The History and Evolution of the Sauna
Taking a look back at the history of the sauna, it certainly gives us a clear picture of just how far these wonderful units have come.
History shows us that the first wooden sauna was built by the Finns over 2000 years ago. These were not free standing units, and actually were built into the side of a hill or a large embankment. Eventually, they were built using wooden logs and stood above the ground. To produce the heat, stones that were heated in the stone fireplace with wood used as the burning source were used.
The room would become warm as a result of this, but at the same time it would be filled with the smoke from the fire. Prior to any one being able to enter the sauna, the smoke had to be cleared once the temperature was brought up to the desired level. Although the smoke was gone, the aroma of the smoking wood remained and created the wonderful atmosphere that sauna lovers of that time were able to enjoy.
As time progressed, metal wood stoves became more popular and began to replace wood saunas. It was discovered that splashing water on the heated rocks would create steam. This combined with the high heat (which at times would go about 200°F) was well received by the sauna users. It was believed that the combination of this heat and steam was creating the health benefits that the Finns were enjoying so much.
The Finnish people have long since claimed that the sauna is ideal for cleansing of the body inside and out. Back in history, it was also used as a method for preparing those that had passed away for burial. The sauna was a very important part of the daily living and lifestyle of many people.
As the Finnish people moved to different areas of the world they brought their expertise and knowledge of the sauna with them, and eventually around the 1950s electric saunas came into being.
If we fast forward from history up to today, we can see that the sauna has evolved dramatically. Now the heat sources are many, including wood, gas, or electricity, and even solar power. There are both wet and dry saunas including smoke and steam, and now with the latest technology, infrared as well.
There is no doubt that the sauna has proven its worth with many people over the years, and will continue to do so for many years to come.