Sweating has long been used as a therapy. The Mayans used sweat houses 3,000 years ago, according to Harvard Health Publications. In Finland, saunas have been used for thousands of years, and 1 in 3 Finns still use them. In the United States (U.S.), there are thought to be over a million saunas.

The main benefits proposed for saunas are for relaxation and cardiovascular health. However, a sauna may not be suitable for everyone.

Types of saunas

There are several types of sauna, based on how the room is heated.

These include:

Wood burning: Wood is used to heat the sauna room and sauna rocks. Wood-burning saunas are usually low in humidity and high in temperature.

Electrically heated: Similar to wood-burning saunas, electrically-heated saunas have high temperatures and low humidity. An electrical heater, attached to the floor, heats the sauna room.

Infrared room: Far-infrared saunas (FIRS) are different to wood-burning and electrically-heated saunas. Special lamps use light waves to heat a person’s body, not the entire room. Temperatures are typically lower than other saunas, but the person sweats in a similar way. Usually, infrared saunas are about 60° Celsius.

Steam room: These are different from saunas. Instead of dry heat, a steam room involves high humidity and moist heat.