Sauna History

The sauna has existed in many different forms for thousands of years. While its purpose as a place for cleansing and relaxation has not changed, advances in technology and applications have brought forth better and easier ways of enjoying the warmth of the sauna.

The oldest known saunas were primarily used as winter dwellings. The first saunas were, in essence, pits in the ground that featured a fireplace where stones were heated to a high temperature. Water was then used to throw over the stones to produce steam and give an increased sensation of heat.

There is no question that our Finnish ancestors were on to something when they improved and embraced the traditions of sauna. The Finns used the sauna as a place to cleanse the mind and rejuvenate the spirit, building the sauna experience into a cultural tradition and way of life.

As the Finns migrated to other areas of the world, they brought their sauna designs and traditions with them. The first sauna in North America was built by Finnish and Swedish immigrants who settled in the Delaware Valley before the American Revolution.

From the turn of the century through the 1960’s, sauna bathing seemed to explode throughout the U.S. In the 1930’s, American athletes discovered the benefits of sauna from their Finnish counterparts. Due in part to American’s passion for sports, the sauna tradition continued to grow throughout the 1940’s. As more people were exposed to the product in hotels and gyms in the 1950’s and 1960’s, companies such as Viking Sauna, Metos Sauna, and Helo Sauna capitalized on the growth of the small industry.

The American sauna market experienced yet another growth spurt during the 1970’s. As saunas were appearing in more and more health clubs and hotels, companies that sold both saunas and exercise equipment saw tremendous growth. The 1980’s and 1990’s saw perhaps the biggest growth in the American residential sauna market as the demand for specialized, custom saunas skyrocketed.

Apex was founded on the principles of strong customer service, individual consulting and factory-trained installers. Our dedication to producing quality products and providing top-notch customer service has made Apex one of the top sauna companies in the U.S.