Traditional Steam Saunas
In a traditional steam sauna a fully heated environment is created by a heater that uses a rock mass and the use of water poured over the rocks to create steam. Traditional saunas take approximately 45 minutes to pre-heat the interior of the room for use. (Special heaters are available to reduce this wait time.) To use the room properly, the bather waits until the room has achieved an interior temperature of 150 - 195 degrees (maximum heat allowed is 195 degrees by U.S. law) and then will use the room for approximately 15 to 20 minutes to heat the body and induce a sweat. The bather will then come out of the room and cool off for 5 to 10 minutes, which completes one inning. Completion of two to three innings is the full practice of a traditional sauna but many people reap most of the benefits from one inning.. The bather has the ability to adjust the ambient temperature in the room by creating steam off the rocks. This will produce a moist heat that will result in a hotter feel to the body. The use of water also allows the user to do aromatherapy by using oils in the water.
Now that you know how a traditional sauna works, you will want to look for certain things before you purchase one. Most larger traditional saunas will take special wiring (a 220 line) to accommodate the heater. Smaller units can be plugged into a designated outlet. The best wood for a traditional sauna is Nordic White Spruce. This type of wood wards off odor and bacteria helping you keep you sauna cleaner. Your sauna heater is the most important part of your sauna. Things to look for in your heater are a good warranty, low energy consumption, ease of use, and a large amount of rocks used in the heater. Another important factor is how long has the company been manufacturing their saunas.
Infrared temps will be a max of 140 - 150 degrees with no ability to produce steam. A traditional sauna does allow for steam with dumping water on the exposed rocks located on the top tray of the electric or wood heater. Producing steam does give better respiratory benefits. Militaries worldwide prefer traditional sauna using almost no infrareds.
Custom traditional saunas are less expensive and easier to build mainly due to five to twelve infrared heater panels versus one sauna heater
Our traditional sauna rooms weigh in at approximately 1,000 pounds versus 200 to 400 pounds on the average infrared sauna.
Far infrared penetrates the body up to 1 1/2", mid infrared approximately 3/4" and near infrared up to 1/4". Infrared saunas with more than two or three bathers will have diluted and reduced rays. Traditional saunas heat the entire room and all bathers.
In an infrared sauna, the bather is being heated directly by the infrared heat source and the air temperature in the room is only a default of the infrared emitters. An infrared sauna takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes for the emitters to come up to temperature.(approximately 115 to 135 degrees F) When using the infrared, the bather waits until the infrared emitters in the room are running at full heating potential. The bather then sits next to the emitters in order to allow the body to be heated directly by the infrared radiant heat. The bather will use the room for 20 to 30 minutes in order to induce a deep sweat and once this is achieved the bather has completed the sauna practice. The bather can achieve a more direct effect of heat therapy to portions of the body based on how closely that portion of the body is exposed to the actual emitters.
The most important thing to look for when purchasing an infrared is the infrared emitters. You will want to get an infrared sauna that has the largest surface area of emitters. Carbon flex panels will provide the best wavelength for the body to absorb and will provide a softer heat, evenly dispersed. Finding an infrared sauna that has emitters in the leg area as well as the upper body will eliminate your legs from feeling cold. Added features that are nice to have are stereo’s and color light therapy. Most infrareds are 120 volt which allows for a no hassle install and they usually don’t require additional electrical wiring. Always check what kind of warranty comes with the unit and how easy is it to install. As always, the reputation of the company you are buying from is essential. Now that you know the difference between the traditional and infrared sauna, pick the one that best suits your needs. You are sure to reap the health benefits no matter which sauna you choose. The benefits awaiting you are, cleansing the body of toxins, restoring sore and tired muscles, relieving arthritic pain in joints, lowering blood pressure, increasing blood circulation to speed up the healing process, cleansing the body of dead skin cells and giving the skin a soft, beautiful appearance, increasing your resistance to illness, burning calories, getting a deeper and more restful sleep, and the added benefit of breathing in the steam in the traditional sauna helps relieve cold and sinus symptoms. Remember that the benefits of sauna therapy not only feel good but are good for you, and are a great investment for your health.
Traditional saunas and infrared saunas both promote health and wellness however, infrared therapy is not a traditional sauna.