5 Unusual Places for a SaunaFebruary 1, 2019
-Words by Rosalina Leonardo-
A sauna or sudatory is a small room or facility designed as a place for people to experience dry or wet heat sessions. The steam and high heat make the bathers perspire. Sweating has long been used as a therapy. According to Harvard Health Publications, the Mayans used sweat houses 3,000 years ago. A sauna can help people to unwind and relax. Apart from relaxation, saunas also have other medical benefits. The most common being related to cardiovascular health.
A sauna has a temperature between 60° to 100° Celsius (158° to 212° Fahrenheit.) Traditional Finnish saunas usually use dry heat, with a humidity that is around 10-20%. In other sauna types, the moisture is higher. Turkish-style saunas, for example, involve a greater level of humidity. A sauna use can raise the skin temperature to roughly 40° Celsius (104° Fahrenheit.) As the skin temperature rises, heavy sweating occurs. The heart rate rises as the body attempts to keep cool. It is possible to lose a pint of sweat while spending a short time in a sauna.
A room thermometer is used to measure the temperature inside the sauna
There are different types of sauna, based on how the room is heated:
- Wood burning or traditional Finnish sauna
The wood is used to heat the sauna by burning it in the stove. The ideal temperature is reached by controlling the amount of fire in the stove. For traditional Finnish sauna, it’s 65.5 ° Celsius. Throwing some water on the heated rocks controls humidity in the sauna. Wood-burning saunas are usually low in humidity and high in temperature.
- Smoke sauna
Smoke sauna, “savusauna” in Finnish, has a big wood-burning stove, but doesn’t have a chimney. This kind of sauna is quite rare nowadays and it has to be heated up for many hours by burning a lot of wood to heat the massive rocks. After heating and ventilating the room, the sauna is ready for the genuine sauna experience.
- Electrically heated sauna
An electrical heater, attached to the floor, heats the sauna room. Electrically-heated saunas are similar to wood-burning saunas because they, too, have high temperatures and low humidity.
- Infrared or heat-therapy room
Far-infrared saunas (FIRS) are not like wood-burning and electrically-heated saunas. Infrared lamps use light waves to heat a person's body, not the entire room. Temperatures are typically lower than other saunas, but the person sweats in a similar way. Usually, infrared saunas are about 60° Celsius.
- Steam room
Steam rooms are different from saunas. Instead of dry heat, a steam room involves high humidity and moist heat.
A traditional Finnish sauna room
Regardless of the type of sauna, the effects on the body are similar. While in the sauna, the person’s heart rate increases and his or her blood vessels widen. Thus, blood circulation increases; similar to low or moderate exercise, depending on the duration of sauna use. The heart rate may also increase to 100-150 beats per minute.
These effects may bring forth the following health benefits:
- Pain relief
Increased circulation may help reduce muscle soreness, improve joint movement, and ease arthritis pain.
- Reduced stress levels
As the heat in a sauna improves circulation, it may also promote relaxation. A more relaxed state generally promotes positive sense of well-being.
- Relief for skin problems
A dry sauna dries the skin during use. Some people with psoriasis may find that their symptoms reduce while using a sauna. For those with atopic dermatitis, there have been opposing opinions as to the effectivity of saunas and steam rooms but theoretically, moisture from steam may be good for dry, itchy skin.
- Remedy for asthma
A sauna may help open airways, loosen phlegm, and reduce stress for people suffering from asthma.
After you have enjoyed your sauna bath, you are not always afforded the luxury of time to linger. Sometimes, you must get back on your smartphone or tablet right away. If this happens to you a lot, a waterproof protective case can come in handy, allowing you to use your gadgets even as you come out of the shower, sauna or steam room, dripping wet. Catalyst Waterproof Case offers protection for the 9.7 inch iPad, the iPad Mini 4, and other Apple gadgets.
Catalyst Waterproof Case for 9.7 inch Apple iPad
The sauna is a luxury in most countries, but in its native Finland, it is an integral part of the culture and national identity. This is why in the list we are about to give you, 3 out of 5 can be found in Finland.
So, here are the five most unusual, most unexpected places where you can take a sauna bath:
- The Submarine Sauna in Sweden
Nordic Marine Living AB and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm have come up with a unique sauna experience: the Nordic Submarine Sauna. The ingenious invention has a floating platform with a hut on top, and a sauna capsule below. Floating saunas are already a common sight on the lakes of Scandinavia but the Swedish masterminds have crossbred the concept with that of a glass-bottomed boat which allows guests to bathe in steam whilst watching the fishes glide by. Power flood lights illuminate the depths allowing a most dreamlike sauna experience.
- The Sauna Tram in Italy
Created by public transport designers QC Termemilano, it has all the features of the original carriage that zip along the streets of Milan. But this real tram is no longer in operation and sits in one place, on its own pair of rails, in a spa complex in Northern Italy. Now, it has a more wooden interior where it is a bit hotter and a bit stuffier, where ‘commuters’ can strip down and get sweaty. It comes complete with hot coals and benches, as well as the Carelli tram’s trademark pitched roof and open window views of its surroundings. It’s an interesting way to make use of a redundant carriage.
- The Sauna Ski Lift in Finland
A specially adapted sauna gondola ski lift has been created in Ylläs 1 Gondola allowing customers to sweat their way up the slopes. The one and only sauna gondola ski lift in the world gives you a breathtaking experience. The cost of this unique sauna experience is fixed at 1350 Euros. The duration of the entire experience is approximately two hours and is designed for a group of 9-12 people. The Sauna Gondola starts from the top of Ylläs and takes people in a 20-minute tour in a unique and special sauna gondola lift. The Sauna Gondola can take 3-4 people at a time. The remainder of the group can stay up the top of the mountain enjoying other facilities like another sauna, showers, a fireplace and an outside jacuzzi; which are all included in the price. Because of the popularity of this activity, the reservations for the Sauna Gondola should be made one week in advance, but you may take a chance to ask for this sauna on shorter notice.
- The Burger King Sauna in Finland
The sauna’s importance in Finland has led to the fast food chain opening its own sauna room. When ordering a meal at the central Helsinki branch of Burger King, you can also book a group sauna session along with it. Decorated in its red, white and blue colour scheme, Burger King offers to rent out their sauna room for business meetings, hang-out sessions, family bondings and other group activities. Whether they are hoping to sell more food as post-sauna snacks or to keep the bathers full and hydrated with their meals, this sauna is definitely far from the usual.
- The Ice Hockey Arena Sauna in Finland
It can be cold in an ice hockey arena, but you can stay nice and warm in the VIP box at Helsinki’s Hartwall Arena. Skybox 408 is one of the world’s most luxurious suites in a sports stadium. Guests in Skybox 408 can order drinks from the bar or food off of the menu. It can accommodate a maximum capacity of 72 people. The Skybox 408 also features within it a fully-enclosed, 20-person-capacity sauna where guests can strip down and watch the game while drenched in their own sweat. One-way glass protects their privacy, and it follows a one-sex-at-a-time policy, women first. However, this luxury doesn't come cheap (2,500 Euros for the night). The venue is popular for ice hockey games and concerts, and the sauna boxes are often used by large companies to impress their important clients.
There are millions of saunas in the world. And these saunas can be located in some weird and wonderful places. (The most unique ones, are mentioned above.) Below is a list of the runners up for strange sauna set ups:
- The Sauna Bus in Budapest
In January of 2015, a strangely shaped bus with steamy windows appeared in Budapest: the sauna bus of Valyo (a short name for “Város és Folyó Egyesület” which means “City and River Association”). It would park at various spots along the Danube river bank for a few weeks at a time. The mobile sauna service has since opened reservations and bookings via its online site (which is mostly in Hungarian).
Originally, the Steyr airport bus had earlier been used at Budapest’s airport. The chairperson of Valyo, Miklós Tömör, found it online by accident, saved the vehicle from the wrecker, and after three months of renovation by about 15 people, the regular bus was transformed into a mobile sauna.
It is recommended that you rent the bus with about 4 to 6 other people. The staff assists in everything you need before leaving you to yourself. You can adjust the temperature with the logs provided. Even when the windows steam up, you will still have a vague, panoramic view of the lamp-lit evening banks
- The Phone Booth Sauna in Finland
Finnish saunas come in different shapes and sizes. They have one with the shape and size of a phone box. This micro-sauna operated by the Mobile Sauna Society is made from a transparent phone booth that ensures that everyone passing by can see you having a sauna. It fits only one person at a time. You can transport this booth anywhere since it has wheels that will allow you to move it around easily, or you can transport it in the back of a truck.
If you are planning to travel to Finland to experience their unique sauna culture, Eastern Finland is a wonderful destination. The place offers beautiful summer cottages surrounded by countless spots where you can indulge in the Finnish national obsession for - not only saunas but also - sausages and swimming in lakes.
An outdoor cabin sauna
There are also nice spa hotels in the area that have large swimming pool departments with jacuzzis, children's pools, more saunas, steam rooms and spa treatments. In these travel adventures, your Catalyst Waterproof protective cases will prove to be worthy investments.