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Traditional Sauna: Are the Benefits Worth the Price?

If you’re looking at meaningful ways to upgrade your lifestyle, you’re probably weighing the pros and cons of purchasing a traditional sauna. Unfortunately, though many societies have enjoyed saunas worldwide for thousands of years, there’s not much official data published on their value and benefits.

When you talk to anyone who’s ever had a sauna session, you’re likely to hear all about how enjoyable and relaxing they can be. But purchasing your own sauna is a serious investment in a top-of-the-line product, so it’s important to understand if the purchase will be worthwhile for you personally.

As you learn more about the different types as well as the pros and cons of purchasing a sauna, consider your own situation and needs. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have a clear understanding of what your next step should be.

What Does a Sauna Do?

While different types of saunas use different heating methods and technologies, the overall goal is the same: providing the user with relaxation, a sense of calm, and a range of health benefits through heat therapy.

Depending on the area, you can find saunas in large buildings, caves, and even dug into hillsides and slopes around the world. Our saunas are essentially sealed rooms that, once installed, you can sit in while basking in relaxing heat.

There are a few key differences between the types of saunas we offer. Traditional saunas use high heat and steam together to heat you and the room, while infrared saunas heat you directly using 360-degree infrared heat technology.

Types of Saunas

Today, there are many different types of saunas available on the market. We’re focusing on the indoor traditional sauna in this article, but outdoor saunas are another popular option in certain environments. While all the various types serve the same overall purpose, the differences mean that no one option is the absolute best for every unique scenario.

But once you know the key differences between the most common types of saunas, it’ll be easy to decide which one is right for you.

Traditional Finnish Sauna Vs. Infrared Sauna

While it’s true that both traditional and infrared saunas offer very similar health benefits, how they operate is quite different.

Infrared saunas, unsurprisingly, use infrared heat to warm your core body temperature from the inside out. Humans aren’t able to see the spectrum infrared light is on, but we can absolutely feel and benefit from it.

During an infrared session, you’ll feel heat exactly where the light hits your body. This is why our infrared saunas have 360-degree light coverage. In a Finnish sauna, the air around you is heated and you feel it more evenly throughout your entire body.

Additionally, there’s no steam involved in any of the infrared options. They exclusively use dry heat and no humidity whatsoever. Some people enjoy this, while others can’t imagine a sauna session without steam.

With traditional Finnish saunas, you have your choice of heating elements. Some varieties give you the option to use steam or enjoy a dry session. You can stick with a traditional wood-burning stove, or upgrade to an electric heater. Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll still be able to enjoy a nice, steamy sauna.

Wood-Burning or Electric Heater?

Electric heaters are definitely the most popular choice for traditional Finnish saunas, but the reason may surprise you. It’s very common for local regulations to ban the use of wood-burning heaters in saunas.

Even if they’re legal in your area, you’ll also need enough space and time to acquire and store the wood. While many sauna experts agree that wood-burning heaters are superior, they just aren’t practical in many situations.

Experienced sauna-goers agree that a wood-burning heater provides a better sauna experience. The heat just feels smoother, for lack of a better descriptor. That’s not to say that electric heaters detract from a sauna experience, simply that wood-burning adds even more authenticity to the experience.

Luckily, if your situation allows for it, most saunas include customization options for your heater type. So even if you ultimately choose a barrel sauna, you’ll be able to pick whichever heat source is best for you.

Traditional Sauna Pros and Cons

When it comes to purchasing a traditional sauna, there is no single best option for each unique situation. You have to consider your individual lifestyle, location, budget, and desires.

That said, reviewing the pros and cons of a traditional sauna is one of the best ways to help you decide.. Compare the benefits and drawbacks to what you picture when you think about enjoying your own luxury sauna, and use that to guide your buying decision.

Health Benefits

For thousands of years, people have anecdotally reported the health benefits of regular sauna sessions. In the past few decades, official medical studies have been conducted to finally answer what the health benefits are. (1)

“Sauna bathing may be linked to several health benefits… [reduced risk of] high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and neurocognitive diseases… pulmonary diseases; mortality; as well as amelioration of conditions such as arthritis, headache, and flu.”
– Mayo Clinic

Simply put, recent studies have found that healthy people who add sauna sessions to their lifestyle often experience numerous physical and mental benefits.

Physically, the heat of a sauna increases your blood flow and relaxes tense muscles. After a stressful day or a grueling workout, there’s nothing better than sweating it out in a sauna. Whether you choose an electric or wood-burning heater, the heat helps relax and repair tense, sore, or damaged muscles.

Studies also show that sauna use can improve your heart’s overall health and reduce your risk of heart disease. When you sweat, certain toxins like mercury, cadmium, and arsenic are flushed from your body. These toxins are unaffected by eating well and staying hydrated, making saunas one of the only effective options.

Finally, the mental benefits of adding a traditional sauna to your routine are often understated. New research shows there may be a link between saunas and a reduced risk of neurocognitive disorders, like dementia and stroke-related complications.

But you’ll get a boost in your daily life, too. A sauna session is a common and effective way to relieve stress. Raising your internal body temperature in this way activates the release of endorphins, a feel-good chemical produced by the human brain. (2)

“Endorphins are released by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in response to pain or stress, this group of peptide hormones both relieves pain and creates a general feeling of well-being.”
Harvard Health Publishing

Combining the way saunas melt tension away with the bonus of an endorphin release is an easy way to boost your mental health any day of the week.

Maintenance

Many people are surprised to discover just how easy sauna maintenance can be, regardless of the style you ultimately purchase. However, before beginning any cleaning process, make sure your sauna is off and completely cool.

For debris along the floor, a small handheld vacuum will do the trick. Most interiors we offer are a variety of cedar or eucalyptus, renowned for being robust and low-maintenance.

When you wipe down the benches, use warm water and—if you feel the need to use a cleaner—a very mild, natural detergent diluted with water. You want to avoid using harsh chemical cleaners.

These tips apply to both infrared and traditional saunas. Every choice we offer is designed to be easy and affordable to maintain.

Warranty

We believe that every major purchase you make should include a warranty. That’s why at Divine Saunas, we only work with the most reputable brands. Every sauna you’ll find on our website is built to last for years and years.

Plus, many of our saunas include 5-year warranties. The cherry on top? You don’t have to worry about a huge hassle and headache if you need to use your warranty. Say goodbye to getting the run-around and products that start failing the day after the warranty expires.

A sauna is supposed to be a relaxing and rejuvenating addition to your life. We make sure the brands we partner with offer a warranty service that delivers with a smile.

World Class Support

No matter what kind of questions or needs you have, your purchase of a traditional sauna includes our enthusiastic support. We do this because our company’s foundational belief is, quite simply, that our customers deserve the best.

You’ll also have our help every step of the way. From choosing your perfect dream sauna to prepping for its arrival, you’ll know what to expect every step of the way. Our commitment to honesty, integrity, and quality means that your sauna selection process will be smooth sailing.

And we’re still here for you after you start enjoying your new sauna. We welcome any questions or comments about your sauna experience because we want you to be thrilled with your investment for years to come.

Heat-up Time

Whether you have an electric or wood-burning heater in your traditional sauna, it won’t heat up instantly. Depending on your specific configuration, it can take up to 30-60 minutes. Maintaining the temperature and keeping it steamy is relatively straightforward—it’s mostly a matter of remembering to warm it up in advance.

Infrared saunas heat up quite a bit faster due to their design, around 15-20 minutes. The tradeoff is that steam isn’t part of the infrared experience. If you’re seeking that true, steamy Finnish sauna, you’ll have to be patient during your heat-up time with a traditional sauna.

Also, consider your location when choosing your sauna. A wood-burning sauna will always work off-grid in a remote area without electricity.

Running Costs

The running costs for your sauna will greatly depend on the kind you choose to get. Infrared saunas tend to cost half as much to operate as a Finnish sauna. This is because infrared saunas are typically “plug-and-play,” as in you plug it in and can use it without an electrician’s installation.

Infrared technology is also extremely efficient, meaning it uses less energy than a sauna with an electric heater. And depending on your area, the firewood to feed your wood-burning sauna can get pricey.

That said, the average person will spend only a few dollars a week on running costs for their traditional sauna. Sessions should only be around 20 minutes long, so you use far less wood or electricity than you may initially expect.

Ready for a Sauna? Here’s How to Get Started

If you’ve read through the benefits of an indoor traditional sauna and the lifestyle sounds exactly like what you’re picturing, it’s time to shop indoor saunas. Ultimately, the perfect sauna for you is the one you can easily and consistently use.

Still not sure? No worries—we understand that shopping for a world-class product requires a lot of time and careful consideration. The Divina Saunas team wants you to love your purchase for years to come, and we’re dedicated to helping you make the best-informed decision possible.

Just use the menu above to find more information on whatever you need. Our product listings, resources, and blog are chock-full of everything you’d ever want to know about purchasing your new sauna.

References:

1. Mayo Clinic, Cardiovascular and Other Health Benefits of Sauna Bathing: A Review of the Evidence https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(18)30275-1/fulltext

2. Harvard Health Publishing, Endorphins: The Brain’s Natural Pain Reliever https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/endorphins-the-brains-natural-pain-reliever