To Sauna, or not to Sauna?


I should advise you, dear reader, that this post is mostly informative.  As  I started typing I worried about how I might be able to make this an interesting, entertaining post.  I mean, it’s not the Truman Show-esqe glimpse into my being, like some of my other recent pieces.  Then I slapped myself across the face.  A post does not need to be entertaining to be worth reading.  (That said, I have got a juicy, 2,500 word epic sat in the drafts that I’m aiming to publish at some point next week – it just feels too soon after England’s World Cup disappointment to put you through that).

At least 50% of people think it’s ridiculous when they find out that I recently bought a sauna for my rented apartment.  30% don’t seem to know what to make of it.  The enlightened remainder think it’s awesome.   I’m unaffected by such judgments.  Spend 30-40 minutes in my pride and joy, and you’ll soon change your mind, and your underpants (if you’re wearing underpants..).  It gets hot and sweaty in there, folks.

The decision to purchase an infra-red sauna was a surprisingly easy one.  I started paying for 45 minute sessions at a ‘sauna shop’ on Bondi road.  No, it wasn’t a brothel.  After 3 or 4 sessions I was hooked, I always felt amazing afterwards.  I didn’t like the exorbitant cost, but I presumed buying one for my rented apartment was unachievable.  I was wrong.  For $1,900, I had a one-person, Canadian Hemlock sauna delivered up from Melbourne.

It turned up flat-packed in three fairly sizeable boxes.  I’d been out for drinks that evening, so when I arrived home, fairly inebriated, I did what any drunk person would do.  I unpacked it all.

Now, even a one-person sauna is quite a substantial bit of kit, so having removed the wooden panels from their cardboard suitcases, there was simply no way I could leave it strewn in pieces all over the living room.   The instructions stated that putting it together was a two-person job.  Balls to that.  It would be an entertaining YouTube clip to watch me putting that thing together, stumbling around half-drunk, completely failing to heed the assembly notes.  By some miracle, however, just a mere two hours later, and sweating profusely, my throne was erected.  I stripped off, stepped in, and sweated some more.

I woke up with a slight hangover that next morning, so I dived back in for a quick 30-minute bake.  Finished it off with a cold shower and made my way into work.  I felt amazing.  No hangover. No tiredness after 6 hours sleep.  I was a fan.

I bought the sauna on gut-instinct, having chanced upon that shop near my home, and how it made me feel.  I did no prior research into the science of why it made me feel good.  However now I own one, I’ve been researching some of the other touted benefits.  This isn’t a story about me buying a sauna.  It’s a suggestion that you may want to consider getting one for your own home.  I’m looking at you, the cynical 80%.  Here’s why:

Sauna makes you happy: There are studies such as this one to prove it so.  Or, you could just take my word for it.  Waking up in the morning, jumping out of bed, and jumping into the sauna puts a smile on my face.

Increased detoxification: It’s a fact; we live in a toxic world – especially those of us living in cities.  Which is most of us.  This study found a total of 287 chemicals in umbilical cord blood (from a sample group of 10 North American babies), of which, 180 are known to cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests.

Holy f**king sh*t, right? Re-read that above paragraph.

Why have I used this study as an example?  Well, expectant mothers are generally the most careful about what they put into their body, and the mother’s body is pretty darn good at protecting the fragile, unborn child.  Despite this, 287 chemicals made it into the babies’ food pipe.  It’s scary stuff.

I described some recent health problems I’ve experienced in my second post.  You read stuff like this and it’s not hard to understand why we’re experiencing a spiraling health crisis in large swathes of the planet’s population.  Without packing up and moving to the forest (what forest?), it’s going to be hard to avoid the chemical ‘wash’ that today’s civilisation burdens us with.  So what can we do?  We can detox.

The skin is key to detoxifying your body via sweat pathways.  The more you sauna, the more you sweat, and the better you become at sweating.  End result.  A less toxic you.  Win.

NOTE: Do not use a sauna if you are pregnant, or have an existing medical condition – check with your doctor.

Hangover Killer: Pretty obvious given the point above.  I’ve had a number of opportunities to test this out over the past month.  Having consumed too much vino on a school night; I’ve dragged my sorry self into the sauna armed with a litre of water and hope for the future.  It works.  I invariably emerge feeling like a new man, albeit a sweaty new man.  Quick cold shower to follow, and I bounce out of the apartment, ready to tackle the day.  This one justifies the expense on its own in my view.

Increased Longevity: This Finnish study proved that regular sauna use (4-7 times per week) resulted in the risk of heart disease or heart attack being halved.

Sauna can make you smarter: Studies have shown that heat stress increases a number of key hormones such as prolactin, norepinepherine and brain-derived neurotrophic factor.  All 3 are linked to improved brain function.  Here’s one such study

Sauna will give you nice skin: In the month or so of procuring my sauna, I’ve had 3 compliments on my skin.  I’m a dude – people don’t compliment men on their skin, or at least, it’s unusual.  Of course, I do also have my diet on point, which helps.

Reduced muscle soreness/inflammation: Feeling a bit stiff after a big gym sesh?  Feeling a bit ‘achey’ with the contraction of a cold/flu virus?  Neck on a 30 degree angle after sleeping at a funny angle?  No problem if you’ve got an infra red sauna lying about.

Talking point: Owning a sauna is unusual.  As far as I’m aware, I am the only person I know who has one, to date.  I’ve had all manner of entertaining conversations around this purchase.  Everyone has an opinion on it.  I see a future where humanity is split between those who have access to a sauna and those who don’t.  Make sure you’re on the right side of that divide.  Yep, they’re that good.

More than enough reasons for you to jump onto the ‘bandwagon’ up there.  I’m sure there are other benefits too.

Ps. this is the supplier who provided mine.

They currently have a 15% sale on, so you can pick up a one-person unit for $1,600 in Australia.  Comes with a 3 year warranty.  All those health benefits for the price of a long haul flight. Madness!

No, I’m not on commission.

Happy Sauna’ing.

6 comments on “To Sauna, or not to Sauna?”

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