Basic information to help you figure out the Sauna best for you.

Just the word “sauna" makes me go limp; never mind all the purported health benefits; the sauna experience is soooooooooo relaxing. That marvelous heat that makes your bones and muscles melt into a pile of fabulous, ready-for-a-nap mush is like nothing else.

The earliest saunas were basically holes in the ground; they have become much more sophisticated and a little more complicated since then. So where do you start on your personal quest for your perfect sauna? With everything on the market from “wellness pods" to sumptuous glass front saunas with mood-lights to an outdoor sauna with a metal roof it can be a hard to figure out the sauna that is best for you.

So here is some basic sauna information to help you out.

Before you even begin, figure out what your budget for your sauna will be; this will help you substantially narrow down your choices.

Then ask yourself the obvious questions:

Where is the sauna going? Do you plan to have it inside your house or in an outside location? How much room or space do you have to accommodate the sauna?

How much room do you have for a sauna and how are you envisioning using it? Is this going to be your get-away-from-it-all retreat, or will it be a family and friends hang-out?

Sauna Heat Sources

The heat is what's it's all about so you want to make sure you know all your options.

Option 1: Traditional saunas contain lava rocks which are heated by electricity. This creates convection heat; the air in the sauna warms your skin and causes you to sweat. The air in the sauna can heat up to 200 degrees, which can be a little harsh for your eyes and nose. A steam effect is created by dousing the rocks with water.

Here's a recap:

  • The heat is generated by an electrical device that warms rocks.
  • The sauna will run at an average of 160-200 degrees.
  • A traditional sauna will use more electricity than a far-infrared sauna.
  • Moisture can be added to the unit by sprinkling water over the hot rocks.
  • A traditional sauna takes about a half hour to heat up.
  • Traditional saunas are appropriate for indoor or outdoor use, depending on the unit.

Option 2: Radiant or Far-Infrared heat replaces the rock and water method. The Far-Infrared sauna will have carbon or ceramic panels mounted in various advantageous spots that emit heat as light waves. Infrared light waves are readily absorbed by your body, resulting in a rise in body temperature. If this sounds scary, keep this in mind; far-infrared heat is used to keep preemie babies warm. Also, far-infrared saunas operate at least 30 degrees cooler than traditional saunas but you sweat much more freely; it's a win-win.

Here's a recap:

  • Far-infrared saunas use radiant heat.
  • Radiant heat saunas operate at least 30 degrees cooler than traditional.
  • Far-infrared saunas heat up in approx. 10-15 minutes.
  • Far-infrared heat is gentler on the human body.
  • Far-infrared saunas are generally built for indoor use.

You also want to consider whether or not you're looking for something to plug in; a sauna will be designated 110 or 120V if it can be plugged into a common electrical outlet; otherwise you will need to have an electrician direct wire your unit.

What about the wood?

Saunas are constructed from a variety of soft woods; a soft wood is preferable because it absorbs steam heat.

SPRUCE is a budget friendly white wood that has traditionally been used in Finnish saunas. It may darken with use,

PINE has an appearance that is similar to spruce but generally has larger knots; these should be treated to prevent them from falling out with use.

ASPEN is a good choice for people suffering from allergies or sensitivities to odors; it has no smell.

HEMLOCK is another light colored wood that offers a natural resistance to mildew and is less odorous than other woods; it is also a good choice for allergy sufferers.

CEDAR has been a common choice for saunas because it is resistant to decay and insects; it offers a pleasing aroma and wears well. However it tends to be more expensive than other woods.


Saunas come with a wide array of accessories; check for LED lighting, MP3 players, automatic timers, specially designed benches and beds and a huge variety of aesthetic choices, including stone walls, custom windows and doors. You can find something that will fit well with your décor and will appeal to your mind as well as your body.


If you are the type of person who is always looking for the next best thing, the MyCocoon Wellness Pod might appeal to you more than the wooden benches inside a classic sauna. Just like traditional saunas, the My Cocoon Wellness Pod is all about making you feel good. This state of the art machine offers your choice of a luxurious trio of dry heat therapy, massage and aromatherapy treatments.


Saunas are reported to:

  1. Flush toxins from your body.
  2. Relieve stress levels.
  3. Burn calories.
  4. Help you sleep better.
  5. Relax your muscles.
  6. Positively affect your cardiovascular system.
  7. Combat illness.
  8. Be fun.
  9. Relieve chronic pain and conditions.
  10. Deep clean your skin.

Learn more about sauna's by reading our Sweat and Soul blog.

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