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saunas

  • What's the Difference between Hemlock and Red Cedar in Sauna Construction?

    Hemlock

     

    Few people take into consideration the type of wood used in the construction of their home sauna. Believe it or not, the wood is an important factor in your decision making and the production process of your infrared sauna's manufacturer. Producers build saunas using hemlock and red cedar the majority of the time because these woods are strong, resilient, and low in toxicity once they have been kiln dried. As you search for a new infrared sauna for your home, you'll have to decide between hemlock and red cedar. So, what's the difference?

     

    What's considered during Construction?

    When manufacturers are building infrared saunas, there are a number of different characteristics of wood that they take into consideration. Among the most important are the following:

    • Wood toxicity: As alluded to above, toxicity of wood is heavily weighed during the selection process. You use an infrared sauna to flush toxins from your body, so wood needs to respond properly to kiln heating to remove natural oils and resins that could reduce the detox benefits of a sauna.
    • Wood weight: Heavier wood makes the production process of an infrared sauna more expensive because more hardware needs to be used to secure the construction of the sauna.
    • Shrinkage: As your sauna heats up and cools down over time, the wood is bound to crack or splinter. Woods that are more resistant to shrinkage are ideal in providing longer usage life to infrared saunas.
    • Crushing strength: While construction strength and durability of wood are taken into consideration, it is also important to ensure that wood won't crack or give under the pressure of human weight while in use.

     

    Hemlock Infrared Saunas

    Hemlock is one of the most popular types of wood used in the production of infrared saunas. The wood is light in color and comes with a lower cost, making it more affordable from the outset to build saunas using hemlock. On top of that, the heavier weight (compared to red cedar) and greater crushing strength make it less expensive to produce as heavy-duty fixtures aren't required to secure the end product.

    Additionally, hemlock is more resistant to shrinkage, giving it a longer usage life compared to others as it resists cracking and splitting. Finally, hemlock is non-allergenic, non-toxic, and has little to no wood aroma, making it beneficial to your body and creating an enjoyable atmosphere for any users.

     

    Red Cedar Infrared Saunas

    Red cedar is an increasingly popular choice as a construction material for infrared saunas. Red cedar is more expensive to procure, but it is lighter in weight than hemlock and extremely strong in its own right. This means it's less expensive to construct than other wood models because, again, heavy-duty fixtures and hardware aren't often required to build a secure product. Like hemlock, red cedar is non-toxic, though a small percentage of users may experience an allergic reaction to the natural oils and resins in red cedar. Many people find that the intense aroma of red cedar adds a little something extra to the sauna experience.

     

    Whether the Hemlock or Red Cedar Infrared Sauna is right for you, Saunas and Stuff, CA has what you’re looking for. With free shipping to most major Canadian metropolitan areas, Saunas and Stuff makes it easy to purchase a Sauna for your home!

  • Why It’s a Good Idea to Stretch in Your Sauna

    Portrait of sexy woman stretching at sauna

    There are many health benefits one can experience from regular sauna use and some would say there are even more health benefits to be had from regular infrared sauna use. Either way, reaping the benefits from regular sauna use can be enhanced with certain activities, and we’ve got one in mind that anyone can do!

    One word: STRETCH. Stretching is one of the best things that you can do for your body, and it can be even better for you when done during a sauna session. Your stretching doesn’t have to be too extreme, even light stretching to loosen and extend your muscles is beneficial. When you combine the heat from your sauna with the effects of stretching your muscles, you’re increasing the health benefits for your body.

    Heat from your sauna helps to flush out lactic acid in your body, which helps release tension from your muscles. By stretching and sweating from the heat of the sauna, you are loosening up your muscles, increasing your flexibility, as well as flushing out this lactic acid. Whether you’re stretching in a traditional sauna or an infrared sauna, you are bound to reap similar benefits.

    Stretching can be a relaxing form of exercise that works to improve your body as you burn calories. Although it is not an aggressive form of exercise, when you are in the presence of the heat from the sauna, your body has to work harder when stretching, increasing how much you are sweating and the toxins that are released from your body. Although this may seem like it has a relatively low-impact on your body, you’re likely to increase weight loss just by increasing the amount of time you take to stretch during your sauna sessions.

    With weight loss and the release of toxins, you are bound to improve the health of the systems within your body. Stretching is meant to be a relaxing form of exercise and it is often accompanied with meditation. As you stretch and feel better physically, you are more likely to let loose mentally and emotionally too, and give your mind a chance to relax along with your body!

    You’re less likely to put extra wear or tear on your muscles when you stretch in your sauna because your muscles are warmed up by the heat. This helps you avoid pulling muscles by over-extending them before they are warm enough. Your heart is also pumping well, as your blood vessels are dilated from the heat, bringing more oxygen to the muscles and in turn, helping them stretch better.

    From your insides to your outsides, stretching daily through your sauna session can lead to a lot of health improvements and benefits for your body. Your body is your instrument and it is extremely important to take care of it. Carefully try stretching in your sauna to see the difference it can make!

    If you are interested in experiencing the benefits of owning your own home infrared sauna, check out our selection, here! We even ship free to most major Canadian metropolitan areas!

     

  • What to Look for in a Home Sauna

    Saunas_Canada

      The sauna is becoming an increasingly popular home accessory, and many newly-constructed homes have saunas built in. If you are thinking about adding a sauna to your existing home, you want to make sure you get the most for your money.

    Although home saunas require an up-front cost, you will find that they are a great investment in your home. Having a sauna in your own home could mean you spend less on spa treatments and more time relaxing in your own back yard or bathroom oasis. Adding a sauna could even increase the resale value of your home, but only if you know how to be a smart sauna shopper. Here are some things to consider when you start sauna shopping.

     

    Quality Construction

    Your home sauna is only as good as the materials it is made of. If those materials are cheap and shoddy, the constant heat and steam of the sauna environment will quickly take its toll.

    Be sure to take some time to research which kind of wood you want based on look, price and quality. You want to buy the best quality sauna you can afford, keeping in mind that a good home sauna can last for decades.

    Also keep in mind things like hinges and door hardware. Those doors will be opening and closing a lot, and they will need to be able to stand up to lots of moisture and steam. Buying a sauna with top quality construction means you will be able to spend more time relaxing and less time repairing hinges and driving screws.

     

    Type of Wood

    The type of wood in your home sauna is entirely up to you, but it is important to realize that some types of wood are quite fragrant, especially when wet.

    Wood like cedar gives off a distinctive scent. That is great if you love that scent, but not so great if you find the scent rather strong. If you have a friend who owns a red cedar sauna, you might want to spend some time there and see if you like the scent. If so, go right ahead and order one for yourself. If not, you might want to consider a different kind of wood. You may find hemlock a more suitable option.

     

    Adjustable Seating

    This may seem like a small thing, but it can actually be quite important. If you plan to invite friends over to take a steam in your sauna, choosing a model with easily adjustable seating is a very smart idea. You want all of your guests to be comfortable as they relax and unwind in your little corner of paradise.

     

    Traditional vs. Infrared

    There are two types of saunas (traditional and infrared) and they both heat up in different ways, and can give you different experiences. The biggest difference between the two types of saunas is the intensity of the heat. A traditional dry sauna heats up to temperatures between 185 and 195 degrees, while an infrared model tops out between 120 and 150 degrees. A traditional sauna uses a stove to heat the air inside. When water is added to the coals on the stove, you boost the humidity inside the sauna. Infrared saunas, on the other hand, use infrared heating panels that emanate an even intensity of heat into the sauna. Keep these differentiating factors in mind when looking for a sauna for your home.

     

    Saunas & Stuff Canada, has a wide selection of saunas available in different wood finishes. Browse our selection here.

     

     

  • Sauna Sound Therapy

    Sauna Sound Therapy Image by melintelinas via DeviantArt

    Many of our sauna models come with built-in speakers and mp3 inputs. While it's definitely nice to listen to your favorite songs while detoxing, did you know you can use these audio features to benefit your health? It's called sound therapy, and it pairs really well with sauna use.

    Check out our sauna models with built-in mp3 input.

    What is Sound Therapy?

    Sound therapy is the use of any kind of sound to achieve a number of different health benefits. These sounds can be songs--often classical or instrumental music is used, but mellow vocals are also suitable. Sound therapy can often use natural sounds such as rain, trickling water, bird song and so on. Lastly, sound therapy sometimes uses white noise or repetitive sounds such as beeping , chanting, or ringing noises. Regardless of the type of sounds used, it should suit the desired effect.

    What are the Benefits of Sound Therapy?

    The benefits of sound therapy are extensive, ranging from alleviating anxiety to losing weight to developing social skills. Here are just a few of the many ways to use sound therapy:

    • Reducing anxiety
    • Relieving pain -- Songs with personal meaning especially can help reduce pain. Perhaps this is one reason why we listen to music after a break up?
    • Losing weight -- Listening to music while eating slows the rate at which you eat, which causes you to feel fuller while eating less. It can also make your food seem to taste better.
    • Lowering blood pressure and heart rate
    • Increasing blood pressure and heart rate
    • Increasing endorphin levels
    • Relieving muscle tension
    • Improving motor skills
    • Rebuilding physical patterning skills
    • Improving immune function
    • Sharpening mental acuity
    • Assisting in relaxation
    • Enhancing memory and learning
    • Increasing concentration

    And if that's not enough, here's an even bigger list of benefits: http://www.soundtherapyperth.com/benefits/

     

  • Alleviating Restless Leg Syndrome with Infrared Sauna Therapy

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    What is Restless Leg Syndrome?

    Restless Leg Syndrome, or Ekbom's Syndrome, is a neurological condition characterized by uncomfortable sensations in the legs. Sufferers describe these sensations in a variety of ways: like insects crawling inside their legs, as burning or tugging sensation, or like someone is tugging on their leg muscles. The severity can range from merely uncomfortable to extremely painful. There is usually an uncontrollable urge to move the legs in order to experience some relief. Individuals with RLS can experience injuries due to the need to move their legs, can have their ability to walk disturbed during an episode, and often have difficulty falling or staying asleep.

    Women, overweight individuals, and older individuals seem to have higher rates of RLS, and it appears to be genetic, as well.

    What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome?

    Doctors believe RLS may be caused by dopamine imbalances in the brain, and it is thought that sodium levels in the body may also play a large part. Some individuals report increased episodes of RLS after ingesting large amounts of salty foods, and decreased episodes when they abstain from or decrease salt in their diets. There are other factors as well, including hormone levels. It is an issue that likely has multiple factors.

    How is Restless Leg Syndrome Treated?

    Current treatments usually include prescription medication, such as Dopaminergic Agents (which regulate muscle action), Benzodiazepines (which suppress muscle action), and Opiates (which cause relaxation). Sufferers are also advised to increase the iron in their diets, as iron is essential in the creation of dopamine.

    Many people with RLS also increase their intake of other nutrients and vitamins, such as magnesium, and take estrogen to balance their hormone levels.

    Many also use hot tubs, heat pads, and saunas to help alleviate symptoms.

    How Do Infrared Saunas Help Alleviate Restless Leg Syndrome?

    Many RLS sufferers report that their symptoms decrease when they undergo detoxification, either through diet, sauna use, or a combination of the two. There are a few reasons why saunas are helping:

    • Sweating cleanses the body of toxins and salt. High sodium levels seem to worsen RLS, so sweating them out appears to decrease episodes.
    • The high temperatures of a sauna create heat stress in the body, which causes it to release dopamine. This may alleviate dopamine imbalances in the brain and, thusly, alleviate RLS symptoms.
    • Saunas relax the body and mind, and when used an hour or two before bed they help create a deep, restful sleep. The relaxation of the muscles alleviates much of the muscle soreness RLS sufferers experience, and the deep sleep is something most RLS sufferers don't get often enough.

    Check out our line of infrared saunas here and get relief from your RLS symptoms!

    Do you suffer from RLS? Have you found saunas to be useful in alleviating symptoms? Tell us in the comments below!

  • Increasing Muscle Mass Through Sauna Use

    This article is Part Two of our four-part series on the extraordinary effects of hyperthermic conditioning--or heat acclimation--through sauna use on athletic performance and general health. If this series doesn't convince you that a sauna should be a regular part of your health regimen, nothing will! We believe this information is so important, that we are featuring the series on both our Saunas US and Saunas Canada sites.

    This series focuses on and breaks down the information provided by Dr. Rhonda Patrick in her YouTube video "Hyperthermic Conditioning for Hypertrophy, Endurance, and Neurogenesis". See the full video pasted below. Throughout the article, we will direct you to specific points in the video so you can jump straight there.

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    Hyperthermic Conditioning / Heat Acclimation Through Sauna Use

    Heat acclimation--or hyperthermic conditioning--through regular sauna use can have profound effects on health and athletic performance. Specifically, in the following areas:

    1. increasing endurance capacity
    2. increasing muscle mass
    3. improving brain function, including neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells)
    4. causing the effect known as "Runner's High"

    Refer to 1:08 in the video.

    The Effects of Heat Acclimation on Muscle Building (4:40)

    The following effects occur during hyperthermic conditioning through regular sauna use:

    1. The production of heat shock proteins is induced. Heat shock proteins repair muscle damage, convert amino acids into muscle tissue, and increase muscle density.
    2. Growth hormone levels are boosted. Growth hormone is responsible for cell growth and regeneration, and increasing muscle and bone density.
    3. Insulin sensitivity is improved. Insulin is a protein critical to muscle building.

    Muscle Mass Gains Through Sauna Use (6:30)

    It was found that two back-to-back sauna sessions at 80 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes boosts growth hormone levels two-fold.

    Two sauna sessions for one hour per day for a week cause a 16-fold increase in growth hormone levels. That's huge!

    And You'll Live Longer, Too (7:38)

    And if that's not enough, it was also found that heat stress, such as through sauna use, boosts lifespan by as much as 15%.

    Be sure to check out the entire series on heat acclimation/hyperthermic conditioning:

    1. Building Athletic Endurance Through Sauna Use
    2. Increasing Muscle Mass Through Sauna Use
    3. Improving Brain Function Through Sauna Use
    4. The Runner's High Explained
  • Building Athletic Endurance Through Sauna Use

    This article is Part One of our four-part series on the extraordinary effects of hyperthermic conditioning--or heat acclimation--through sauna use on athletic performance and general health. If this series doesn't convince you that a sauna should be a regular part of your health regimen, nothing will! We believe this information is so important, that we are featuring the series on both our Saunas US and Saunas Canada sites.

    This series focuses on and breaks down the information provided by Dr. Rhonda Patrick in her YouTube video "Hyperthermic Conditioning for Hypertrophy, Endurance, and Neurogenesis". See the full video pasted below. Throughout the article, we will direct you to specific points in the video so you can jump straight there.

    --------

    Hyperthermic Conditioning / Heat Acclimation Through Sauna Use

    Heat acclimation--or hyperthermic conditioning--through regular sauna use can have profound effects on health and athletic performance. Specifically, in the following areas:

    1. increasing endurance capacity
    2. increasing muscle mass
    3. improving brain function, including neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells)
    4. causing the effect known as "Runner's High"

    Refer to 1:08 in the video.

    The Effects of Heat Acclimation on Endurance (1:49)

    The following effects occur during hyperthermic conditioning:

    1. blood flow to muscles is increased, delivering nutrients and reducing dependence on glycogen stores during periods of activity, such as running
    2. blood flow to the heart is increased, reducing strain and heart rate, which allows activity to be maintained over a longer period of time
    3. blood flow to the skin increases, which aids in heat dissipation and helps keep the body's core temperature lower

    Endurance Gains Through Sauna Use (3:22)

    It was discovered that twelve 30-minute sauna sessions twice a week after an intense run led to a 32% increase in the distance run before exhaustion was reached, as well as a 7% increase in plasma volume and a 3.5% increase in red blood cell count, which aids in oxygenating muscles during exercise.

    Heat acclimation through regular sauna sessions can help athletes improve overall endurance, particularly for cardio-related activities.

    Be sure to check out the entire series on heat acclimation/hyperthermic conditioning:

    1. Building Athletic Endurance Through Sauna Use
    2. Increasing Muscle Mass Through Sauna Use
    3. Improving Brain Function Through Sauna Use
    4. The Runner's High Explained
  • 2014 Sauna Trends

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    Shower/Sauna Combo in Home Bathrooms

    Via Freshome.com Via Freshome.com

    A shower/sauna "cabin" adds instant glam to your bathroom--and practicality. The sauna is just big enough for one (or two people who really like each other). Afterwards, just take one step to rinse off. It saves space, maximizes the resources in that section of the room (electricity, plumbing) and turns your bathroom into a spa retreat.

    Outdoor Saunas

    2014 Sauna Trends via interiorsigndesign.com/

    Traditionally, that's where saunas were built: outside. However, in recent years saunas have moved indoors into spas, gyms, and private homes. Now they are shifting back outside again. This return to the outdoors frees up space in the home, adds value to the property, and is a lot more attractive than a shed in the back yard. Some people are even using the top of their outdoor saunas as gardens or green spaces.

    Floating Saunas

    outdoor sauna or indoor sauna photo by Härmägeddon via Wikimedia Commons

    Saunas floating on the water are turning up over and over again in the news this year. With playful structures like this "saunalautta" floating around and causing scandal in lakeside communities, you're sure to hear more about these as they pop up all over. Seattle has plans to launch several onto the waters of Lake Washington later this year. These uprooted saunas provide a refuge away and create new ways to use water spaces. Very luxurious!

    Noticed any sauna trends you think we should know about? Leave a comment below!

     

  • Cold Plunges and Saunas

    cold plunges and saunas photo by Math at hu.wikipedia

    Cold and cool water plunges have long been a popular part of using a sauna. Users often  cool off in a shower or pool throughout their sauna session and afterwards. In warm weather, sessions may begin with a cold rinse. Cold plunges are not to be confused with polar plunges--cold plunges are usually kept around 50 to 55 degrees, and polar plunges are usually at freezing temperatures.

    Cold Plunges Have Been Around a Long Time

    The history of cold plunges go all the way back to the fifth century B.C.  Ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks all used cold baths for health reasons. For more than 1000 years, Scandinavians have taken post-sauna plunges and plunge pools have been used as part of treatment in Chinese medicine.

    What are the Health Benefits of Cold Plunges?

    Cold plunges are used by sauna users and athletes alike for their rejuvenating benefits. It is believed that cold plunges have the following health benefits:

    • The cold shock causes the body to release norepinephrine--a stress hormone and neurotransmitter--and epinephrine (also known as adrenaline), which causes a sense of invigoration.
    • Going from hot to cold elevates the pulse rate and increases circulation.
    • Following a sauna session with a cold shower has been shown to reduce rheumatoid arthritis pain and improve circulation, which reduces vasoconstriction and hypertension.
    • Cold immersion improves the body's antioxidant capabilities and increases white blood cells.
    • The body's resistance to respiratory infections improves .
    • Recovery time from exercise aches and pains is reduced.
    • Immersion in cold water causes the release of cytokines and other chemicals that can boost the immune system.
    • The cold water activates nerves in the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system controls involuntary muscles like the heart. Repeated use of cold plunges can stabilize blood pressure.

    Cold Plunges are not for Everyone

    Rapid temperature changes can shock the system, which makes cold plunges potentially dangerous for some individuals. People with cardiac problems and blood-pressure issues, as well as pregnant women, should avoid cold plunges.

     

  • Saunas in the Movies

    What better way to get pumped up for a steam in the sauna than by watching some movies with saunas in them? Here's a list of flicks that might get you in the sauna mood.

    Sauna in Another World: Spirited Away

    In this charming movie, a young girl finds herself in a strange world where she must work at a bathhouse run by a witch. While the clientele in the film soak in big bathtubs, there's plenty of steam and a definite sauna atmosphere.

     

    Sauna in A Foreign Land: Lost in Translation

    In one scene, Bill Murray's character spends some time in a sauna with two German-speaking men (they are talking about papayas, by the way). He later leaves the sauna for a cool soak in a tub of water. Aahh!

     

    Sauna in an Unlikely Place: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

    Another one with Bill Murray! In this Wes Anderson film, Bill Murray's character lives on an improbably submarine, complete with a library and a sauna. It looks more like a steambath to me, but let's not split hairs.

     

    Sauna as Musical Allusion: The Blues Brothers

    In one scene, the brothers sit in a sauna together. The scene is an allusion to the Blood Sweat & Tears album "No Sweat" (some tunes for the sauna, perhaps?). The Blues Brothers scene poses the cast identically to the album cover.

     

    For a longer list of movies with saunas in them, check out this list here. Remember: don't take video devices or any other electronics into a sauna unless they have been specifically designed for sauna use. Otherwise, happy viewing!

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