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Does the sauna changing room need a new name?

light steam graphic

As we know, sauna is more than a hot room.  The hot room is where we have our sauna stove and benches, where we enjoy heating up, tossing water on the sauna rocks to create steam, ahhhhhhh (loyly), and as we sweat it out on the bench and consider when to exit (when a cold plunge is about the best idea we’ve ever heard).

So, we leave the hot room to ideally jump into a cold lake or hit an outdoor shower enjoying the clean rinse.  Then what?  Brrrr.. the wind is cold but our body is warm!  We are conscious sauna bathers.  We listen to our core, not our skin.  We want to equalize and feel that endorphin rush.  We want to enjoy our cool downs, where do we go now?

The changing room

In winter, the changing room is where we can seek shelter from the cold, stretch out our sauna rounds, chat with others enjoying sauna, or simply reconnect with oneself.  One need not seek a waiver from the President of the International Sauna Society to enjoy music as part of our sauna sessions.  The best changing rooms are spaces for us to hang out, sip a cool drink, play a game of cribbage, or just Sauna Talk.

What about our clothes, isn’t it a changing room?

Yes, a changing room is a changing room.  Inside our sauna building, we have hooks to hang our clothes in our changing rooms.  We have benches to sit.  We may have Troxers and towels lying on the floor.  Sauna guests have hopefully tucked our shoes underneath the benches.  Our changing rooms need this function.

But our changing rooms are so much more.

The sauna vibe is enhanced with a kick ass changing room.  A sauna in our basement or at a health club does not have this vibe, but we can create this vibe when we build our saunas.  Our changing rooms are awesome places to enjoy the completeness of our sauna sessions.

Maybe our changing room needs a new name.

Dave Olson’s changing room
Jouko (left) and Risto chilling out between Sauna Talk podcast

6’x8′ changing room. 2’x6′ cedar bench. Upper shelf for storage. 2 28″x36″ double hung windows for plenty of crosslight and open feel.
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3 Comments

3 thoughts on “Does the sauna changing room need a new name?”

  1. Hey Glenn-I just finished reading the book, and have lots to think about as I plan for my future backyard sauna build. I was originally planning on an electric heater but you’ve fully swung me to the wood burning advantages.

    With that being said, I’m still struggling with the necessity of a changing room, specifically for where I live on the Central Coast of CA. Our wintertime lows never get below 30 F, and typically are in the 40’s during winter. In my mind, your 8’x12′ sauna build from the book cut in half with hot room only, and then a covered porch off the sauna for keeping clothes dry on a rainy/foggy night with an outdoor table for cool-downs would be more than adequate.

    Do you still think a changing room is necessary for temperate climates like mine? Hoping to build this sauna out in the next year or so. Thanks!

  2. Hi Mitchell.

    I’d bring changing room into the mix if you get consistent temps below freezing and or get bugs where you are.

    Otherwise a hot room only and a generous overhang can create a really nice chill out zone. Where the magic happens

  3. Because I live in Alabama, the Buckle of the Bible Belt, private changing spaces will be located with the showers.

    There will be an outdoor bench to sit on and a fire pit with chairs. But I will also build a “relaxation lounge” attached to the sauna hot room.

    I want guests to relax between sauna rounds away from the insects. Hydrate with cucumber water. Enjoy music. Socialize. Ergo, a “lounge.”

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