Choosing the perfect Sauna Rocks
One of the most important design element of any sauna or sweat lodge has been the hot rocks onto which water is periodically thrown. When preparing a sauna, we heat the stones and not the sauna.
The use of stones date back to the oldest evidence of sauna style bathing dates to 3,500 BC and it was the stones that provided the essential clues for archaeologists.
The evidence of one of the most ancient sauna was found in England. Marden Henge. Archaeologists from the University of Reading led by Jim Leary found the remains of a small building which once had a large fit pit at its centre.
There was something particularly interesting about this fire pit though. The ground had been scorched beneath it and there were fragments of stones heated to very high temperatures. However, the only burning material was found in a second fire pit outside the building. This indicated that the stones had been heated outside then carried inside. This would have provided plenty of warmth inside the small building, the purpose of which is difficult to explain other than for use as a sauna.
There are three main types of rock: sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous. Igneous rocks are also commonly called volcanic rocks, although these are actually an additional subcategory.
The first two categories — sedimentary and metamorphic — should not be used in a sauna. They’re not dense enough to retain enough heat and they are also porous so may contain moisture in them, which leads to them cracking or exploding in high heat.
Sauna rocks should instead be igneous rocks, which generally tend to be dense and non-porous. There are some exceptions for igneous rocks that don’t make good sauna rocks, but that’s because they don’t have these typical characteristics. For example, obsidian is too smooth while pumice is too light.
At Scandia MFG sauna rocks are offered in a variety of colors and textures, allowing you to further customize your sauna to fit your specific style/needs.