Things are heating up outside, but a backyard sauna or steam bath can assure you are warm and relaxed year-round! Both will get you sweating and boost your circulation, but they do this in completely different ways. A sauna operates with dry heat, typically by heating up rocks that radiate heat in an enclosed space, although you can add some moisture in many saunas by pouring water over the rocks. A steam room, on the other hand, is all about wet heat, using a steam generator to boil water and boost humidity to 100%. Because there is less heat energy in the dry air of a sauna, they can get to between 150 to 185 degrees, while steam baths are normally around 110 degrees.
Either way you go, you may find this new addition to your backyard to be both relaxing and healthful. Heat relieves pain and increases blood flow, which can help those who suffer from conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. People who find their conditions adversely affected by humidity will likely prefer a sauna’s dry heat to the wet heat of a steam bath, while others may find that steam helps improve chronic sinus issues. While still unproven, some assert that the sweating produced by heat treatments from saunas and steam baths can help flush the body and improve the health of the skin.
While steam baths are a classic choice, saunas have gone state of the art! In a traditional sauna, the walls, ceiling, floor, and benches all become heated and then the radiating heat warms the bather, while the heating elements cycle on and off to maintain the desired temperature. In a far-infrared sauna, infrared emitters are used to create infrared energy, energy which is very close to the kind our bodies emit and thus a kind that is thought to be more easily received by the body. Also, because the emitters focus more directly on the person than a traditional sauna which warms everything, they need to remain on at all times in order to maintain temperature, but because of the focused emitters in an IR sauna, a bather will feel hotter and sweat effectively but at a much lower overall temperature.
In addition to choosing what kind of heat and heater best meets your needs, you will also want to carefully consider the materials to construct your sauna or steam bath. Because of the heat (and, with steam baths, because of the moisture), you want the most durable of materials – ceramic tile, stainless steel, and quality woods. For saunas, which are mostly of wood construction, there are primarily three choices – western red cedar, hemlock, and poplar. (Cedar is incredibly durable and has the classic look people associate with traditional saunas, but some people have allergic reactions to it and poplar offers a comparable choice.)
Well-sealed and well-constructed saunas and steam baths require very little in the way of maintenance. Terrycloth makes benches comfortable while protecting them and keeping them clean. All surfaces should be gently cleaned a few times a year with a mild cleaning solution and wood should be recoated regularly, using care to choose a product that works in the high heat/high humidity environment of a sauna or steam bath. Propping doors after a session allows for good airflow and adequate drying.
If you’re looking for a great way to unwind and make the most of the relaxation your luxury backyard offers, look no further than a sauna or steam bath. Relax with the healthy, reinvigorating benefits of heat and create a tranquil place to recover from a hard day. Saunas and steam baths can be installed indoors or outside, making them a perfect place to unwind and escape from the stresses of life.
Luxury comes in every shape, size, style and color, so to learn how you can transform your own backyard from ordinary to extraordinary and to locate products and builders, contact Stacy Nelson from @BackyardMamma at (844) 368-4769 or email stacy@BackyardMamma.com. Ms. Nelson has more than a decade of experience in the outdoor living and swimming pool industry and educates consumers and builders about backyard living design and products. View more at www.BackyardMamma.com.