Build Your Own Sauna – Grit | Rural American Know-How – Grit Magazine
These considerations will guide you in constructing a room where you can turn up the heat to flow off some steam.
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Sauna with wooden benches in suburban home
In Minnesota, where I live, the use of saunas is quite common, and it’s not unusual for people to have a sauna in their backyard or basement. Health clubs, fitness centers, and even hotels may list saunas in their marketing materials, touting their health and fitness benefits. The widespread use of saunas in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest can probably be traced back to the many Finnish immigrants who came to the area in the late 1800s to work in the lumber and mining industries. Taking a “sauna bath” was a tradition Finnish and Scandinavian settlers brought with them from their homelands, with the sauna’s origin going back about 2,000 years. At one time, the city of Duluth, Minnesota, had 12 public saunas available for a fee, and the Duluth Family Sauna – which is still in operation – has been available to the public since 1921.
Image Flickr/Timo Newton-Syms
Though I had used saunas in health clubs, my first true sauna experience was in a friend’s outdoor free-standing sauna on the shore of a Minnesota lake in December. After staying in the sauna for half an hour, we bolted across snow-covered ground and ran into the lake, which was not yet frozen for winter. The sensation – both exhilarating and frightening at the same time – is one that will stay with me for a lifetime. While you may not have a lake available to plunge into after a hot sauna, you can still experience the soothing, relaxing, and cleansing benefits of a sauna that you’ve built yourself.
Image Flickr/Ryan Merkley
According to the North American Sauna Society, the definition of sauna is “a specific room heated to about 150 to 195 (F) degrees, and where the temperature and humidity of the room can be controlled with sprinkling water on the rocks in the heater/stove.” The traditional Finnish sauna is a dry sauna with relative humidity in the 10 to 60 percent range, compared with a Turkish-style steam bath, which has 100 percent humidity. While all saunas share a similar construction form, the different types of saunas are defined by their heat …….