Not Just Any Sauna - Important Distinctions
Rather than building saunas in the ultra-safe manner that we do, several companies rely instead on creating the impression that their saunas are like ours. They may use the same or a similar low-resin wood for the visible paneling and describe their saunas as made of non-toxic wood or as hypoallergenic. Such sales information can make it hard for consumers to shop knowledgably, as the unsuspecting may assume that these other saunas are also made for people who are chemically ill or have allergies - but the truth is often a different matter.
Wood selection is a necessary, easy first step in creating safer saunas. Describing saunas by their visible wood can conceal but cannot correct toxic construction choices. False impressions are reinforced when other construction components are not openly revealed. For instance, it may not be stated that a lower-grade of wood or an entirely different species is used for the framing; if plywood is hidden; that paneling is nailed to a glue-coated frame; or if the exterior is coated or varnished. Such omissions are commonplace. Some companies have framed their saunas with a resinous wood (common allergen) and marketed them as hypoallergenic!
Most FIR saunas are built with adhesives as it makes construction faster and easier than building without them, and it allows use of thinner, less expensive wall paneling. They are built like cheaper cabinets - thin wood is glued-on and often backed by plywood. They are manufactured for rapid production, economy, and appearance - not for the “purity” found in our medical-quality detox saunas.
FIR sellers downplay the glue factor by claiming to use small amounts of water-based glue. Some carpenter’s glues are labeled “non-toxic”, but they are not chemical-free. Most are water-emulsified plastic with chemical additives (biocides, preservatives, etc.). Glue can wear down in saunas and the temperature shifts stress the wood. In each FIR sauna we’ve inspected, lots of glue was used - the construction was adhesive-reliant as these thin-panel saunas would risk durability if just a “few drops” of glue were used. While detoxifying, the last thing you want to do is sweat out one toxin and inhale fumes of another!
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