The Origin of Saunas
While opinions do differ on the subject, it is a commonly held belief with many that the sauna originated in Finland over 2,000 years ago. These began as little more than crude pits dug into the ground where they were primarily used as dwellings during the colder months. These structures generally featured a fireplace where stones were heated to a high temperature. Water would then be poured over the hot stones to produce a high and almost intense heat. These early saunas were called “savusaunas” or, smoke saunas.
Like everything, saunas have evolved over the centuries. Most notably are the sauna heaters used to heat the modern-day sauna. In today’s saunas, there are primarily three different types of sauna heaters available. These are wood sauna heaters, gas sauna heaters and electric sauna heaters. The type you choose depends much on your background, budget, personal preferences and where your sauna will be located.
As mentioned in a previous post, electric sauna heaters make up the bulk of the sauna heaters purchased today. The convenience of flipping a switch and waiting only twenty or thirty minutes to enjoy your sauna session is a huge selling point. Many sauna heaters are also linked to programmable controls that allow the user to pre-set the time that they want the sauna heater to come on, thus, even eliminating even the short wait for the sauna to heat-up. Also, in the age of home-automation, all one has to do is turn the unit on from his or her smart phone when leaving work, to arrive home to a hot and ready sauna session.
For the sauna purist, a wood-fired sauna stove may be the way to go. Many traditional sauna users consider the element of wood smoke to be part of their essential sauna experience. They are also ideal in areas where there is no electricity available. Wood sauna stoves work better in medium to large saunas, due to the amount of heat produced. The heat is also tougher to regulate, but the heat is very warm and well-suited for a sauna. They also have the option of a hot water tank, which is perfect for “off-the-grid” living. While electric sauna heaters are the cleanest and most convenient to use, wood sauna heaters would be considered the least convenient to use. Ashes must periodically be cleaned-out and then of course you must keep an ample supply of firewood on hand. Wood sauna stoves are great in cottages or cabins. They are also perfect for outdoor saunas, where you can heat-up then take a plunge in your favorite river, lake or even snow bank! Although they are the least convenient of the three types of sauna heaters, the process of using a saunas is all about slowing-down and enjoying. The good things in life like using your sauna should never be hurried.
Gas sauna stoves are the least-purchased type of sauna heater these days. For specific uses they are quite practical and make the most sense. These are primarily in commercial saunas, which run for many hours per day. When used in this scenario, the per hour operation cost is generally much less-expensive. If you are a homeowner who only operates your sauna two or three times per week, a gas sauna heater is not the best option for you. Their up-front cost, bulky size, shipping weight and increased installation cost makes them impractical for most residential types of installation. Gas sauna heaters are also better suited for medium to large-sized saunas. When installed in areas where they get a good workout, gas sauna heaters have the lowest operation cost and the quickest heat-up time. It simply takes a lot of running hours to overcome the high price tag which is generally $2,000.00 – $4,000.00. With freight costs (due to their size, weight and large stone capacity), installation costs due to the fact that the unit should be installed by a licensed, qualified HVAC technician, or a gas plumber who can install the gas lines and venting safely. Finally, if you have made the decision to purchase a gas sauna heater, currently, there are one or two manufacturers located in the United States.
While not mentioned in the three types of sauna heaters above, infrared emitters found in infrared saunas do have their place. Infrared saunas are generally less-expensive to purchase, are easy to assemble and plug-in to a 110 v electrical outlet. While you don’t experience the higher temperatures and steam found in a traditional sauna, infrared saunas do offer many of the positive end-results that are found with traditional sauna usage.
The diversity of sauna heaters is only rivaled by the way you choose to use your sauna. The length and frequency of your sauna sessions are up to you. Many like to alternate short sauna sessions with cool showers, while others prefer longer sessionsto really “sweat it out,” followed-up by a shower or even a cold plunge. Alternating the heat with cold helps to boost your immune system and is really good for your skin. The right sauna heater can make the type of sauna session you prefer more enjoyable, so you will use it often. Experts say the more you use your sauna, the better you’ll feel.
Some of the many benefits sauna heaters provide, include: increased blood circulation, stress relief, joints and muscle relaxation, soothing of pain in joints and muscles, boosting the immune system, burning of calories, deeper and sounder sleep, flushing out toxins through the process of sweating and, of course, the social and recreational benefits.
Conclusion on choosing Sauna Heaters
No matter which type of sauna heater you use, saunas give you a place to retreat from the anxiety and stress that most of us experience each day. Let the sauna be a sanctuary where you can meditate and reflect on your day. This not only detoxifies your body, but it also detoxifies your mind. Most experts will tell you that you can either handle your stress or it will handle you. The reward of handling your stress is having a happier and longer life. How many personal items can boast this many benefits? With the right sauna routine, you are well on your way to finding the peace and happiness you seek. It’ll also result in a pat on the back from your doctor!
Let The Sauna Place assist you in finding the right sauna heater for you! We would be happy to answer any of your questions so you can be on your well to well living! Call us at: 877-525-3504