Infrared Sauna Accessories – what’s available and what do you need?
Wondering what infrared sauna accessories might be helpful? On this page you’ll find a run-down on sauna accessories available and help deciding what to get...or not.
While most home sauna rooms come pre-equipped with what you really need — like a thermometer and timer — it’s helpful to know what else available.
Is there an important sauna accessory you’re missing?
The majority of personal infrared home saunas come pre-equipped with what I would consider the three most “essential” infrared sauna accessories – that is: lighting, a thermometer, and a timer. Beyond those three, you’ll be able to make do with what you have on-hand at home to have a great sauna session
(see how to take a sauna)
You may discover a few infrared sauna accessories in the list below, however, that could make your sauna experience better for you:
Here’s what’s available as infrared sauna accessories:
1. Temperature gauges and humidity gauges
2. Timers and hourglasses
3. Racks, shelves and hooks to place things on
4. Towels and wraps to cover-up and dry yourself with
5. Brushes, simulated birch branch whisks (‘vihta’—see Finnish saunas), and soaps to stimulate circulation and exfoliate and hydrate the skin
6. CD players, stereos, speakers to pipe music in
7. Materials to keep the sauna clean and dry.
8. Tools to produce therapeutic effects: ionizers, ozonators, color therapy (and shades for your light bulb).
• For traditional sauna users (not really infrared sauna accessories): humidity gauges and buckets and ladles to throw water on the sauna rocks and create humidity and loyly
(see Finnish saunas).
Temperature gauges– the essential thermometer and optional hygrometer
A thermometer is an essential for any home sauna, and most personal home infrared saunas come with one built in. Even if you’re building your own home sauna room, you can expect the control panel you’ll be buying to include a thermometer. Gauging the sauna room temperature is especially important for beginners gradually working up their tolerance to the heat.
Note that infrared saunas are generally only designed to produce a temperature of up to 140º F or a bit higher. The full effect of infrared sauna bathing doesn’t require a temperature any higher than this
(see fir saunas)
Measuring humidity isn’t necessary in an infrared sauna. The heaters that infrared saunas use produce a more deeply-penetrating—and circulation enhancing—heat wave than traditional sauna stoves do. And unlike the stove and heated rock combination you see in a traditional sauna, the infrared sauna user does not need to create steam—as is done by splashing water on the sauna stones in a traditional sauna—to promote circulation.
Timers and hourglasses
It’s best to have a timer in the sauna that all users can see easily. This is one of the essential infrared sauna accessories. An hourglass can be a nice touch, too. With an hourglass, you don’t have to remember what time you plan on getting out, you can just wait for the sand to run out in however many minutes—say, 20—that the hourglass is set to measure.
Shelves, magazine racks, and hooks
I don’t happen to have any racks or hooks in my sauna, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be useful. I place my water bottle next to my feet on the towel I have covering the floor, and place any other things I’ve brought into the sauna with me beside me on the bench. But that’s because I have a two-person sauna which I generally use alone.
When you’re two in the sauna, or using a one-person sauna, you may find yourself tight on space if you bring reading materials, extra towels and drinks into the sauna with you. A couple of well-placed little shelves and hooks as infrared sauna accessories can then be a big help.
Towels and Wraps
Even though you probably have many towels at home already, you may find yourself wanting several more to sit on and place under your feet in the sauna.
I found I needed several extra towels for my ir sauna because I quickly found that using towels to sit on and place my feet on was the best way to keep my sauna clean and fresh. Every time I use the home sauna, I sit on a few layers of towels and fold a large towel lengthwise and cover the floor beneath my feet with it.
Once you get to the point where you sweat freely and profusely in the sauna (which can take some time, especially if your sweating mechanism has been damaged by exposure to certain chemicals—like pesticides), you’ll need to bring a towel of two into the sauna with you just to wipe off your sweat periodically. I soak at least one towel per sauna session just by toweling off my sweat!
If you want to use your sauna for an intensive sauna detoxification program, then I’d definitely recommend you sweat onto towels instead of onto the sauna bench and floor so you can keep your sweat from penetrating into, staining and soiling the sauna wood. Think of your towels as infrared sauna accessories that serve a double function - helping you towel down and keeping your home sauna clean.
As far as sauna-wear niceties go, you can get yourself a comfy towel wrap designed with a Velcro closure of you like. These towel garments stay wrapped around your upper chest or waist and help preserve your modesty while coming and going from the sauna. Absorbent. non-slip sauna slippers (such as washable terry cloth slippers) can be very nice, too.
Some Finnish home textile companies make special linen sauna seat covers, foot mats and towels. These are designed to be extra hardy, but we’re not sure just how absorbent they are (be sure to ask). I find I need a few layers of towel (actually one big towel folded in three on top of another towel spread along the whole bench) underneath me to keep sweat from soaking through to the bench. I’m not sure one layer of linen could keep my bench and floor dry.
Brushes, simulated birch branch whisks (‘vihta’—see Finnish saunas), and soaps
For stimulating blood circulation to the skin and rubbing off dead skin cells (exfoliating), brushing the skin or smacking it with leafy tree branches is an age-old sauna custom. Nowadays, a loofah sponge is also popular.
Most sauna users interested in bringing circulation to the skin use long-handled brushes with soft natural fibers to scrub their skin before or after using the sauna. The traditional Finnish sauna tool for skin stimulation, though, has been the vihta—a whisk of leafy early-summer birch twigs. Believe it or not, you can by a simulated vihta now—so no need to have access to your own birch trees as has traditionally been so common in Finland!
Materials to keep the sauna clean and dry.
There are two categories of materials designed to keep your sauna clean: products that cover the surfaces you sit on or may drip sweat onto (like the floor), and products to preserve or clean the wood of the sauna interior.
We’ve already covered sauna seat covers (absorbent towels or special linens) above. We believe in placing a couple of thicknesses of towels under the feet in your personal home infrared sauna, too, to keep the floor clean and dry.
Also available as infrared sauna accessories, are slatted wooden floors to place over your floor (to keep the floor drier and less slippery) or plastic sauna floor mats (nonslip and able to be washed clean). I would advise avoiding any plastic matting or other synthetic that might outgas chemicals into the sauna room space –after all, detoxification is one of the prime functions of sauna bathing, so you want to avoid breathing in any unwanted chemicals while you’re in the sauna.
As for the slatted wood flooring, this still doesn’t protect your sweat from reaching and soiling the wood floor underneath. This is why we place a couple of layers of towels on the floor—the towels can be easily washed, leaving your sauna floor fresh and clean. Same for the benches.
Preserving the wood of the sauna benches and other interior wood of the sauna should not be necessary with most manufactured saunas. Again, care must be taken not to use any toxic materials in the sauna that you will then be inhaling during your session.
Commercial sauna cleaning solutions are available to clean sauna interior wood that has become soiled from a few of the companies that sell infrared sauna accessories — take care to choose something nontoxic. Avoid harsh chemicals that will become absorbed into the wood, such as solutions containing VOCs (volatile organic carbons), then make their way back into the air you’re inhaling. Come back to see our upcoming sauna cleaning page.
There are quite a few sauna accessories for playing music directly in your sauna. Many saunas come with the option of adding internal speakers and a CD-player. Others come pre-equipped with these features.
Of course, you can always just listen to music you have playing in the room your sauna is set up in, and listen to it through the walls and window of the sauna—the cheapest option!
Tools to produce therapeutic effects: Ionizers, ozonators, color therapy.
Other tools available as accessories to your sauna are meant to add their own therapeutic effects to the already excellent effects of the sauna itself
(See infrared sauna detoxification)
These would include ionizers, ozonators, color therapy lights, and special fragrances.
Ionizers: I have not found the ionizers available as infrared sauna accessories to be of a high enough quality to be attractive—but I’m still looking since negative ionization of air has a great health enhancement value and I do use a high-quality ionizer in my bedroom at home. (It’s not designed to withstand the heat of a sauna, though).
Ozonation: whether ozonating the sauna room’s air is a good idea is a controversial question. Please be sure to become fully informed about the pluses and potential dangers of ozonating the air you breathe before making the decision to expose yourself to an ozonated atmosphere.
Color therapy and fragrances: if you know that these are therapies – a pleasurable addition - that you would like to experience, combining the use of these infrared sauna accessories with your sauna session makes good sense as a more efficient use of your time. As far as lighting goes, if you find your sauna light too bright, various light shades are available that are suitable to subdue sauna lights.
Finnish sauna-buckets, ladels and humidity gauges (hygrometers)
As far as humidity gauges go, a humidity gauge isn’t strictly necessary – even for a traditional Finnish sauna type of sauna room (and certainly not as an infrared sauna accessory). But it’s a nice thing to have in a traditional sauna and helpful in learning how the humidity level corresponds to what you feel in the sauna. And, if you have a specific humidity level you want to create, then of course a hygrometer will be helpful.
Move on from infrared sauna accessories to how to take a sauna.