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The word sauna is a Finnish word that means bathhouse.  It is actually a small room designed to hold heat, wet or dry.  Sauna’s usually reach temperatures upwards of 170 degrees.   Individuals in these high temperature conditions are prone to sweat and often saunas are used for cleansing and purifying.  Additionally people enjoy saunas for relaxation.  After a rough day at the office or an intense work out, sitting in a sauna will help to relax your muscles and calm your nerves.  Because they are so beneficial people have begun building home sauna’s.  Often times these are just small rooms within the home dedicated to heat and relaxation but they can also stand apart from the house as their own smaller building. 

The first home sauna’s were actual pits that were used for warmth in the winter.  In the pits were fire places that heated stones to high temperatures.  Water was thrown over hot stones to produce steam and to create increased heat that was enclosed in the covered pit.  Another type of early sauna was created in a similar fashion, using stones to provide heat.  However for this method large stones were heated and placed inside an enclosed room, creating large amounts of heat by themselves.  The last ancient method of sauna use was created by burning large amounts of wood for hours on end in a closed pit.  When the fire burned itself out people would enter the enclosed room, which was still exceptionally hot from the blaze.   All of these types of saunas are still used, with moderation, around the world. 

During the industrial revolution the first home sauna using a steel woodstove was created.  With this type of sauna individuals could sit back and relax as the stove burned wood for hours on end.  Often times these types of saunas reach between 160-180 degrees.  Another benefit of these types of saunas is that a chimney attached to the stove allowed all the smoke created by the oven to be transported outside.  This way users aren’t bombarded with smoke and can just enjoy the relaxing heat.  Other variations of this sauna  heat rocks in the oven instead of wood and have a water pot above the stove.  This creates a wet heat atmosphere and acts as a large humidifier.  Wet saunas are better for cleansing and the wet heat is easier to breath in and more comfortable. 

The concept of saunas soon traveled world wide and many variations of home sauna’s were created all over the world. From Europe to Asia and even the Americas saunas became extremely popular and were in great demand.  In addition to in homes sauna’s began to be incorporated into gyms and private pools as a way for individuals to relax after an intense work out.  For public sauna’s users are required to wear swimwear or other clothing while relaxing, while at home sauna’s it is popular to relax in the nude. 

One common question about sauna’s is regarding their temperature.  Under usual circumstances temperatures over 100 degrees would be intolerable and harmful.  Yet home sauna’s often reach upwards of 170 degrees.  This can be done because sauna’s control humidity.  Low amounts of humidity make heat tolerable and safe because there isn’t enough water particles in the air to damage the body or sear it.  In humid saunas often the temperature stays around 90-100 degrees so that there is no damage or harm caused.  However, wet saunas and dry saunas often feel the same, temperature wise even though there is a large difference in actual temperature.   This is due in large part to water molecules in the air.  In humid saunas the water in the air makes a large difference in the temperature, so while the room may only be at 100 degrees the water itself may be at a higher temperature. 

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