Sophisticated home-based sauna systems offer health benefits and style. By Deborah Geiger

While the positive benefits of regular sauna use—from clearer skin to reduced stress to weight loss—have long been noted by sauna devotees, only recently have these factors been recognized by the medical community. So it makes sense that a new wave of increasingly sophisticated home sauna systems have become available in recent years, offering not only the most effective sauna technology but also the high style people are after.

“There are two kinds of saunas—those that use convection heat like an oven, which warm the air, and the other, which is infrared. Infrared saunas are more effective at detoxification because they penetrate from the inside out, allowing cells to detoxify at a greater level,” says Samantha Rader of Sunlighten, an Overland Park, Kansas-based sauna firm. “In addition, there are heart benefits. Infrared saunas help to lower blood pressure, reduce pain and inflammation, and are great for arthritis.”

Brought to the U.S. more than 400 years ago by an influx of a Nordic population, “sauna” remains the only Finnish word in the English language. Yet saunas are extremely familiar, available in almost every health club and gym. “Coming from Finland, the sauna is a part of my everyday life,” says Kalevi Ruuska, president of the Fishkill, New York-based North American Sauna Society. “The benefits of sauna use have been proven by clinical studies. It helps one to relax from stress, which is good for you. Many illnesses are related to stress.”

But stress no more. With a wide range of offerings in today’s home sauna market, all sizes, scopes, and styles are available—and they’re getting more luxurious by the minute.

“Sunlighten’s mPulse is the world’s first biofeedback sauna. It measures your biorhythms and calories burned, then sends the information to a website that allows you to track your health goals. You can specialize your program,” Rader states. “The mPulse is the most luxurious in terms of amenities; it offers a touchscreen interface and has multimedia capabilities; a Bauhaus-inspired design; and is the only sauna to offer eco-conscious materials. It’s the Rolls-Royce of Saunas.”

The Get Marine Sauna

You swam with the proverbial sharks: now it’s time to sauna with them. Sweden-based Nordic Marine Sauna recently unveiled the “Marine Sauna,” an innovative floating sauna that allows for the ultimate sauna experience: a spectacular 360-degree underwater vista. The one-of-a-kind creation is wood-heated and has been carefully developed to be fireproof and to achieve optimal ventilation and humidity. Appointed with double-glass windows, a sea-level floor, and the unique sub-sea floor-hatch area, the Marine Sauna is available in six sizes and types, ranging in design and capacity. The floating wonder is recommended for a pond, lake, or archipelago environment—shark-free, of course. —D.G.