A Finn in Seattle

Posted March 13th, 2019 by admin and filed in Saunas, Uncategorized

When a Finn in Seattle wanted to show his teammates on his multi-cultural soccer team what a genuine Scandinavian Sauna was like, the only choice was one of our saunas at Sacred Rain Healing Center.  To quote, he said it was “the best authentic Finnish sauna in Seattle”.

The Sacred Rain Healing Center installed one of our 8×10 pre-built saunas, as well as an 11 kW Tylo Deluxe heater, to achieve the perfect Scandinavian style sauna bath experience.


John Morelli’s sauna review

Posted July 17th, 2014 by admin and filed in Saunas

Our sauna is fully constructed, has been complete for about one week now and we have been enjoying it immensely – especially me, being semi-retired and having the time every day to play. I want to tell you a little bit about the project from my perspective. As you know, I purchased a pre-cut sauna kit. What you don’t know is that I was just about 17 years old (around 50 years ago) the last time I purchased a build-it -yourself-kit of any kind – it was a Heathkit stereo amplifier – so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect this time around. A big difference between the two was that I didn’t have to provide any specifications last time around. The kit was what it was and that was all there was to it. This time, however, I was working with an odd shaped

little shower room that had been added on to our house by the previous owners. I tried to be very accurate in my measurements so that you could design the kit accordingly but I was measuring around a built-in shower and some wooden cabinets and it turned out that the configuration of the

room was a bit different than anticipated. In the end – after I had sent my best guess at the dimensions – the actual floor plan turned out to be faceted five-sided room (a pentagon!) instead of just an irregular trapezoid. Who knew?!?!?

In any event, most of the dimensions were correct but even so, it is an oddball room configuration. I could hardly imagine how you might go about figuring out the number and dimensions of the boards you needed to cut to match this strange space. BUT YOU DID IT!!!

Not only were all the pieces clearly marked with respect to where in the room they were to be

used, but there wasn’t a single instance where they didn’t work. You also seemed to figure out somehow, that I would make 2.7 errors along the way and so provided enough extra pieces to get me successfully through those crises. Everything I needed was there and perfect. Best of all was

having you a phone call away – even on the weekend! Your calm and confident responses to my questions were reassuring, accurate and most helpful. Your guidance was perfect.

The finish on the cedar planks was as you stated, exceedingly fine. The sauna is unquestionably the nicest artifact in our house. This leads me to the only caution I must give to anyone contemplating following this path . . . it is so much nicer than everything else, that we are now discussing replacing the various painted doors, trim, moldings, and windows around it so as not to detract from its splendor.

Thank you so much Art for such a fine product and such outstanding service and support.

Best regards,

John Morelli
Rush, NY

Genuine Physical Health Benefits of Saunas

With so many off shore companies perpetuating inflated and even flat out false health claims associated with saunas, we thought an article about the genuine health benefits would be appropriate and helpful for anyone who might be anticipating adopting a sauna bathing regimen.

First let’s start with what saunas DON’T do.

A sauna will not help you lose weight. The only weight lost in a sauna is water weight. You regain this weight as soon as your rehydrate yourself. Failure to rehydrate can lead to dehydration, which is very dangerous. In severe cases it can even be deadly – remember the guy who died at the World Sauna Championships, or the people who lost their lives in the makeshift sauna in Arizona?

Contrary to even more widely held views; a sauna likely doesn’t really do too much in the way of detoxification, either, at least not through the process of perspiration. This article from Discovery Health does a good job at explaining the role of perspiration in the human body. From the article, “…all sweat contains the same primary ingredients: mostly water, some sodium and chloride, and to a lesser extent, potassium. Though you do lose electrolytes when you sweat, perspiration contains only trace amounts of any type of toxins.”

Many people, even health professionals, swear by the detoxification effects of a sauna, but the scientific data suggests that if there is detoxification, it’s not happening through perspiration. It would be easy enough to test the sweat of sauna bathers, which should contain considerable amounts of toxins if sauna detoxification is true. The lack of this seemingly easy to gather data leads us to believe this is just another one of those myths that so easily circulate the internet.

This brings us to the real, true, genuine health benefits of traditional Scandinavian style saunas.

Although detoxification doesn’t really happen in a sauna from perspiration, sweating can help clean out your pores, making your skin cleaner and clearer. If this is one of the benefits you seek from sauna bathing, you should wash your skin after your sauna bath. A cool shower (or cold plunge if you’re a serious sauna user – click here for a list of sauna words and their meanings) will not only wash away the impurities that perspiring pushed out of your pores, but will help close them to keep other dirt and debris out.

Another benefit of sauna use is an increase in circulation. This increase can provide a healthy, low impact workout for your circulatory system. Please keep in mind this isn’t the kind of work out that would make you shed pounds, though, and before you frequent a sauna you should check with your doctor if you have any kind of health issues that might preclude sauna bathing.

The environment in the sauna also induces the extra blood we all have circulating in our bodies to flow towards and nourish muscle tissue and might even help to detoxify these tissues, though this process would still be completed in the same way as the body would normally expel toxins – through the liver and kidneys. Regardless, no one disputes the therapeutic effect that moist heat can have on sore tired muscles.

Aside from these physical benefits, you can’t overlook the benefit that relaxation and “unwinding” can have on your mind, body and spirit. Many people use sauna bathing as a way to relax and mentally recharge. This can help you deal with every day stresses, and generally improve your day-to-day outlook.

Lastly, in many cultures the sauna is a family affair. With no distractions such as television and smart phones, the sauna can easily become a place where you reconnect with your family and friends. It is a safe, healthy, wholesome, family friendly activity that can strengthen the bonds with those you love.

Please keep in mind all the benefits listed above are for traditional Scandinavian style saunas, and not the faux infrared enclosures that some manufacturers try to pass off as saunas. True saunas will have a sauna stove that contains rocks upon which you can sprinkle water, adding humidity to your sauna environment.

Infrared enclosures simply have heating elements similar to a common space heater embedded in their walls, which heat the space to only a fraction of the traditional temperature of a sauna. They have no rocks and can be operated in dry mode only. Traditional saunas have been time tested in various cultures for centuries; infrared enclosures, on the other hand, are relatively new, and because of the lack of a real sauna environment, they really can’t lay claim to any of a genuine sauna’s actual benefits.


Sound Smart with Sauna Terminology

Posted September 15th, 2013 by admin and filed in Saunas

With sauna use rapidly spreading into the Western culture, many people aren’t aware of the terminology and customs associated with saunas. In this article you’ll find some commonly used sauna terms, along with their meanings.

The first and most obvious term is “sauna” itself. A sauna is a small enclosure lined with a porous material, almost always wood. It uses a heater with a compartment of stones upon which you can sprinkle water. A sauna should not be confused with a steam room (which boasts similar health benefits but is a completely different enclosure).

A genuine Scandinavian style sauna should also not be confused with the cheaply made infrared enclosures from China that have recently flooded the American market under the same name. These are not saunas at all, but rather boxes with what amounts to space heaters embedded in the wall.

Our second term is “löyly”, which is the Finnish term for the tradition of sprinkling water on the hot sauna rocks. This creates what many people refer to as a “wet sauna”, even though the humidity still stays relatively low thanks to the porous wood walls and very high temperature.

The third term is “cold plunge”. In a traditional sauna bathing experience, sauna sessions are often followed by sessions of rapid cooling that are referred to as cold plunges. These include an icy body of water (some people even cut holes in the ice of frozen lakes) or even a snow bank in which the sauna bather can throw themselves. This cold plunge isn’t for everyone, and in the American culture many people prefer to use a cold, or even just a cool shower to help regulate their elevated body temperature and close their pores. Frequently, bathers alternate between the sauna and their chosen cold plunge several times during the same session, making their sauna bath into an hours long event.

The fourth and final term is the Finnish word “vihta”, or if you’re one of our Russian expat friends “venik”. A venik is a bundle twigs, very often birch that sauna bathers use to gently whip themselves. This sloughs off dead skin cells and helps increase circulation. Though a common European tradition, many sauna bathers in modern Western culture will often use a loofah sponge for a similar purpose.

We know that our European friends have many more sauna specific terms, so feel free to tell us your favorites.


Sauna Bathing Magic “the Finnish way”

Posted September 2nd, 2013 by admin and filed in Saunas

While saunas have genuine physical health benefits, sometimes it’s the mental and emotional benefits that are the most important.

In Kathy West’s recent blog post, she discussed a night shared in the sauna “the Finnish way”, which in this case referred to sauna bathing unclothed.

Although saunas can now be found in most gyms and hotels in the U.S., sauna bathing sans clothing is still something many people resist, and this is one main reason why many people install their own private sauna in their home.

Whether this reluctance is the result of insecurities or modesty, there are many people who would be unable to enjoy a sauna without something to cover themselves. This is despite the fact that sauna bathing uncovered is considered to be the norm in many cultures. Indeed in many saunas around the world, there is no other acceptable way to bathe.

As West illustrates, the companionship and camaraderie that can be so quickly forged in a sauna is something incredibly special. Many people, especially those who consider themselves “hard core” sauna aficionados, would probably argue that this close bonding happens in part because of the way a lack of clothing makes people feel vulnerable and ultimately more willing to share things about themselves.

Whether sauna bathing uncovered, in a towel or in a bathing suit, it is undeniable that saunas are beneficial, not only on an individual basis, but also in the way bathing together can help strengthen, and even begin, lifelong friendships.


Do Saunas Make People Happier?

Do sauna baths make the bathers happier? Though it’s a question without any hard scientific proof, a new study seems to back up the idea that lifestyle choices such as regular use of a sauna (or steam room) does indeed make people happier.

The Washington Post recently published the results of a 2010 Gallup Poll about the world’s 15 happiest countries. In this study, Finland is in a tie for number five, and Denmark and Sweden tie for the number one spot. It’s interesting to note that these three Scandinavian countries have a culture where the regular familial use of the traditional Scandinavian sauna is widespread.

With the already well known benefits of saunas such as increased circulation and relaxation, and the new possibility of increased happiness, what would stop you from indulging in a sauna bath?


6 Reasons to Invest in a Home Sauna

Have you ever thought about installing a sauna in your home? While most spas, health clubs and gyms have saunas for their patrons; there are also many excellent reasons to install one right in your own home.

Privacy – Although some people enjoy conversation during their visit to the sauna, others desire complete silence. When you utilize a sauna at a public place you’re at the mercy of the other patrons who are enjoying the sauna as well. When you have a home sauna you can set the tone. You’ll never have to deal with excessive noise during your sauna bath.

Dress Code – Sauna etiquette, including dress code, can vary widely from culture to culture, sauna to sauna, and patron to patron. Some public saunas are clothing optional, some require a bathing suit, and still others only require the use of a bath towel. In your own home sauna, you never have to worry about being dressed, or undressed, inappropriately.

Hygiene – Public saunas are used by many people through the course of day. You never know who the last person was to sit on the sauna bench on which you’re about to relax. You also don’t know the last time the sauna was cleaned. By owning your own sauna you eliminate this concern, and ensure that you are always able to enjoy a clean and healthy sauna environment.

Humidity – Many people enjoy a sauna bath that begins with a dry sauna, to which they then add a bit of humidity by sprinkling water onto the sauna stones, the Finnish tradition of löyly. In a public sauna, often only the first patron of the day can enjoy a completely dry sauna. Once water is used on the stones, that dry sauna environment is gone until the sauna completely dries out. Depending on the traffic in the sauna, this might not be until the next morning. In your own home sauna, you can always control when and how much water is added.

Comfort and convenience – Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy a sauna any time of day or night, without having to leave the comfort of your own home? You can use your home sauna whenever and however you want. Never again will you have to worry about the gym or club being closed, or having to share your bath with unwanted guests.

ROI – When it comes to adding value as you’re selling your home, few improvements are as unique and attention getting as a sauna, and if you install a Prebuilt Sauna (as opposed to a Precut Sauna Kit), you’ll even have the option of including it in the sale or taking it with you to your new home. Our Prebuilt Saunas assemble or disassemble with no special skills or tools in just a couple of hours.

People who add a sauna to their home are able to enjoy their sauna experiences much more than those who must share a public sauna with strangers. Home saunas are cleaner, safer, and more comfortable than their public counterparts.


Sauna Venting

Posted October 28th, 2010 by admin and filed in Saunas

Sauna bathing in the Scandinavian style is an activity that’s centuries old, and it’s really only relatively recently that electric sauna heaters have come onto the scene. Often we wonder if some venting specifications that we see really apply more to the old style wood fired saunas.

Aside from the case of a public sauna, which can be filled with hundreds of smelly bodies every day, there is no need for “fresh air” in the sauna, and at Almost Heaven we sincerely now believe that venting in a small residential sauna simply is never really required.

The purpose of venting in a residential sauna is not to provide fresh air, as many people would expect. The venting can be useful for getting the heat from the heater to the far corner of the sauna, but in a small sauna, the far corner isn’t very far away.

Proper usage of the vents is therefore often contrary to what most people would surmise. You would start your sauna with the outlet vent open, and close the vent once the sauna reached full temperature, much like starting your car on a hot day and leaving the windows cracked a bit at first so the air conditioner can displace the hot air in the car.

As long as you design your venting according to the proper specification, the only advantage will be the ability to heat the sauna about five minutes more quickly. Keep in mind, though, that the Tylo sauna heater is already heating the sauna in half the time of other brands of sauna heaters anyway, so the gain is less than you might think.

Most important, if you violate some of the basic tenets regarding venting, you could actually make things worse. Our favorite adage on the matter is that “bad venting is much worse than no venting at all”.

The basic rules for venting state that the inlet vent should be below the heater and the outlet vent as far as possible from that, in an opposing wall or corner, either in the ceiling or high up in the wall. Also, most important, both inlet and outlet vent must open into the same room or space. You cannot go through a wall and into another room with one of your vents.

You’re far better off omitting the vents completely, if it would otherwise mean violating one of the above rules, and since the inlet vent must always be under the heater and the outlet vent as far from this as possible, whether or not you vent your sauna can affect the overall layout of the sauna by virtue of the position of the heater.

You’ll find many opinions on the subject of sauna venting, but after nearly 30 years in the sauna industry we’re convinced it’s unnecessary in residential sauna applications.


Choosing the proper size for your Family Sauna

Posted September 16th, 2010 by admin and filed in Saunas

When people think about adding a sauna to their home, they sometimes let the space they have available dictate the size of their new sauna. Often this leads to the specification of a larger sauna than is actually needed. For a couple or small family sauna, the 5×7 sauna is the perfect size. If more space is available, a shower, and/or a lounging/changing area, is an excellent extension to make your sauna experience more enjoyable.

Those accustomed to sauna bathing know that the top bench is considerably hotter than the lower bench. Having a full width lower bench permits bathers with different preferences to use the sauna at the same time, but in a shallow sauna there isn’t enough room to make the lower bench full width. Unless the sauna is at least 5’ deep, there’s only room for a narrow step bench which provides a step up to the upper bench and a footrest for people seated up there.

As for the width of the sauna, many people prefer to lay down during their sauna bath, so you need benches that are long enough for prone bathing. With our Precut Sauna Kits you lose an inch from the cedar T&G that covers your wall framing, and with our Prebuilt Saunas, which have modular wall panels that are 2.5” thick, the inside dimensions are 5” less than the outer dimensions, hence the recommendation of the 7’ width.

With the 5×7 size, not only is the lower bench full width, but you even get a bonus L shaped lower bench, rather than just a straight bench. That’s one upper and one lower bench that can each accommodate a prone adult, and one seat for a third adult still remaining.
If you need a sauna with enough upper bench space to accommodate two prone adults, then the 6×8 – pretty much the largest size we’d recommend for a residential sauna – would be the proper choice, but for most sauna bathers, the 5×7 is quite suitable.


The Difference Between Saunas and Steam Rooms

While many people use the terms “sauna” and “steam room” interchangeably, they are actually two different types of enclosures with two completely different environments.

A steam room, sometimes called a steam shower, is not a sauna. A sauna is constructed from porous material (usually high grade cedar), while a steam room is constructed of something completely nonporous, such as plastic, tile or glass.

Steam rooms use steam generators, which directly heat the water, filling the enclosure with clouds of condensed water vapor. In an environment such as this, the humidity exceeds 100 percent, and the temperature is typically in the range of 115 to 120 F.

In contrast, a sauna heater heats the air in an enclosure, with humidity levels as low as 2 or 3 percent and temperatures as high as 190 F (at least within 6″ of the ceiling). These heaters also heat a compartment of sauna stones onto which water can be poured to create a “wet” sauna experience. Even in this type of environment, however, the humidity is still only at 10 to 15 percent.

The difference between a sauna and steam room is a matter of preference. Both are relaxing, and surprisingly enough, both have the very same well documented health benefits.