1. A Finnish beginning – The original Finnish saunas were pits dug into the ground in which a fire was created to heat stones. By throwing water over them, steam could be generated to increase the overall pit temperature.
2. Wood – During the Industrial Revolution in the late-18th century saunas evolved to use a metal woodstove with a chimney. This enabled temperatures to be increased up to 90°C (194°F).
3. Modern – Modern saunas can approach 100°C (212°F) as they have systems to control their humidity. If this wasn’t controlled people could be scalded by the air temperature.
4. Sauna vs steam room – Although saunas and steam rooms can sometimes be confused, they are different. Saunas can produce both dry and wet heat, while steam rooms can only produce wet heat.
5. Splashing out – The best saunas come equipped with a dedicated plunge pool or cold showering unit. These are recommended to cool the body back down to normal after the intense heat.