Sauna bathing was introduced into Europe from the cold North. The word “sauna“ is Finnish and means “sweat hut“. It is quite comprehensible that after weeks and months of darkness and cold weather it becomes a very enjoyable experience to sit in a very hot sauna cabin and feel the warmth enter the body, activate the sweat glands, flush out toxins from the skin, and finally face the uninhabitable, frosty outside naked, laughing at the frost and even jump into a hole in the ice of the nearby lake or river to get rid of the over excess of heat in the body.
In fact, sauna bathing leads to an artificial fever of up to more than 38 degrees, which is one way how sauna bathing can improve your health.
Maybe even more importantly, sauna bathing, especially during the wintertime, is so much fun that it can be labelled outright addictive and few who ever did it the right way never wanted to repeat the experience.
We will explore the medical aspects of this Northern treat in the following article, and also describe how to build a sauna from a home sauna kit that you can choose from our portfolio.
Actually, sauna bathing was originally always outdoor sauna. This applies to its roots in Northern Asia and Russia as well as to how it is done in Finland. This probably has practical reasons as saunaing is always connected with a lot of heat, water and damp, which was kind of impractical inside the main house and the vicinity to cold water to cool off afterwards, as well as the contact to nature might have played roles for that.
In modern times, there is the trend to use summerhouses, garden sheds and log cabins also in other ways than just for gardening and storing things. So log cabins with integrated saunas or even whole garden spas are quite successful in the market for garden buildings now.
Our outdoor sauna cabins are almost exclusively build from extra thick high quality northern spruce with 70mm wall thickness. Sturdiness, resistance to water and damp as well as an excellent insulation that comes with the natural thermal insulating wood. 70mm of timber will have an insulating value similar to a 40cm thick brick wall.
And of course – as with all our garden buildings – they come with a five-year warranty, which shows you that the concept works perfectly well.
There are a number of clinically proven benefits of sauna bathing, like a reduction of the risk of heart-failures or a stimulation of components of the immune system.
But let´s start from the beginning: What happens to your body during a sauna bath? The rise of the core body temperature is of course, triggered by the heat in the cabin which also heats up the skin by around ten degrees. You begin to sweat heavily. The arterioles that supply your skin with oxygen and nutrients widen up, the heart rate accelerates. These processes already explain three medical effects: Detoxification, as toxins are washed out with the sweat, better circulation of the skin, organs and the periphery, and training of the cardiovascular system.
Especially together with the sudden cooling down after each sauna session the arteries and arterioles are constricted again. So after some sessions in the garden sauna you will have trained your cardiovascular system much like in a gym for arteries and arterioles which are all equipped with muscles to regulate their width.
In addition to the proven improvement in cardiovascular fitness an effect on the immune system has been proven: Activities of scavenger cells get enhanced by sauna bathing and immunoglobulin A-levels rise.
These components of the unspecific immune defence system form a kind of exterior wall in the castle of your body defence. They reside in a well circulated skin with its protective acid mantle and in secretions of the nose, bronchial tubes, and lung which also get triggered by sauna, for example by infusions of herbs with etheric oils.
Logically, another effect that is clinically proven is that regular sauna bathers catch colds much less often than others, and if they do, the infections will not last as long as in people with “untrained” defence mechanisms. These preventative effects may also be connected to the artificial fever triggered by the sauna bath, while acute fever or flues are rather a contraindication to the walk into the outdoor sauna cabin, as is a very high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, and multiple sclerosis.
Healing effects of sauna bathing are regularly observed in persons with rheumatism, problems with the skin, like psoriasis, chronic pain and moderate hypertension.
Actually using an outdoor sauna cabin correctly, so that it really benefits your body and mind, does astonishingly need a kind of “how to”-manual, but if you do it right, you will be able to gain an experience which is not only healthy but at the same time wonderfully relaxing from the skin to deep inside. So here it is:
Supposed you are fit – you might have tested yourself in a public sauna or consulted the doc before your decision to purchase a home sauna – you would go for as much heat as you can bear during the hot phases and as much cold as is available for the cooling off. So 70 to 90 degrees of dry heat inside the sauna cabin would be a good start, and if you manage to stay in there for 10 to15 minutes, you are good. Be careful with infusions, for the hot damp may also cause burns. Wet air makes us feel the heat much better than dry air does. You might take a seat on a lower level if you decide to finish your session with an infusion.
The cooling off can be done smoothly by pouring cold water over the extremities first and the trunk after that. We would not recommend using preheated or warmed up water, even not during the wintertime. The colder the water the better. A cold shower might be ok, if the shower head releases enough water, but the best is certainly to dip the body completely into the cold water.
If you don’t have access to an outside river, lake or pool where you might have to remove the ice from the surface for your sauna session, you could always purchase a large wooden bathtub for it. In this case just please shower off the sweat with some cold shower before the dive to keep the water in the tub clean for the next sessions or for other users.
The third stage is a real meditative one. You will wrap yourself in some warm blankets and sit outside, maybe on the veranda of your outdoor sauna cabin if you have the luxury of owning a model with a covered veranda, on a comfortable deckchair and listen into your body. We recommend no distractions like TV, music, or conversations. Just listen into yourself, how your cooled off skin feels, how your core gets more calm, how everything, including your inner organs and brain are well circulated and functioning, and relax.
There sure is an addictive thing to this, but it does no harm but only good, so what?
You may decide to go on with a second session and after that even with a third one.
The traditional sauna is an outdoor sauna cabin, but nowadays also indoor solutions are offered. If you have the space indoors, you should take into account that saunaing is always connected with water splashing, damp and heat. So the room for the sauna should be equipped as a regular wet room and very well ventilated.
If you like fresh air during your relaxation sittings better than the heated air inside the main house, if you like the view into your garden better than that onto the furniture or into the TV is entirely up to you. In an outdoor sauna cabin you might even take the occasional chance to try to explore how it feels to roll through the snow after the heating phase. But take care: it might hurt a bit!
After all, a wooden outdoor sauna cabin is probably more something for those who can feel the healing powers of nature and love being outdoors and utilizing the garden as an additional living space even during the wintertime, and building a home sauna in a log cabin in the garden is just one perfect way to do right that.
Is it the circulation, the cardiovascular training, the detoxification, the perfect skin afterwards, the meditative relaxation phases in the nature of your private garden or just having loads of heat in the middle of the coldest season?
It’s probably the sum of all of these that not only give you the benefits on health but also a mental refreshment that makes the investment into an outdoor home sauna cabin worthwhile.
Please check out our portfolio of garden sauna cabins and enjoy a 10% discount on all garden buildings if you order until January 10, 2017.
For any questions, please contact us or call Oliver at 020 3807 0369!