Many people in Finland build a sauna before they finish building their homes. In the United States, people tend to either pay to use one at a spa or health club, or they purchase a ready built one for inside their home. The most green sauna is one you build yourself from natural materials like cordwood, as in the attached picture which even has a living roof.
The old saunas in Finland were more like a steam bath made by throwing water on heated rocks. They were used both for social and health purposes, to relax, heat aching body parts, and eliminate toxins from the body. They have since evolved to include dry heat baths and infrared versions. The purpose is to sweat which the body does better in a dry environment.
Everyone is exposed to chemicals and heavy metal toxins, even prenatally, and these toxins can manifest in many different symptoms in the body. They can inhibit nutrient absorption, damage DNA, disturb hormones, cause nerve problems, and change metabolism rates in the young and more commonly considered normal old age symptoms. Doctors may prescribe expensive chelation drug treatments for eliminating heavy metals in the blood, but these drugs do not eliminate toxic metals stored in fat cells, nor do they get rid of toxic chemicals. And they purge needed minerals like calcium and magnesium.
The Hubbard detox method of using Niacin and saunas has been studied by the non-profit Foundation for Advancements in Science and Education (FASE) with positive scientific results. Saunas are an enjoyable solution that families can do together. There are several kinds of heat sources, ranging from electric and gas to wood burning sauna stoves. They can be built stand alone next to pools and used as changing rooms, or indoors near bathrooms for cooling down with showers afterward. The Russian sauna, called a banya or bania, is usually done at a very high temperature and in high humidity so is probably less effective than dry heat.
Claims are made that far infrared saunas are better than traditional saunas because:
- they release more toxins as the heat penetrates the body 1.5 to 2 inches, mobilizing toxins in fat cells and eliminating them directly in sweat
- they only need to be heated to 130°F versus 180° F to 200° F in traditional saunas
- they do not dry out mucus membranes
- they do not need water like traditional saunas to keep membranes moist
- they do not increase blood pressure as traditional saunas do when they reach over 140°F
- they maintain the body in a better balanced state.
A website page by Saunafin compares infrared and traditional saunas, and the company sells both types. Some people claim that the infrared does not feel as relaxing as a higher heat humid sauna.
When to use them is a personal choice. Some like to begin their day with a cleansing sauna; others relax in them at the end of their day. It is better to not have a full stomach or be exhausted, and those with severe respiratory or cardiac problems should consult a physician first.
How often they should be used depends on the purpose. For detoxification with the Hubbard method, taking niacin and using saunas must be a daily regimen for a period of 25 days. For relief of aches or relaxation, they can be used a few times a week and heated as needed, or every day if desired. They can be set on automatic timers and require little power to maintain the temperature once it has been reached.
One woman did a comparison on her website to determine the the most resource efficient way to get a hot shower, bath or sauna in the winter and came up with these results:
15-minute shower: 23,240 BTU + 28 gal water
Standard bath: 16,600 BTU + 20 gal water
Spa bath: 24,900 BTU + 30 gal water
Sauna: 15,354 BTU + 2 gal water + 1000 BTU to heat water to 95 degrees and quick rinse shower afterwards.
The winner by far was the sauna because it is warmer than a standard bath, she can stay in as long as she can stand it and still be warm, and her husband will join her where he would not in the bath. She admits that doing none of the above would be the most eco-friendly, but the sauna offers health rewards. Read the website for details on how she arrived at her numbers.
Another green consideration besides energy use is the materials used to build the sauna. The woods should be solid Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, no veneers or plywood, and no toxic offgassing glues should be used. The electronics should not contain lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, or brominated fire retardants. Those certified as meeting Europe’s RoHS requirement (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) are safest. The electrical components should be tested for EMF gauss readings. Greenshipping is also an issue, and local carbon negative companies are always better.
There are sauna products available in Greenville, South Carolina, as well as online. A couple examples are Johnson Pools, 2724 Wade Hampton Boulevard Suite H, Greenville, SC 29615, 864.268.9309 and Greenville Terrazzo Company Inc, 218 North Washington Avenue, Greenville, SC 29611, 864.295.1807.
More information on how to build the green sauna will follow in a separate article. Watch the attached video on toxic cleansing with niacin, exercise and a sauna.