The Modern Day Sauna

by : teahupoo

Most of us are familiar with saunas and have used one at least once. The origin of modern day saunas is in Finland where they perfected them. The word "sauna" is actually the only word of Finnish origin in the English dictionary and is sometimes used metaphorically when encountering a hot humid environment, for example, "It feels like a sauna in here."

Since its introduction in the 1600s by Finns coming to the United States the sauna has become more and more popular with Americans. These days most college and university athletic complexes include sauna facilities. They can also be found in some public swimming pools and nearly all health clubs and spas have them.

Normally temperatures as high as 212 degrees Fahrenheit would be unbearable but saunas deal with this by controlling the level of humidity in the room. Some of the hotter Finnish style saunas have very low humidity levels with air temperatures that could boil water while other types of saunas with higher humidity levels have to be set at much lower temperatures to compensate for the humidity. You can also get the benefit of a higher temperature by sitting on a higher bench in the sauna room. If you are sharing the sauna with someone else remember not to leave the door open which will cause an undesirable loss of heat as well as a draft.

One of the most popular saunas today is the infrared sauna which uses infrared rays from infrared heaters to create the heat instead of electricity or wood burning. These infrared rays are said to have health benefits unlike the ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

These days there is a huge variety of choices for saunas with heat sources including wood, electricity, gas and some other methods such as solar power. In addition to the infrared type mentioned above there are wet saunas, dry saunas, smoke saunas, and steam saunas. Saunas have become so affordable now that many people have them installed in their homes now.

Though beginning in Finland, the use of saunas has become widespread worldwide with sauna customs and etiquette varying greatly from country to country. In Russia as in Finland the sauna is a central part of the social culture although in Russia public saunas are single sex only where in Finland there are also coed saunas or saunas where men and women may share.

As affordable as saunas have become you may decide to put one in your home as well.