Saunas can offer a relaxing addition to your new Katahdin Cedar Log Home. Saunas offer many health benefits and can help to ease everyday stress through relaxing heat. One enjoyable component to designing your own custom log home, is that you can easily add custom upgrades like a sauna that may not have fit in your previous home. Saunas are also a welcome addition to vacation log homes that fits neatly within the active lifestyle of the mountains or the lake. We spoke to Mark Raisenen, General Manager of Finnleo Sauna to learn more about the different options available.

What are the benefits of sauna baths?
Residents of the Scandinavian countries are some of the most enthusiastic practitioners of sauna bathing. So, it makes sense to look at recent research conducted by University of East Finland to get some scientific data on the health benefits of saunas. Their findings, using a series of large and small studies, point to several encouraging statistics that healthy Americans can adopt. The largest study covered 15 years of follow-up research of Finnish men and women who took sauna 4-7 times per week. The research found the following:

  • 61% less likely to suffer a stroke
  • 50% less risk for fatal cardiovascular events
  • 65% reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Increased arterial compliance which translates to healthier arteries better able to handle stress

In addition to these scientific findings, saunas flush toxins from the body through the process of sweating, help soothe sore muscles, and improve deep sleep.

What Kind of Saunas are Available?
There are currently two primary types of saunas commercially available: traditional saunas and infrared saunas. Each one heats the body to induce a beneficial sweat by using different methods.

Traditional Saunas
According to Raisenen, Finnleo’s traditional saunas heat using an electric element to heat the air, walls and rocks inside the sauna enclosure. The temperature range for a traditional sauna ranges from 150° to 185° Fahrenheit. A traditional sauna will be 10% drier than an IR sauna, but water can be poured over the rocks to create steam for moist heat. The heating element is energy-stingy and will cycle on and off for decreasing timed cycles to build and maintain heat throughout the session. According to Finnleo, their traditional saunas use under $10 per month for about 12 sauna sessions—depending on the size of the heater. It takes about 30-40 minutes for a traditional sauna to reach temperature.

Infrared Saunas
Infrared saunas are relatively new to the market. They use electromagnetic (EM) radiant heat to heat the people in the sauna, instead of the air in the sauna. The goal is to produce the right electromagnetic wavelength to stimulate body warmth and sweating. The temperature range is much lower than a traditional sauna, between 120°to 140°F. This lower temperature allows for longer sessions. Infrared saunas usually attain the right level of energy in about 20 minutes. The EM emitters in the infrared sauna need to be activated during the entire session, as they are providing the beneficial deep penetrating heat. For people who prefer a dry sauna, longer sessions and a quick start-up, infrared saunas provide an excellent choice.

Saunas for Indoors and Out
Finnleo offers a broad array of standardized and custom sauna designs. Most smaller 1-2 person kits are relatively quick to assemble and arrive flat packed as panelized components. Larger custom saunas will also ship flat but may take a bit longer to install. Finnleo’s selection process starts with selecting the sauna type:

  • Modular, freestanding saunas
  • Permanently installed custom saunas
  • Plug and play portable saunas

Then selection of interior features including benches, backrests, lighting, and glass features. Finally, the type of heater is selected. For infrared saunas the heat comes from wall panels. For traditional saunas, the choices range from wall heaters to rock tower heaters. All saunas have easy-to-use controls and are available as basic touch controls to programmable screen controls and apps operated from your smartphone.

For exterior saunas, Finnleo has regular roof kit designs made to withstand heavy snow loads based on your area. The company also uses a variety of woods for sauna interiors, including Northern White Cedar should you choose to continue the theme in your Katahdin Cedar Log Home.

Finnleo is based in Minnesota, but also has dealers across the country. To locate a dealer nearby, check out their website dealer search page.