For some reason, hot tubs became very popular in Finland in early 2000’s. Companies rent them on trailer for parties and many have added one on their backyard or at their summer place.
I believe this popularity has something to do with our culture of sauna evenings, a tradition a will write about a bit later. The basic idea is to spend the whole evening in the near vicinity of a sauna drinking beer with your friends but since no one can be in a sauna for 4-5 hours, there must be something else to do.
The authentic Finnish palju is often a barrel-shaped and made of wood and it is heated up with a wood-fired oven. Since, I couldn’t add anything like that on my backyard, I just went with a regular hot tub. I didn’t particularly like the grey vinyl casing of my hot tub so I went ahead and made a wooden fence around it. It works better for my feng shui when I see that wooden fence from my sauna instead of some cheap plastic.
For longer hot tub sessions, I added a TV to the corner.
Hot Tub Chemicals and Sauna
The challenge with these hot tubs is that it takes quite long (up to 20 hours) to heat up the water to 100F degrees so you cannot throw the water away after every use. Instead, you keep the water there and put an insulated cover on the top and then throw 10 different chemicals in the water to keep the water clear: warm water provides favorable conditions for bacteria to grow.
Well, the chemicals are not much different than the ones we are used to in swim pools already but when you combine hot tub plunges with sauna, you should know that you should rinse well between the hot tub and the sauna because otherwise those chemicals will evaporate and breathing in those chemicals is not the best idea. Therefore, you should add also a garden shower to your setup.
When it comes to my favorite sauna routine in winter, I like to take a cold plunge first, then go to sauna, then another cold plunge, then hot tub, rinse, back to sauna and repeat.