish to do so, here are some of the most common types you might consider getting:
Wood burning sauna: As its name implies, this type of sauna uses wood to heat up the room or rocks. What differentiates this from other types is the fact that it produces low humidity and high, dry heat. Water may be added on the rocks every so often to intensify both the heat and humidity within the room.
Steam sauna: closely resembling Turkish-styled steam rooms, these use boiling water to generate steam, thus creating a somewhat wet but relatively low heat.
Smoke sauna: Featuring a large wood-burning stove but without having a chimney, a smoke sauna also called a savusauna in the Finish language is less popular due to the fact that it needs to be heated for several hours before being used by burning a lot of wood, otherwise the massive rocks used will not be heated sufficiently. In addition, the room must also be ventilated before making use of it.
Infrared sauna: Also known as heat therapy room or far-infrared saunas (FIRS), this type of heating system relies on the individual's body heat rather than on the air found within the room. Featuring special lamps that use light waves to heat the body, this sauna is perfect for toning muscles either before or after exercise and sports. What's more, infrared saunas do not use water and as a result, they do not create a steamy sauna experience.
Electrically heated sauna: Available since the 1950s, as its name implies this type uses electricity to heat up. Efficient, safe and easy to use, this is usually operated via remote control, while the electric heater can be either wall or floor mounted.
Why you should consider installing a sauna at home?
An expensive and luxurious piece of equipment to have in your house, you might be reluctant to have one installed into your house, however, to fully reap its benefits, it is best to make regular use of it. If you are unable to find a sauna unit to make use of nearby, you might want to consider installing one right at home.
Sauna unit suppliers in Malta & Gozo will help you select the ideal type based on your requirements, needs and the space where you would like to have it installed. Typically, they can offer models for residential use, as well as for businesses and sports associations and facilities. A free consultation is usually offered, while you should expect the supplier to take care of the installation and provide an excellent after sales service should the need arises. Make sure that irrespective of the type of sauna you select, this should be manufactured using premium quality materials that will render it long-lasting and that you are provided with the appropriate guarantee.
What are the benefits of using a sauna?
Anyone who has set foot in a sauna knows that once in it, your skin temperature rises just as your pulse rate does, while your blood vessels become dilated as your heart begins to pump more blood. This process has for centuries been considered as having health benefits.
Similarly to the Finish sauna that we're so accustomed to, the traditional Korean counterpart was also renowned for its health properties, so much so, that in the early 15th century, Buddhist monks used these as clinics to treat illnesses. Nowadays, it has been touted for improving or reducing the following:
- Improves cardiovascular performance just like aerobic exercise does
- Reduces the risk of hypertension
- Offers muscle and joint pain relief
- Can possibly decrease pain and inflammation caused by certain conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia
- It can flush toxins and burn calories
- It can relieve stress
- It can cleanse the skin
Some safety tips to keep in mind
Despite its benefits, using a sauna can carry a few risks. For starters, you should avoid saunas altogether if you're suffering from any form of breathing conditions, heart disease, high or low blood pressure, epilepsy or if you're pregnant. Below are some further tips on how to enjoy a sweat session without compromising your health:
- Extreme temperatures can be dangerous so always follow safety recommendations and don't stay in for too long. If you're new to the whole sauna experience do not stay in for more than 15 to 20 minutes.
- Make sure you rehydrate as much as possible by drinking plenty of water before and after.
- Avoid drinking alcohol before entering a sauna, while the same applies if you've consumed a large meal or have undergone some really strenuous exercise.
- If at any point you feel dizzy, nauseous or you start developing a headache, leave immediately.