Writing for New Life Journal, Massage and Body Therapist Linda Davis notes the body detoxifies by expelling waste through open pores as sweat glands start to excrete during the intense heat of a sauna.
A home sauna is not only a doable project, but brings with it benefits such as privacy, convenience, economy, and accessibility. It could be just the right complement to a home gym and a way to relax after a good workout.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Measuring tape
- Framing lumber
- Sauna heater
Plan the dimensions of your sauna. If you want to lie down inside of it, you'll need a larger space than if you prefer to sit as you sweat.
Frame the space with 2-by-4 lumber. You can skip this step if you've decided to convert a small room or closet in your home into a sauna. However, if you want to create a new space, for instance in the corner of your basement, you should make sure the structure is sound.
Make the ceiling approximately 7 feet high in order to allow for enough headroom but avoid heating excess space.
Place fibreglass insulation in the stud cavities. This will keep the heat inside the sauna. Be sure to add a moisture barrier on top of the insulation.
Panel the interior of the sauna with tongue-and-groove wood, kiln-dried. Cedar, white spruce, aspen, hemlock, and redwood have good insulation properties and can handle the temperature and humidity changes you'll experience inside the sauna.
Install the heat panels, wiring them to a junction box near the thermostat. Do this before you finish the outside of the sauna to give yourself extra elbowroom.
Finish the exterior of the sauna if you've built a freestanding unit. This is not only for cosmetic purposes but to add to the insulation properties of the sauna.
Hang the door and don't try for an airtight fit. While you can add a layer of wood panelling for insulation, you will want a little ventilation.
Tips and warnings
- Use tongue and groove panelling inside the sauna so you can hide the nail heads. While it's cosmetically more pleasing, it will also to protect you from accidentally touching hot metal and burning yourself.
- Use aluminium nails so they don't corrode in the humid atmosphere of the sauna.
- Shop around for a good sauna heat panel. The size of the unit you'll need depends on the dimensions of your sauna.
- You can build benches from leftover lumber or purchase them.
- You can create a steam tent if you want to sample the benefits of a sauna before investing in the work and money. Bring a gallon of water to a simmer and place it in a large bowl or pot over a thick towel in your bathroom. Place a chair over the bowl, take off your clothes, and drape a woollen blanket over yourself, the chair and the bowl. Breathe deeply for 20 minutes.
- Consult with your physician before beginning regular sauna sessions, especially if you are pregnant or have high blood pressure or heart disease.
- Do not stay in a sauna longer than 30 minutes and leave sooner if you feel dizzy.
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- Popular Science" magazine; Build your own Sauna? No Sweat; A. J. Hand; September 1972
- "Popular Science" magazine; Tuck a Mini Sauna into a Corner... or a Closet; Darrell Huff; September 1970
- "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Massage"; Joan Budilovsky and Eve Adamson; 1998
- "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Detoxing Your Body"; Delia Quigley; 2008
- "New Life Journal" magazine; Discover the Fountain of Youth; What's a Fundamental Way to Detoxify; Linda Davis; February-March 2002
- HomeTips: Choosing Sauna Wood