Sauna and steam room
Traditionally, saunas were invigorating baths that originated from Finland. The bather immersed himself in hot steam, usually followed by plunging into cold water. Women delivered babies in saunas, and any major feast was preceded by a sauna the evening before. Over the years, the use of sauna and steam rooms have been reinvented time and time again, resulting in modern innovations that spas, gyms and now many homes like to indulge in.
As part of the sauna tradition, the Finish made use of savu (smoke) saunas. Here, the bather controls the humidity by the amount of water sprinkled onto hot stones. The water then changes into steam and the humidity increases. For this type of sauna to be successful, high temperatures are needed to induce sweating, and bathers usually have to wait about 30 to 40 minutes for the sauna to heat up.
One of the greatest benefits of traditional steam saunas is that they help moisten the nasal passages and allow the use of aromatherapy if the bather intends to mix essential oils with the water.
Today, the most popular sauna designs make use of far-infrared (FIR) technology, which is a modern twist to the timeless sauna experience. FIR emits radiant heat to warm the body and is a non-invasive form of light therapy. It uses lower temperatures than steam saunas do but the bather can still enjoy the benefits, such as energy penetrating the skin and warming muscles and joints.
Additional advanced health benefits of FIR saunas (confirmed by doctors and scientists) include:
- Elimination of medications, alcohol, nicotine, sodium and cholesterol from the bloodstream;
- Facilitates weight loss;
- Boosts the immune system;
- Eases sports injuries and chronic pain;
- Increases overall resistance to diseases;
- Relieves tension and stress;
- Improves skin and assists with dermatological conditions;
- Stimulates endorphins of the brain;
- Safe to use.
Whether you prefer the traditional steam sauna experience, which for some is the whole point of a true sauna or a more modern twist to a traditional activity, one cannot argue the benefits of either for your overall health and well-being.
Sources: Dr. Joseph Mercola, SA Sauna Technologies, Sauna.org, Sauna Zone