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5 Strange Saunas

Wonder Sauna Hot Pants
How did this not catch on?
How did this not catch on?
Image courtesy Jon Sauder

Humans love multitasking, and some of us just don't have the time or the patience to just sit there sweating in a sauna. This leads to the inevitable question: If I can drive a sauna around, then why can't I wear one while I work out or clean the house?

This is the sort of idea that sauna purists find ridiculous. After all, a huge part of the sauna experience is that you're leaving everything -- even your clothes -- outside the door and letting the dry heat relax and recharge you. Still, no one can stand in the way of innovation, even when the resulting pants look this ridiculous.

While Wonder Sauna Hot Pants are just an embarrassing page from the American consumer past, the basic premise continues to this day. Sauna exercise suits are widely available, complete with dubious promises of weight loss.

Strictly speaking, these costumes are not saunas. There's no dry heat oven in there, and they're obviously not made of wood. Instead, the shiny, baggy athletic wear seals in body heat and promotes increased sweating (which decreases water weight) and a marginal release of body toxins. As such, boxers, wrestlers and other competitive athletes sometimes use the suits to trim down just enough to slip into lower weight classes.

For the rest of you, don't fret about your ridiculous purchases. One of these days, sauna lederhosen and sauna bras are going to show up on Paris runways, and who's going to be laughing then?

Explore the links on the next page to learn more about saunas and skin care.