Saunas - Find out what the fuss is all about
There's no question that sauna culture is alive and kicking. Every decent gym has one, and the trend for installing them in our family homes continues. So what's all the fuss about? In Finland, where they claim to have invented the sauna, they've understood the benefits for centuries.
Although the medical benefits of taking a sauna have not been proven, it is certainly true that anything which leaves you relaxed and happy must be good, particularly since stress seems to have such a negative effect on the immune system.
Major Selling Point of Saunas
Perhaps because of these beneficial effects, it is easy to become hooked on saunas. Once you find you are visiting one all the time, it may be time to consider installing your own personal one at home. If you have the money, this can be the height of luxury. Things have changed since the primitive days of hot stones in a wooden hut; there are so many brands and styles to choose from, including the ultra-modern infra-red sauna.
However, don't install one in your family home purely to increase the value of the property. Of course a sauna will be a selling point for many potential buyers, but others will feel that they would rather have the space for an extra bedroom. You don't know when you install it whether it will help or hinder future sales of the house, so only put in a sauna if you're going to enjoy it yourself.
The further down the housing ladder you go, the more this rule applies. A sauna will be an asset in a huge house, a frippery in a regular house and a downright liability in a small apartment. Despite growing popularity, there is a long way to go before people in this country learn to love saunas as much as they do in Finland.
Finland the Home of Saunas
After all, Finns really do take their saunas seriously. One often-quoted statistic is that there are more saunas than cars in Finland . Perhaps this is why some Finnish men can be as boring about their saunas as other men are about their cars. Purists insist that only wood-fired saunas give an authentic experience, while electric saunas just aren't the same. This gives rise to a lot of earnest discussion about which kind of wood is best.
In the past, Finnish saunas used to have an almost religious significance, as well as a medical one. They were a place to be cleansed and healed, spiritually and physically. If this sounds silly to you, ask yourself if you've ever gone on a 'detox'. When the Christmas excesses make us feel flabby and guilty, we head to the gym to purge ourselves of our sins. We talk about ridding ourselves of "toxins" by drinking peculiar-smelling herbal drinks and over-exercising. In many ways, it's the same principle. And, ironically, when we tire of the treadmill but don't want to waste the gym membership we paid for in a flurry of New Year resolution, what do we do? We slink off to the sauna for an afternoon of steamy, relaxing bliss.