What is a Snow Sauna, and Why Would Anyone Want One?

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Saunas aren't just heating up — they're cooling down.

TechnoAlpin, a global company that specializes in snow-making systems, offers a rather unique product: "snow rooms." Like their hot sauna counterparts, these spaces are small, enclosed rooms with places to sit. The difference is that snow rooms are chilled to a frosty 14 degrees Fahrenheit (or cooler) and generate real snow 365 days a year.

Why would people want a room filled with snow, you ask? TechnoAlpin positions the snow room, called areasana, as the ideal counterpart to the sauna — after a session in the heat, the snow room offers a way to cool down. Fittingly, the philosophy behind the snow room stems from Finland, home of the sauna tradition. There, Finnish sauna bathers take a break from intense sauna heat by rolling in the snow or even taking a dip in icy waters before returning to the sauna.

In addition, the makers of areasana say time in the snow sauna offers a host of health benefits. When outside in winter, for example, the body releases energy to keep warm. While in a snow room, the cold temperatures work similarly to increase energy output, which can boost metabolism and activate the body cells to burn fat. (Cold temperature treatments are increasingly popular in the health and wellness field, including "cryochambers," which claim to burn up to 800 calories in a 3-minute session… at -256 degrees Fahrenheit.) The cold, yet dry air of the snow room also promotes respiratory health, improved blood circulation and alleviates sore, inflamed muscles, the company says. Nothing like a breath of cold, fresh air!

Interest and curiosity in snow saunas has grown over the last year thanks to Norwegian Cruise Lines, which included a large snow sauna on its newest ship, the Norwegian Escape.

"It's very good for aches and pains," said Courtney Neumann, the spa manager on the Norwegian Escape, in an interview with USA Today. "The idea is to go from hot to cold, which makes your blood vessels constrict and dilate, which is extremely good for your immune system and blood circulation."

So next time you're stuck shoveling the walk, shivering in your snow boots, just think of it as a spa treatment.

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