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Build Your Own Residential Sauna - The Top 3 Considerations

Aug 17, 2007
There is no question that regular use of a sauna is enjoyable, relaxing and one of the best things you can do for your health. There is also no question that going to the gym or health club to have access to a sauna can be expensive and a huge nusiance. The solution may be to have your own residential sauna at home. The convenience is obvious but what is not so obvious is the fact that in the long run you may save money by eliminating the cost of a gym membership and gas, not to mention the wasted commute time. Before you dive into a project like building a home sauna there are a few things you need to consider.

- The location of your sauna is very important.
- How much of the work do your want to do?
- What type of sauna is right for you?

Your sauna can be inside or outside. The classic sauna is outside. This may add the option of jumping in a lake or pool as part what will become your sauna ritual. In more northern regions a roll in the snow can be an unforgettable experience. A down side of being outside can be a lack of easy access to running water for rinsing off or electricity if you are using and electric heater.

Indoor saunas are convenient in all weather and take up less space than you might expect. If located near a bathroom access to water for rinsing off is easy. Wherever in the house you put your sauna think about the ease of running any plumbing and electricity to the site. Having an area for changing clothes and relaxing afterwards is a definite advantage.

There is a huge range of options available for residential saunas these days. If you are the do-it-yourself kind of person the basic components of a sauna (heater, and construction materials) are readily available. With a quick search of the Internet you will find several dealers ready to ship the materials right to your home.

If you don't have the skills or desire to devote the time required for a project like this all is not lost. There are portable and sectional saunas available. It can literally take just a few hours before you are comfortably sweating your way to better health. The beauty is that whether you buy custom components, a kit or a prebuilt unit, everything can be delivered to your doorstep within a few days time.

There are 2 basic types of saunas: Traditional and Infrared.

Traditional saunas are heated with either a wood burning, electric, or gas stove. These stoves heat the air, interior materials and you. The warm-up time can be anywhere from 15 minutes to almost an hour in some larger less efficient units. One advantage of the traditional sauna is the option of adding steam to the mix. When water is poured on the hot rocks of the stove you are immersed in a cloud of heated water vapor. For many sauna enthusiasts this is the heart and soul of the sauna experience.

Infrared saunas create heat differently than traditional stoves. They use Infrared waves to heat your body. This is similar to the way microwaves heat food but Infrared waves are less intense and not the safety concern that microwaves would be. The air in an Infrared sauna is not heated and most of the interior stays relatively cool when compared to the traditional saunas interior. Water is very efficiently heated with Infrared waves. That is why you (we are all basically big water balloons) get heated and the less moist materials around you, like the air, bench and walls stay cooler. It is pretty well established that Infrared heat penetrates deeper into the skin than the radiant heat of a traditional sauna. With this method of heating, warm-up time prior to taking a sauna is virtually eliminated.

The biggest downfall of Infrared saunas is that they are dry. There is no option of producing steam to make it a "wet sauna" since there are no hot rocks.

For hundreds of years many cultures have appreciated the way that regular sauna use made them feel better. Modern scientific study has confirmed what they instinctively knew by identifying exactly why saunas are so healthy for you. When asked which diet or exercise plan is best, some doctors respond "whichever one you will actually follow". Getting the health benefits of a sauna fall in the same mold: it only helps if you actually take part. Having your own home sauna makes it much more likely that you will take part.

With a little Internet research you will find that there are options to fit any situation and budget. Having a sauna at home will improve your health, increase the value of your home and give you a sanctuary to forget the hustle and bustle of "the real world" for a while. So get one for yourself and go have a good sweat.
About the Author
Mike Hirn is a longtime sauna enthusiast. His website supplies a wealth of information about the construction, use and health benefits of home saunas.
www.the-home-sauna-center.com
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