Adding a Sauna to Your Home
Saunas have been used for centuries as part of restorative traditions across many cultures. They are generally straightforward to build, and while they provide a respectable list of wellness benefits to regular users, they require very little maintenance. A sauna is also a reliable investment that will add value to your home or property. Both Infrared and Traditional Saunas will give you many benefits.
Benefits of a Sauna
In many civilizations, different traditions have developed where heated rooms are used for healing, spiritual renewal, childbirth, and rites of passage. Today, saunas are used as places to relax, socialize, and take care of one’s body. The heat provided by a sauna works to improve the condition of your body, especially your circulatory system, immune system, and the body’s natural detoxification process. For example, during a 15 - 30 minute sauna your heart rate will increase by 50% - 75%. This is a heart rate that is equivalent to that of a person during a brisk walk. Heating the body also has a small effect on blood pressure; blood vessels expand to accommodate the change in temperature and increased blood flow. This results in blood vessels becoming more flexible, which leads to increased circulation and normalized blood pressure. Blood flow to the skin also increases in this process, which brings more oxygen and nutrients to surface tissues. The heating of the body also induces sweating which uses the body’s detoxifying capacity to open pores in the skin and flush impurities out. The increase in body heat also stimulates the immune system response, increasing the production of disease fighting white blood cells and antibodies. Many sauna users report that their sauna provides them with: relief of cold, flu, and allergy symptoms; improved respiratory function; and a feeling of overall wellbeing.
Disclaimer: Saunas, either traditional or infrared are not medical devices. Any reported affects are anecdotal.*
Sauna Components and Maintenance
In Canada, saunas are generally made of red cedar. At Chinook, we use Western Red Cedar for all of our sauna projects. This is a slightly aromatic, durable wood that will not create a vapour or weep sap when heated. It ranges in colour from a milk chocolate through salmon pink and copper-gold. It truly is a beautiful wood. Using clear cedar on all of the benches ensures that there are no knots in the sauna which could overheat where someone may be trying to relax. We ensure that benches are sized and placed according to the users preferences for heat intensity, body position, and social ease. We light our saunas gently, to create a safe and softly lit room. Our hand-made cedar doors feature a tempered and bronzed glass window, allowing for some privacy while keeping the room feeling connected to the surrounding space.
Both electric and wood stoves can provide you with high sauna temperatures, providing the heater is properly selected for your sauna size. Wood stoves have a traditional feel and are great for lake-side saunas or at the cottage where running extra electrical isn’t ideal. Electrical stoves are less messy, and require smaller safety clearances than a wood stove, allowing for more efficient use of space inside the sauna.
Once installed, it will take very little to maintain your sauna. We recommend the use of towels on the benches to avoid staining, however benches can be cleaned using a mild vinegar solution or a commercial sauna cleaner. Both flooring options that we offer are removable for easy access to the surface under it for the occasional sweep or mop. Wood burning saunas will need access to a regular wood supply, and will require more frequent sweeping to remove bits of wood and bark from the floor than an electrical counterpart.
Regular sauna use is widely believed to improve overall health and longevity, as well as improve your mental health through reduced stress. Regardless of electrical versus wood burning sauna, there is something to be said for being warmed through in our Canadian winters. Using a sauna regularly is one of the ways to work a little warmth into your routine. Almost any space can be turned into a sauna – we can work with layouts as small as 4 feet by 5 feet for a sauna with two bench levels. We have accessories available to heighten your sauna experience, from traditional buckets and ladles to aromatherapy and body brushes, too. Let us know what you have in mind, and we’ll find a way to Warm Your World.