A Sauna is a small room or house designed as a place to experience dry or wet heat sessions, or an establishment with one or more of these and auxiliary facilities. The steam and high heat make the bathers perspire. Saunas can be divided into two basic styles: conventional saunas that warm the air or infrared saunas that warm objects. Infrared saunas may use various materials in their heating area such as charcoal, active carbon fibers, and other materials.
Under many circumstances, temperatures approaching and exceeding 100 °C (212 °F) would be completely intolerable. Saunas overcome this problem by controlling the humidity. The hottest Finnish saunas have relatively low humidity levels in which steam is generated by pouring water on the hot stones. This allows air temperatures that could boil water to be tolerated and even enjoyed for longer periods of time. Steam baths, such as the Turkish bath, where the humidity approaches 100%, will be set to a much lower temperature of around 40 °C (104 °F) to compensate. The "wet heat" would cause scalding if the temperature were set much higher.
In a typical Finnish sauna, the temperature of the air, the room and the benches is above the dew point even when water is thrown on the hot stones and vaporized. Thus, they remain dry. In contrast, the sauna bathers are at about 38 °C (100 °F), which is below the dew point, so that water is condensed on the bathers' skin. This process releases heat and makes the steam feel hot.
Finer control over the temperature experienced can be achieved by choosing a higher level bench for those wishing a hotter experience or a lower level bench for a more moderate temperature. A good sauna has a relatively small temperature gradient between the various seating levels. Doors need to be kept closed and used quickly to maintain the temperature inside.
Health benefits of sauna bathing
- Saunas relieve stress.
- Saunas flush toxins.
- Sauna cleanses the skin.
- Saunas can induce a deeper sleep.
- Saunas bring about recreational and social benefits.
- Saunas improve cardiovascular performance.
- Saunas burn calories.
- Saunas can help fight illness.