The History and the benefits of the Sauna.
And our New Glulam Cabin Sauna Range!
The word sauna is an ancient Finnish word referring to the traditional Finnish bath and to the bathhouse itself.
Although finish style sauna may be one of most popular nowadays there are some variations that might come from other countries and other cultures or technological advancement.
Heat treatment as a form of relaxation, meditation or even therapeutic, were practiced all over the world for many centuries.
In all of history, in virtually every culture in the world, the wealthy did not consider their houses complete unless they were equipped with a body heating facility in some cultures the hose couldn’t be a home if it didn’t have sauna.
Since the dawn of ancient civilizations therapeutic heat applications can be found in scripts. Records of using heat for tumors and lesions date back 5000 years in Egyptian papyruses.
In Indian scripts dating as far as 568BC perspiration before bathing is considered very important. The Indians used heated substances like sand or cow manure to cover sore in order to raise the temperature of an affected part of the body. They also used stem produced by dropping hot piece of iron or stone into a pan of water placed underneath the sickbed.
Thanks to Herodotus and other ancient historians we have pretty good understanding on how hot and cold with or without steam bath houses were used in ancient Greece and Rome.
In these cultures baths we used for therapy, cleansing and rejuvenation as well as for pleasure.
Communal baths also was a social centre of the village or town and in time evolved in to places where all the social and recreational needs were met.
In ancient Greece and Rome, as with many other cultures, a ritual was made of massages and oil rubs after the sauna.
Turkish hamman was somewhat similar to roman baths and played a big role in social life. Turkish baths are wet saunas where temperatures are relatively low but the air is very humid and filled with steam or water vapour.
In central and north America native people also had their traditional saunas. Native Mexicans used to build temescals from wood and mortar. Temescal is was a low building a dry bath heated with fire where naked people would stand and perspire. To finish bathing they would pour water on themselves.
Northern American natives used to build sweat lodges in various designs but the common feature was the heat source. They used to heat up large stones in the fire outside the lodge and then bring them in and place into a hollow in the dirt floor in the middle of the lodge. The sweat lodge was a place of purification, not only of the physical body, but of the spiritual and emotional bodies as well. Outer cleanliness represented inner peace and mastery of one’s mental and emotional energies.
Not much known about Japanese saunas’ history but from the data dating back to 19th century it is known people there were using chambers somewhat similar to small kilns where one had to crawl to get inside. To the Japanese, relaxation has been an important part of remaining healthy, the therapeutic effects on the body of their heating chamber intertwined with emotional and spiritual aspects. The therapeutic value of this kiln bath was believed greater than taking hundreds of different medicines.
In some cultures, dry body heating and bathing in pools of water evolved into steam baths.
Russian Sauna known as banya is similar to Turkish sauna – wet sauna where air can be even more humid and steamed with vapour.
In Russian Banyas it is common to use sticks or branches to slap the body and bring better blood circulation in the surface of the skin. After spending some time in a sauna one would go and immerse in to an ice cold water to cool down.
Nowadays the most popular type of traditional saunas all around the world is Finish sauna. Originating in Finland, the ancient Lapps or Sámi people used a form of Sauna as a place to meditate as well as a means of cleaning the pores of the skin and relaxing the tired muscles. The cleansing process was facilitated by the additional use of birch branches with leaves which were gently slapped onto the body causing the pores to open. This same practice continues today in Finland, Scandinavia and Baltic region as the practice was picked up by the Nordic peoples during the Viking age.
Therapeutic benefits of sauna include aid to adaptation, reduction of stress hormones, lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular conditions were documented and scientifically proved. The mental benefits of bathing in a sauna are reported by many users. The warm and quiet environment stimulates circulation and the release of endorphins in the brain, creating a sense of peaceful relaxation and well-being.
Saunas have been used for ages in Northern Europe as a form of relaxation, meditation and physical cleansing. In modern times the health benefits of the sauna are known around the world. However unlike during traditional Finish bathing ritual rather than jumping into an ice cold lake after the sauna, plunge pool or cold shower is advised to gently cool and cleanse the skin while closing the skin pores.
The endorphin release aids the relaxation of tired and overworked muscles. As the body temperature rises, blood vessels dilate resulting in increased circulation which is thought to aid muscle repair. This has the effect of soothing aches and pains acquired from exercise, making use of the sauna perfect for after sports recovery and the breakdown of lactic acid.
Some believe that while sweating in sauna detoxification of some heavy metals occurs. After having or even while having a sauna it is very important to replace water and salts that your body has lost therefore drinking mineral water is a good idea.
Experiencing fatigue after sauna is very natural. This relaxed state of calm and tranquility facilitates a deep and rejuvenating sleep which has many health benefits of its own.
It helps to deal with anxiety or stress related sleep loss. Sauna may be a way to naturally encourage the relaxation required for you to get a good night’s rest.
Saunas can be classified by heat source to electrically heated saunas and wood burning sauna; by air humidity – dry sauna and steam sauna.
Smoke sauna is a type of very old traditional Scandinavian style sauna where stones are heated with fire inside the sauna building. The stove does not have a chimney so the smoke enters the room. After few hours when the flame is out the room is ventilated, and the sauna is ready to be used. This type of sauna is rare but still built in Baltic region for its authenticity.
Besides traditional types of saunas there are infrared saunas. Unlike dry or wet saunas this type pf sauna does not involve heating the air instead it uses far infrared energy spectrum range radiation. Far infrared rays from infrared heaters has thermal effect on surface of the body. Infrared heaters produce body heating and sweating at a much lower air temperature than Finnish saunas. So for many people it’s much more comfortable to sit in an infrared sauna.
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