History of Saunas

The Sauna was invented by the Finns over 2000 years ago. The Saunas were originally designed and used as a form of a bath. The sauna was a place to cleanse the body and was considered a sterile environment. In fact, in Finland, women often gave birth in the sauna!

Smoke Sauna

The sauna houses were traditionally made of logs and the rocks were heated by a central fire. Unlike modern sauna rooms, there were no chimneys, only a small hole in the Smoke Sauna wall. This meant that the original saunas we very smoky inside. Typically, the sauna room was heated for ½ day before use and could provide up to 12 hours of heat once it was ready. One can only imagine the sauna room full of black ashes along the walls and a heavy smell of smoke, not exactly a modern-day sauna! These first saunas are called "sauvu saunas" or "smoke saunas". The Finnish used hot stones as the source of latent heat and then water was poured on the stones to provide steam that quickly raised the perceived temperature inside the sauna. This steam has a special name in Finland called Loyly or "sauna heat".

As the industrial revolution approached metal chimneys were added to the sauna to provide a means of venting the smoke. The wood fired sauna heater evolved to provide a means of integrating the hot fire with a large bed of stones that surrounded the sauna heater. The wood fired sauna heater remains the choice for modern outdoor saunas as it has the power to provide unlimited heat and loyle.

In 1938, the first electric sauna heater was introduced using an element like that found on a traditional electric stove. The Electric sauna heater provides a means of controlling the heat to a much more accurate level than was possible with wood fried heater. It also provides the convenience to allow users to pre heat the sauna quickly without having to make a fire. The electric heater was the start of the indoor sauna room popularity as homes could now have their own saunas without the need for chimneys and fires. It is now known that there are more saunas in Finland than there are cars. This is due to the popularity of indoor saunas that became popular with the introduction of the electric sauna heater.

While the methods of heating a sauna have evolved, the sauna benefits remain the same. The sauna is the only place where both high heat and low humidity are used. The water added the saunas creates the humidity know as a "wet sauna". Without water the sauna is sometimes called a "dry sauna". The construction of a wet or dry sauna is the same the only difference is the preference for humidity by the bathers.

Today saunas are enjoyed all over the world and are generally known for their relaxing properties their ability to relieve stress. The health benefits or a sauna are well documented and are a great way to improve one's overall wellbeing. Home sauna rooms are also considered a positive investment in a home same as a kitchen or bathroom renovation!

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