There are over a million large saunas installed nationwide. Along with a long list of health benefits comes a darker side. They have intimately shared, warm and moist surfaces in tight enclosed spaces, bare skin, minimal fresh air, and no restrictions on who may enter and anything they may be carrying and no guarantee they showered before entering. And even at end of the day, is every square inch thoroughly disinfected or simply wiped down?
Saunas are a breeding ground for germs. A safe haven.
For thousands of years many parts of the world have used these as a form of whole-body thermotherapy for improved hygiene, health, and social purposes (Hussain, Cohen). While there can be many health benefits associated with its use, what are the risks, and can they be avoided?
Sauna bathing, as many call it, has the potential to provide extravagant benefits not only to your body but your mind. Benefits from a meta-analysis conclude it helps with a variety of problems most will face as they age. From cardiovascular health, immunity and hormone pathways, as well as excretion of toxins from your sweat. While further studies are required to fully explore the psychological, physiological and metabolic effects, the data appears to be nothing but good news.
Sauna’s look the same to the naked eye whether they’re brand new or 5 years old. But under a microscope we can see bacteria, fungi, and viruses. While most germs won’t survive the temperatures of saunas that hit around 150°F in ambient air, surfaces have to be much cooler so we don’t get burned. And with most visitors sporting little more than a towel and barefoot, there’s a lot of surface areas for bodily fluids to spread germs.
Once a sauna has been vacuumed and wiped with detergent to remove visible dirt, manual disinfection typically involves a spray bottle and wipes. Spots get missed, and worse, it is a thankless task because nobody will know if you’ve done a thorough job or not.
With an autonomous disinfection system such as EPIC iO AURA, you can have a clean start each morning. Each evening, when shutting down your sauna systems, plug in your EPIC iO AURA system. Overnight it will automatically disinfect the room, killing well over 99.% of dangerous pathogens. Then in the morning, unplug and remove the unit so your customers can enjoy a safe environment.
Cohen M. Turning up the heat on COVID-19: heat as a therapeutic intervention. F1000Res. 2020 Apr 24;9:292. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.23299.2. PMID: 32742639; PMCID: PMC7372531.
Hussain J, Cohen M. Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018 Apr 24;2018:1857413. doi: 10.1155/2018/1857413. PMID: 29849692; PMCID: PMC5941775.
- Used to maintain health and treat variety of ills – Peräsalo J. Traditional use of the sauna for hygiene and health in Finland. Ann Clin Res. 1988;20(4):220-3. PMID: 3218891.
- Traditional sauna rooms noted as perfectly healthy and sanitary as long as they’re maintained properly. -Huffpost – https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-sanitary-are-steam-rooms-saunas_n_5aba9254e4b04a59a3121b51
- Good saunas have special latches/vents for air circulation to prevent molds -Huffpost
- “Wounds left uncovered are an easy for germs to get inside the body” -Huffpost
- 4 types of saunas
- 150-195°F avg temps
- Is exercise combined with saunas in a life extender? Does one do more than the other?