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I don’t work for a sauna company. The only bias I have is from my own 25 year experiences taking saunas. Consider for a moment the history of Finnish Saunas: smoke, wood burning, electric and infrared.
Dating back 2,000 plus years, savusaunas (smoke saunas), were crudely constructed huts where a fire burned and heated a fire pit with rocks, and smoke was allowed to escape through an opening in the roof, so no chimney. There’s great history of the origins of the Finnish Sauna, and the cultural traditions surrounding the smoke sauna. If you want to dive deep with smoke saunas, check The Finnish Sauna Society. A wonderful testament to the tradition of authentic Finnish saunas is that today there are many working smoke saunas in Finland. It’s not like those car collector shows, where people who are stuck in the 1950s trailer around their vintage cars with fuzzy dice and listen to Buddy Holly. Enjoying a smoke sauna is a rooted cultural tradition, and sauna enthusiasts enjoy this authentic experience as their ancestors did centuries ago.
Ya! A Sauna Stove
The second generation came when someone figured out how to contain the fire and smoke via a sauna stove, a separate heat chamber. Fire heats the stove and the rocks and thus the sauna room, and the smoke escapes via the chimney. This was a monumental step in the history of saunas as smoke saunas take all day to heat up and the smoke gets all over the place. Somewhat analogous to cavemen discovering the wheel. “Hey Sven, come to my sauna, you don’t have to wait until Tuesday!”
The next evolution in the history of saunas came with electricity and the invention of the electric sauna. Instead of a fire heating rocks, an electric sauna heat rocks via electric coils. With an urbanizing population, saunas weren’t just restricted to farms, rural cabins and lake cottages any more. The electric sauna stove opened the door for replicating the rural authentic Finnish sauna experience in urban apartments, hotels and health clubs. The merits or demerits of this evolution is surely a fun debate, but what the electric sauna stove has allowed is:
- no chimney: an ability to build a sauna in your existing house, after the fact.
- no freaked out insurance agent: some homeowner insurance policies poo poo the adding of wood fireplaces and or wood combustion burners.
- no lumberjack: I don’t know why but people get weird about cutting, chopping, stacking, storing, burning firewood.
- no confused health club employee: a turn key sauna with the turn of a switch.
New Age Infrared
The latest evolution of the sauna is the Infrared sauna. Infrared technology (heating air via an invisible band of light) allows one to basically just “plug in” the heater, where as an electric sauna stove requires 220v and thus direct wiring to fuse box/elecrical pannel. Infrared Saunas are smaller, convenient to purchase on line, ship to your house, and put together in your living room. The infrared stoves I am familiar with require only a standard 120v 20 amp outlet, which is like a plugging in a space heater – you probably don’t need an electrician. Getting more information on infrared saunas via the internet is a piece of cake, and I like the way this infrared sauna company is organized. They are exclusively focused on infrared saunas and seem to know their products well: a great place to start researching for more sauna information on infrared saunas. My personal Opinion:
Can you tell which type of sauna I most prefer?
|Infared sauna in your house||Electric sauna in your basement||Outdoor sauna in your backyard|
|Cooking a steak||in a microwave||in a toaster oven||on a Weber grill|
|Drinking a||Bud Lite||Killians||Sierra Nevada|
|Having a conversation||in the car||in the kitchen||on the lake cabin deck|