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Tips on What to look for when buying a Sauna in Canada.
Looking to purchase a Sauna ?

I began looking for a sauna in 2007. I started by attending home and garden shows, searching the Internet, scouring through eBay and visiting local dealers. There was so much confusing information and I was told so many conflicting things, that I decided to go on a mission to sort through the confusion and find out what was really important to know when purchasing a sauna. This text is a condensed version of my research notes, and I hope it will help you sort through the sauna confusion.

First, there are 2 main types of saunas. The traditional rock / steam saunas that is familiar to most people and the dry / radiant heat saunas that are becoming so popular today. Let me explain the differences.

Traditional Saunas

The traditional sauna concept began many centuries ago when a teepee would be built for cleansing purposes. In the center of the teepee would be a mound of rocks that were kept very hot with fire and hot coals. Water would be gently poured on the rocks to produce a steam that would fill the teepee. Those sitting in the teepee would get very, very hot, and they would perspire. This practice was how one could sweat out any bad or evil elements in the body that were causing illness or unhappiness.

Over the years, the concept evolved into the sauna, as we know it. A wooden or tile room containing a small furnace with rocks in it over which water can be poured to produce steam, if steam is preferred to dry heat. These saunas heat the body indirectly. By this I mean the furnace heats only the air or the moisture in the air. This hot air then heats the person in the sauna. The air in a traditional sauna needs to be at about 70 C to 90 C (160F-190F) to make the person sweat profusely.

This hot air is extremely harsh on a person’s skin, hair and lungs, and it is often difficult to remain in a traditional sauna long enough to benefit from the session because breathing that hot air is sometimes intolerable.

New Infrared Saunas

The second type of sauna is the radiant or commonly known as infrared sauna. The heat in this type of sauna is generated by an electric heating element. The element emits a ray that does not heat the air, but is directly absorbed by the person in the sauna and raises their body temperature causing the person to perspire profusely. Many years of research enable scientist to develop a heater that will emit the same heat frequency as the human body and provides the same heat that the human body generates, generally between 8 to 10 microns in length. This type of sauna is more efficient and only has to maintain a temperature of about 40°C to 60°C to make the person perspire profusely.

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In infrared saunas, heat penetrates deep into body tissues in a way that a traditional sauna cannot, approx 4 centimeters deep. This deep tissue warmth is great for sore muscles, stiffness and joint pain, especially the kind of chronic pain that comes from arthritis.

This ray that radiates from the heaters is basically a form of energy that travels and spreads out as it goes. Because the rays travel and spread out is why it is important to have more than 5 heaters in an infrared sauna built for 2 people. Therefore, buying an infrared radiant heat sauna with at least one heater on the front, many in the back and one at the back of your legs is something to consider. The Montreal Saunas models have 8 heaters and up.

The infrared sauna heaters warms up and are ready for use faster than a traditional saunas heater, usually in 10 to 15 minutes to reach the operational temperature, compared to at least an hour and it uses less energy. The reason is because the air itself does not get hot in infrared saunas. The Montreal Saunas are suitable for people with respiratory issues who find it uncomfortable or even risky to go in a traditional sauna. Bathers in infrared saunas also can enjoy the benefits of the sauna at a much lower temperature than in a traditional sauna.

Also, different types of radiant sauna heaters emit rays that are different measurements. The measurement of the ray is called wavelength. The wavelength is a very important factor to consider when you are buying a radiant heat sauna. Here are some of the differences.

Very inexpensive and somewhat less effective at producing a healthy sweat, are saunas that are heated with one or more infrared light bulbs. Infrared light is visible to the human eye and has a very short wavelength. It is not absorbed very deeply into the human body, but because it is infrared it will naturally heat the body by causing the body’s molecules to rapidly vibrate against each other making the body perspire. Because this infrared light can be seen, it is considered in some circles to be somewhat helpful for people that need light therapy as a more affordable substitute for full spectrum lighting devices.

More expensive and much more effective at producing a healthy and beneficial sweat are radiant sauna heaters that heat using far infrared (FIR) rods or panels. Far infrared rays have longer wavelengths and are absorbed deeper into the body, from 4 cm (1.5"). Far infrared rays are not visible to the human eye and do not heat the air. They also heat the body by causing the body’s molecules to rapidly vibrate against each other. Far infrared is safe enough to be used in hospitals to warm preemies in incubators, yet strong and effective enough to successfully relieve pain, break down cellulite, rid the body of toxins and provide a safe cardio-vascular workout.

Research shows us that different elements produce different wavelengths of far infrared. So, the type of element in the far infrared heater is also important to look into. The wavelength of the far infrared generated by the new CarbonWave 360 infrared element is considered superior for the human body over the wavelength of the far infrared generated by steel or ceramic coated steel elements and porcelain or porcelain clad ceramic elements. That is because the wavelength of the rays generated by the CarbonWave 360 elements are very close to those generated by the human body. That is right...the human body generates far infrared, also! Rub your hands together for a few seconds and then hold your hand up to your check and you will feel warmth on your cheek coming from your hand. That warmth is energy...the healing energy of far infrared and the premise behind "Palm Healing".

Studies showed that in order to find or to keep in shape, we do not need to fell exhausted. The analyses of sweat secretion after a session in an infrared sauna, give the following constitution: 80 to water 85%, Lubricates, Cholesterol, Acids, Ammoniac. In some case; finds heavy metals: Lead: 84 micrograms, Cadmium: 6.20 micrograms, Nickel: 1.2 micrograms, Coppers: 0.4 micrograms, Sodium: 0.84 grams. According to various studies, the most toxic substances is stored in our fat cell and cholesterol as much in our body that in our food. It is there that the infrared sauna are exceed; by perspiration you eliminate toxins and heavy metals which cannot be extracted by the kidneys, or by the lungs.

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Some people like to use it with the door open.

What should I choose ?

Whether you choose a traditional sauna or a radiant Infrared Sauna, there are a number of other smaller factors that you will want to consider. The traditional sauna uses more electricity, requires a lengthy heat up time and must be disinfected on a regular basis. The radiant sauna uses only about 10 - 15 cents per half hour of use, requires five to ten minutes of heat up time and does not promote the growth of bacteria so can be cleaned with only a damp cloth. On the other hand, most traditional saunas can be placed outdoors, but most infrared saunas are built and warranted for inside use only.

My last suggestion to those of you who are thinking of purchasing a Sauna in Canada, it is really important to find and talk to a reputable sauna dealer or sauna distributor that will help you with your questions and be there for you in the years to come when you need warranty work or get parts. Like anything that is becoming popular, you have to beware of the get-rich-quick sales people and choose someone who has an established business and takes time with you to answer all of your questions. See more on the Sauna Dangers here. Infrared Sauna Danger

Everything considered and because I wanted to put a sauna in my basement exercise room I selected the Newport sauna from Montreal Saunas it’s a great far infrared sauna with the CarbonWave 360 elements heaters. Since I started using this sauna three times a week, I have been able to lose weight, reduce the doses of my pain medication and dodge the colds and flu throughout the winter months and sleep much better than ever before. It was one of the best purchases I have ever made!

Traditional rock / steam sauna or Radiant / infrared sauna, it is a proven fact that regular sauna sessions will bring you better health and improve your life. Thanks to technology and science, personal home saunas are now readily available and affordable for just about everyone !

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