The Physics
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Temperature of a Sauna

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Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
"Sauna." World Book 2007 Edition. "The temperature in the room ranges from 176 to 212 F (80°C to 100°C)." 80–100°C
Steamist Sauna Heaters. Installation Guide and Owner's Manual. 2006. "A suitable temperature for the sauna room is 150-194 degrees F." 66–90°C
Air Force Manual 34-137. Air Force Fitness and Sports Programs. 7 April 1995. "Temperature. Use the following guidelines to ensure temperatures are set correctly: Sauna: 170–180 degrees Fahrenheit, 5% relative humidity." 77–82°C
Rogers, Sherry. "Detoxify or Die." The Superior Sauna: FIRS (Far Infrared Sauna). page 199 quoted in Soft Sauna Fact Sheet. "But more importantly, you haven't forced the body to bear very high temperatures (160 degrees and higher), pulling chemicals back into the bloodstream where they can duplicate original symptoms." > 71°C

A sauna is usually a small, wooden, room or facility that is designed to relax its occupants through sweating. These days, saunas can be seen as ideal places for social gatherings or a unique pastime. Some saunas have recently even been used for rehabilitating drug addicts due to a saunas' alleged "detoxing attributes".

No matter the purpose, saunas all generally work the same. Saunas can reach temperatures of about 90 °C and still remain comfortable due to their low humidity. Saunas utilize dry or wet heat for these high temperatures. The steam comes into play when water is poured onto warm rocks, which generates steam and helps controls the humidity in the sauna.

Proper etiquette encourages that users usually use some sort of cloth or robe while inside the sauna for sanitary purposes. It is recommended that individuals not spend extended amounts of time inside the sauna since complications involving dizziness, nausea, or fainting may occur. In fact, some boxers purposely stay in a sauna for a long period of time to sweat profusely and temporarily lose weight so that they may fill the weight requirement before registering for a boxing match. They; however, are not exempt from the symptoms of prolonged exposure in a sauna.

Recent medical breakthroughs have made saunas a viable solution for certain heart patients, eliminating the need to constantly pile up on medication after medication. A special sauna is used called the far infrared sauna (FIRS). Unlike its predecessors, it emits Far Infrared Ray radiation without actually heating up the air.

Despite its original purpose, the sauna has evolved over the years to serve several purposes other than for relaxation. Keeping this in mind, it comes as no surprise that saunas are as popular as they are now. Be it in a spa, an outdoor shack, or even in a person's own home; saunas are practically everywhere and have become a way of life for countless people.

Andrew Zheng -- 2007

Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
"Sauna." World Book 2005 Ed. "In a sauna, stones are heated on top of a furnace. The temperature in the room ranges from 176 to 212°F (80 to 100°C)." 80–100°C
Avalon [pdf]. Electric Sauna Heater Operator's Manual. If sauna heater operates, but sauna room does not come up to sauna temperature (160–185 ° normal Sauna temperature) 71–85°C
SaunaGen [pdf]. InfraRed Sauna Operator Manual. 2004. "Set the temperature and time to a comfortable level, normally, 30 minutes at 49 °C." 49 °C
The Finnish Sauna Society. 2004. "In the old smoke saunas the temperature varied from about 50 to 75°C (122 to 167°F)." 50–75°C
"The recommendation now is 80–90°C (176–194°F) with moderate humidity, but in many saunas today the temperature exceeds 100°C (212°F), at least at the beginning." 80–90°C

Feel the need to relax after a stressful day? Today, many hotels and spas include a room widely known as the sauna. The sauna is most closely associated with Finland but its origin remains unclear. Nonetheless, its health and relaxation purposes attract users around the world.

A typical assumption of the sauna is that it is quite steamy; however, this is untrue. Saunas are actually heat baths by which one uses it for better health and stress relief. Saunas utilize the means of dry heat, maintaining a low humidity of under 25%, to provide a comfortable environment. It would be more comfortable in a 100°C sauna than on a hot summer day with 90% humidity. When the sauna becomes too dry, the humidity can be controlled by pouring water on the rocks. The steam produced will increase the humidity and provide a better comfort level. A sauna user usually showers before and after entering the sauna room. After one is done in the sauna, one would then cool off by swimming in the lake, or by rolling in snow. A small precaution is that people with heart disease should not cool off immediately after the sauna. A rapid decrease in body temperature would increase high blood pressure, better known as hypertension. A person with heart problems should rather cool off by a gradual change.

In traditional Finnish sauna, one would behave the same way as in a church. It is not only healthy but spiritual. The sauna is seen to be healthy and relaxing place. Perhaps that it is due to this very reason, it is now a major attraction in most hotels and spas today.

Himtang Wong -- 2005