Let the löyly be with you - Why so many people are in love with their home saunasby Mike Hirn
Saunas have been a way of life in many parts of the world for at least 2000 years. In Finland, with about 5 million people, there are nearly 2.5 million saunas. This is more than enough to have a home sauna in every household. Traditionally Finnish life was centered around the sauna. Many people even went so far as to give birth in the sauna due to its hygienic nature. Ilkka Vuori explains that "For us sauna means health in the sense of good hygiene, relief of aches and pains, companionship, leisureliness, detachment from the everyday worries, physical and mental relaxation, good sleep, and thus general well being". Only the real deal gets this kind of endorsement and survives the test of time.
Ok so what is löyly and what does it have to do with saunas? Physically Löyly is the envelope of heat and steam that surrounds you in the sauna as water is poured on the hot rocks (konnos). Its ancient meaning was also associated with the "spirit" and even "life" itself. It was credited with driving out diseases and there are claims that even unhappy love affairs could be settled through the use this löyly.
The unhappy marriage part is mostly anecdotal but there is sound scientific evidence to support the health benefits of regular sauna use. The heat stimulates the circulatory system, giving a cardiovascular workout and burning calories even while relaxing. Sweating has multiple health benefits. The skin is cleansed from the inside out. Pores are flushed out, eliminating dirt and oils that cause irritation, infection and related problems like acne. Toxins within the body are transported out of cells due to the heat and eliminated in the sweat. This has lead to the popular use of saunas as an effective form of detoxification. There is substantial evidence that the negative ions released during the formation of löyly help balance body chemistry. We have all heard about the good that antioxidants do. Antioxidants are healthy because they balance the free radicals that do damage in our bodies. Negative ions act the same way that antioxidants do, in fact antioxidants are just specific form of negative ions. Many people claim that the immune system is also strengthened with a regular sauna regiment
The mental benefits of sauna use can be as important as the physical benefits. Stress can manifest itself in some real physical illnesses. We all should have a "happy place" we can retreat to as an escape from the trials and tribulations of everyday life. What better place than a sauna? This is much healthier than turning to chocolate (or worse) as an escape. The environment of a sauna promotes good feelings and soothes a troubles mind. It is not easy to feel bad in a sauna and the feelings of relaxation and peace tend to stay with you long after the sweating is over.
So why are saunas now taking on "fad" status in some parts of the world? One of the main reasons for the dramatic increase in sauna use has to do with convenience. It is now much easier than ever to have a sauna in your own home. You no longer have to go to the gym and "get naked with the masses" to enjoy the sauna experience. Although many prefer to build their own sauna, today it is possible to order a prebuilt unit and have it delivered right to your home. Many models can literally be installed within minutes. For those do-it-yourselfers there are a multitude of precut kits available for delivery that can be constructed in a very reasonable amount of time.
Another innovation is the Infrared sauna. This is a relatively new way to produce the body heat that increases circulation and promotes sweating. Infrared saunas use infrared waves that heat you and not the surrounding air. There is no löyly from heating water but infrared saunas tend to be more time efficient, needing very little time to warm up. There is strong evidence that suggests infrared heat penetrates deeper into your skin, making them even more effective than traditional saunas. With all these new developments it is no wonder that so many people are choosing to enjoy their own home saunas.
About the Author
Mike Hirn has enjoyed the health benefits of saunas for many years. His website is dedicated to helping people build and enjoy home saunas. www.the-home-sauna-center.com
Note: Di Vapor is not responsible for the views, opinions or advice represented in the articles on this site. You are advised to seek medical advice before following any such information.