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sauna

Nov 1, 2012   //   by wvanbusk   //   sauna  //  Comments Off on sauna

  • Design
  • Build
  • Use

 

 

Background

Sauna is a word of Finnish origin. I’m not Finnish, but I can be classified as Northern European, mostly Danish or Scottish, dependent on name origin or blood lines. Actually, I’m pretty much American mutt since both side of our family can be traced back in America for hundreds of years. I’m not sure where my affinity for the sauna comes from, but I think it has more to do with my earliest sauna experience in the  70’s and 80’s in California, than with my Northern European heritage. Being young, impressionable and maybe a bit adventurous or irresponsible, I took some of my early sauna sessions to some extremes with high and low temperatures, long duration’s and copious sweat and goose bump production.

My first saunas were taken at The Sea Ranch in Sonoma County California, which is near the town of Gualala, where my sister now lives. Now the best feature of the sauna at the original Ohlson recreation center at The Sea Ranch was the cold plunge. This was a unique cold plunge, because it was indoors and below the sauna. I remember that it was possible to go directly from one of the saunas into the cold plunge via a slide down into the plunge, which was at a lower level. Another feat, which I had also considered fun, was to see how long I could stay in the cold water, at the bottom, while holding my breath, with my arms and legs used to wedged my body on the walls of the plunge pool. I would listen to my heart slow down and feel the tingle as the surface of my skin rapidly cooled. These slides and plunges have since been removed, I think for obvious liability reasons.

I first considered building my own sauna after my college friend, Oliver, built a kit sauna at his father’s home in San Francisco East Bay area. It was basically a ceder closet on the patio in the backyard, with a hose for cooling down. This was a very different experience from my earlier experiences, but I still enjoyed it. Both of these saunas has electric heaters and water to put on the heated rocks. What really got me going on sauna building was the gift of a Finlandia (Harvia) sauna heater kit from Oliver. It took a few years to develop and build a satisfying bath house for my own home sauna, which is nearly done at the time of beginning this writing. This web site is to help other sauna lovers learn about this type of bath and provide some documentation for my “do it yourself” (DIY) bath house project.