I am interested in integrating anything into my life that is sustainable and will simultaneously help elevate my performance and healthspan. After reading about the benefits of sauna use by one of my favorite scientists, Dr. Rhonda Patrick, 3 years later, I finally have a sauna in my basement. It took me such a long time mostly because I’m cheap, but also because of the trial and error I went through.
I started with buying a pre-owned, but unused stove for very little from a neighbor. As per all of the Finnish studies cited by Dr. Patrick, it had to be a stove that could heat the room to above 80 degrees C. This stove met that criteria easily. Then I proceeded to build an outdoor structure my wife would allow on the patio. When the structure was nearing completion, I started reading the stove manual in preparation for installation…. I know, I know! The stove required a structure more than double the size of what I built or was permitted to build. Plan A failed with a lesson learned, but it still stands! I’m too cheap to demo it. I’m trying to convince my wife to allow me to remove the walls and convert it to an outdoor year-round barbeque cookhouse.
Plan B was now even more cost sensitive due to Plan A’s crash and burn. I turned to my Alibaba account to source a manufacturer with a single minimum order quantity for a small sauna to fit in my basement. There were many, but only a few with stove upgrades sufficient to provide those temperatures. I settled on a 2-person sauna with a glass front so I could distract myself from being cooked alive with a TV program. Not exactly the earthy wilderness sauna experience, but it works for me. It has a Finnish Harvia stove appropriate for the structure size, but there was one more obstacle – the electrical. The Finnish stove required 220V electrical which I could get from my dryer outlet. North American 220V has 2X110V feeds (4 wires total: 2 hot, 1 neutral, 1 ground). This stove only had 3 wires and only 1 for the hot feed. Stumped, I offered my neighbor, who’s an air conditioning and heating technician, a case of beer if he could help. He had it hooked up and running in 5 minutes and taught me how to rig it if I ever move. SUCCESS! It ramps up to 80 deg C in about 20 minutes.
All in, including my foiled start, the project cost me less than $1500 plus some sweat equity. Now I use it 3X/week for 30 minutes, and here’s WHY in two short videos from Rhonda Patrick.