The Latest In Traditional And Infrared Saunas

photo of sauna

In this month’s product focus we take a small step away from pools and hot tubs and look at a different way to relax — saunas. There’s no question that the steamy heat one gets in a sauna provides an excellent de-stressor from a long day or a tough workout, but the notable health benefits are numerous as well.

Among these benefits is an increased heart rate, and while a half hour session in the sauna is not the equivalent to a grueling five-mile run it does offer the cardiac comparison to a brisk walk. During a sauna session the heart rate can increase by 50 percent or more.

Another benefit of saunas is the effect they have on blood vessels. The heat causes blood vessels to expand and therefore increase blood flow and blood vessel flexibility. This also increases blood circulation in the extremities, which would be extremely comforting for those with the typical "cold hands" problem.

Saunas are probably the oldest form of detox. Most toxins produced in the body (approximately 30 percent) have to pass through the skin, as the skin is the body’s largest organ. The sweat produced during a sauna session provides a better detoxification for this organ than any cleansing diet out there.

Along with a sweaty detox, the high heat of a sauna raises the body’s temperature creating a fever-like state. When you get sick, a fever is the body’s way of fighting off the disease. Bringing your body into this state without sickness helps prevent diseases like cold and flu with an increased white blood cell count.

Finally, a couple of sauna sessions a week can help fight those daily ailments that everybody has to deal with, such as fat buildup, arthritis pain, respiratory problems, muscle stiffness, and poor complexion, according to Saunafin, an online company specializing in factory direct sales of saunas and sauna products.

With all of these health benefits, and consumers’ demonstrated willingness to spend on health-related products, it may make sense to add a line of saunas as another option for your customers. Take a look at some of the 2012 products from sauna manufacturers around the nation.

Almost Heaven SaunasAlmost Heaven 355-3050

Almost Heaven Saunas has been manufacturing Cedar Barrel Saunas for nearly 40 years. The company is located in West Virginia, making it one of the few saunas manufactured in the U.S. Each sauna is handcrafted form the finest Western Canadian red cedar, and there are a variety of models and sizes to choose from, the company says. Each sauna comes with a lifetime warranty.

Clearlight Infrared SaunasClearlight Infrared 798-1779

Clearlight Infrared Saunas include patented carbon/ceramic True Wave heaters as standard in all models. Clearlight Saunas are the only saunas today designed by a medical professional, the company says. Clearlight offers the only true no EMF, high output infrared sauna on the market today, according to Clearlight. 346-6536

Finnleo announces the release of the new Low EMR/Low EF infrared saunas. Available in both an amenity-filled “B” series and a luxurious “S” series, featuring a glass front and touch-screen control. The new Low EMR/Low EF infrared saunas exceed the stringent Swedish Standards for safe levels of electromagnetic radiation and electrical fields, the company says.

Finlandia SaunaFinlandia 354-3342

Finlandia offers a wide range of affordable precut sauna packages, custom sauna packages and modular sauna rooms that can be included in any fitness center remodel or new construction, the company says. Finlandia has a selection of four all clear, western softwoods available that still use true one-inch-by-four-inch paneling, and the company offers electric sauna heaters imported direct from Finland.

Health Mate SaunaHealth Mate 946-6001

The Health Mate Sauna has the latest infrared technology along with LED light therapy, high quality Canadian Western Red Cedar and patented UL approved infrared heaters, the company says. Assembly is easy and the sauna provides many documented health benefits, according to Health Mate Sauna.

photo of Savu Sauna - nation's oldest sauna

Back To Life

Restoring the nation’s oldest sauna

The oldest sauna in North America, centerpiece of the Finnish Historical Park in Cokato, Minn., recently went through a major renovation thanks to financial support from Cokato-based sauna manufacturer TyloHelo (formerly Saunatec).

Built in 1868 by Isak Barba and the early Finnish settlers of this area of Minnesota, the sauna was heated in the oldest tradition of saunas: one corner had a large mound of rocks, within which was an opening for a chimney-less fire. Due to this heating method with no chimney to exhaust the smoke, the sauna was called a savu sauna, meaning "smoke sauna" (a moniker which no doubt presented itself to the savu sauna’s inventor fairly quickly). When the room was heated to the desired temperature, the fire was extinguished and vents were opened to allow the smoke to escape and to create a welcoming environment in which the settlers bathed.

Ten years after it was built, changes in the township required the sauna to be relocated to a more secluded location. The sauna stayed at that location until 1976 when it was donated to the Cokato Finnish-American Historical Society. Unfortunately, in this last move, the sauna was not set on a proper foundation, causing the bottom logs to rot and deteriorate.

With an interest in preserving sauna history and its importance in the community, TyloHelo donated money for restoration, which included hiring concrete foundation experts and log building restorers. Since the sauna had been constructed of white oak logs, it was important for authenticity to find logs of the approximate age and milling as the originals, some of which were found and rescued from an old grain mill.

To TyloHelo, the restoration was more than public service, according to Keith Raisanen, president. "The savu sauna reminds us of the rich history and cultural significance of saunas. To the Finnish settlers, the sauna was a place to commune. Today, many people still enjoy the social aspects as well as health benefits of sauna."

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