Think back to a romantic dinner by candlelight or of that movie night you had with your friends or family. The one element that both of these experiences have in common is the lighting.
Often, an experience can be enhanced or ruined by the atmosphere in which it occurs. Similar to how you would watch a movie in a low-lit environment, a sauna experience will be much more relaxing if the lighting is proper.
Since lighting is known to set the mood, this article will review the various lighting options available to help you enjoy your sauna experience to its fullest.
Sauna Lighting 101
Unless you are vying for the dark, smoke-filled experience associated with Finland’s traditional savusauna, or smoke sauna, you will most likely want to adopt some form of lighting in your sauna.
At the other extreme, you have the option of implementing color therapy into an infrared sauna. This variant of light therapy has existed in virtually every major civilization that has come before us.
If your sauna space does not have the benefit of a window to let in natural light, you will probably want to include some form of synthetic lighting to accessorize your sauna.
Whatever the case, you can install lighting in practically any location within the sauna you desire. Lighting also comes in different sizes and shapes, giving you plenty of design flexibility and variation.
Whether you decide to follow a pattern or set your lighting at random, you can place lights in a manner that surrounds you from every wall, overhead, and even underfoot.
The only exception to the rule is placing a light above the stove or heater you use. If you do, damage to your sauna and surrounding area is inevitable.
Sauna Light Types
Regardless of your particular preference, you will want to invest in quality lighting, so you are not squinting due to poor light. This section will uncover three types of lighting along with the best suitability for various types of sauna.
1. Fiber Optic
Fiber optic lighting is a popular option with a variety of applications for both residential and commercial purposes. Fiber optic cables can be fed through the ceiling, walls, and flooring of your sauna space, thus making them a safe and aesthetically clean solution.
The primary light source for fiber optics is an illuminator, consisting of a bright light source such as “quartz-halogen or xenon halide.” The fibers used to transmit the light can be either glass or plastic.
Plastic fibers are typically larger in diameter and are usually preferred because they are inexpensive and easier to install. However, the drawback to plastic fiber is that it cannot withstand as hot a temperature, which is a definite consideration if you want to install optics in your sauna space.
Glass fibers tend to have less light loss and maintain higher levels of light input from their source. In both cases, light is transmitted through the fiber but can also glow along with the fiber itself.
You can find efficient fiber optic solutions, such as Harvia’s Luminous Fiber-Optic Sauna Lights, to add a beautiful starry sky effect or various other designs to your sauna space.
LEDs can be an optimal solution for some saunas. Although I would not recommend them for traditional steam saunas, they make a good solution for infrared saunas.
LED lighting is not anything new, so they are typically low in cost and relatively easy to install. In addition, you can usually find LED options at local lighting centers or building solution stores.
When working with LED lights, you should understand that their bulbs begin to experience lifespan shortage when presented with temperatures over the typical infrared sauna range.
Since traditional steam saunas operate best at temperatures between 150 and 212 degrees Fahrenheit, LED lighting would be an inefficient solution. You would bear higher than necessary maintenance costs due to more frequent replacement needs.
Generally, LED light bulbs are suited for operation in cooler temperatures. This lighting option would be a good match for an infrared sauna because the temperature range is significantly lower between 110 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
You may install LED lighting to shed light up to two meters from the ceiling, wall, benches, or floor throughout your sauna. GINEICO offers a flexible LED light package specific for sauna installations.
For a traditional steam sauna, it may be best to stick with old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs. You simply can’t go wrong with this lighting solution based on cost and durability.
Incandescent light bulbs are highly inefficient, “with around 90% of the energy generated being heat and only 10% light.” Though that is the case, they are practically unaffected by the high-temperature levels of saunas.
I am responsible for mentioning the burn risk associated with incandescent lighting as the bulbs themselves can reach temperatures upwards of 500 degrees Fahrenheit. So, you will want to remember this, especially if you decide to let your children indulge in sauna therapy alongside you.
More Lighting Considerations
When deciding on the type of lighting to install in your sauna, you also have the option to choose between the more common style of round lights or a more cylindrical style.
You have the option to recess round lights inside the walls or ceiling space of your sauna. The particular placement of round lights will contribute to their ability to offer a broad spectrum of rays.
On the other hand, you can install cylindrically-shaped lights horizontally or vertically within your sauna enclosure. These tubular-style lights are quite popular because of their ability to produce and spread light evenly without many shadows.
NOTE: You must invest in vapor-proof lights that are rated to withstand both high temperature and humidity levels. For wiring your lighting solution, it will be best for you to “use a liquid-tight conduit made of flexible PVC materials.”
If you decide to consider a sauna blanket instead of a sit-down enclosure, you will not have to worry about any lighting decisions whatsoever.
As I mentioned earlier, light therapy has been used throughout history to cure a variety of diseases. The specific use of color as both a clinical and therapeutic treatment is known as chromotherapy.
Numerous studies indicate the effectiveness of color as a healing treatment. Furthermore, the clinical field cannot ignore the profound effect that color has on our bodies at emotional, physical, mental, and psychological levels.
From depression to providing a boost in athletic performance, colors have proved themselves worthy as a therapeutic tool with a wide range of medical applications.
Color is simply part of the visible range on the electromagnetic spectrum. Thus, with reds, greens, and blues, and combinations thereof, specific healing is transmitted to various affected organs throughout the human body.
Color and light stimulate the human body down to the cellular level, even affecting one’s DNA. More specifically, color can either promote or slow down various biochemical and hormonal processes within our bodies to achieve complete system balance.
There exists both a physical and metaphysical view of chromotherapy. Still, it is perhaps the belief in both that allows one to achieve the maximum benefits of light.
Let us take a moment to briefly visit what we know as the primary and secondary colors and discuss the medical and ethereal benefits that each hue has upon our bodies.
The color red is the first color visible just past the infrared band of the electromagnetic spectrum. Research shows that red light therapy activates cellular stimulation, so, therefore, has been used to promote efficient damage repair.
Red is beneficial for rebuilding and promoting a healthy circulatory system. In addition, it stimulates our senses and is excellent for blood-related conditions.
Yellow has a deep-rooted connection to our mental being. For this reason, it is an excellent choice for nerve-related conditions.
The color yellow can provide one with a more clear mental state and profoundly impact one’s intellectualism.
Medically, it generates healing power to the stomach, intestines, liver, and other organs involved with digestion.
Green sits more or less at the middle of the color spectrum and promotes harmony and balance between the physical and spiritual self. The color green is used for cleansing and balancing the body whole.
The color green offers peace, balance, and healthy rejuvenation properties. In addition, it is incredibly therapeutic in conditions of the heart and seen as a general anecdote for various ailments.
The color blue is most often associated with relaxation. In addition, the color blue represents tranquility which assists in sleep therapy because of its pacifying effects.
The color blue can deal with the conditions of the throat. In addition, it can assist in communication and speech ailments.
As a combination of red and yellow, the color orange “combines physical energy with mental wisdom.” As a result, orange presents warmth and has a healing effect on our social interactions.
The color orange generates physical healing and provides mental clarity, a powerful combination for full-body restoration and stimulation.
“Leonardo da Vinci proclaimed that you can increase the power of meditation ten fold by meditating under the gentle rays of violet, as found in church windows.”
Violet is said to provide nourishment to our thoughts and emotions. In addition, the color violet is thought to cleanse toxic streams in our blood and may even significantly affect our brains.
Lighting is a critical decision in the design process of your sauna space. If you use light wisely, you can produce an environment that will stimulate and soothe your complete body both at the physical and ethereal levels.
Remember to choose the lighting most appropriate to your sauna to withstand the fluctuating temperature and humidity levels to which it is exposed.
Please feel free to discuss or share your ideas about sauna lighting in the comment section below.