Health Benefits Of Saunas and Spas

Hot water therapy is as old as history itself, but a recent study details the many surprising benefits it provides to human health. The study, published in the North American Journal of Medical Science, found that hydrotherapy is good for numerous systems of the body – including the cardiovascular, muscular, nervous, and respiratory systems. The secret of hydrotherapy is the ability of water to boost circulation, calm the nerves, and reduce pain and soreness, but if you’re more into dry experiences, you can obtain many similar benefits from a sauna. Discover why both these therapies should be part and parcel of your everyday life, and boost the benefits of hot water tubs by enjoying a calming barrel hot tub experience.


6500 gal cisternNovember 13th, 2013 forestlumber

Conservation of natural resources is one of the most obvious reasons to harvest rainwater. It’s becoming increasingly clear that water is not the infinite resource we once believed it to be. As municipal agencies struggle to meet our 21st century needs, collecting rainwater at home reduces the amount that needs to be delivered, saving the energy that would have been used to pump it. Reducing the strain on public water sources also saves money by reducing your water bills. When you collect rainwater, you’re letting gravity do the majority of the work.

By catching water before it reaches the ground, you’ll also alleviate contamination of local bodies of water. As rainwater runs down your property and the surrounding area, it ends up filtering into the groundwater or draining into a nearby lake or stream. Along the way, the water gathers pollutants and trash. This has become an area of concern for environmentalists, as all of these elements will eventually need to be removed (or even worse, not). By catching the water before it has the chance to get dirty, you can reduce the pollution of your immediate environment.

Rainwater also has an advantage over the municipal water supply for its use in many common household tasks. For example, it lacks the abundance of minerals that can wear away at laundry appliances over time. Because it’s free of chlorine, rainwater is also a much better alternative for watering plants. You might also find that rainwater is a healthier source of drinking water for you and your family.

When you get right down to it, rainwater harvesting draws its appeal from the same source as many other ancient human practices that have stood the test of time. It allows us to find comfort in an increased level of self-reliance and independence. In a world that seems to be filled with constant uncertainty, with a shared environment that is chronically mismanaged and neglected, it makes sense to go directly to the source, the power of nature.

Our 100% Western Red Cedar custom made water tanks and cisterns are a great natural way to enjoy all these advantages of rainwater harvesting. They won’t break down from UV radiation the way plastic tank will, and they could last as long as 50 years. Visit Forest Lumber and Cooperage: take a look at water tanks and everything else we have to offer.


vertical sauna insideOctober 14th, 2013 forestlumber

The handcrafted cedar barrel saunas available at Forest Lumber & Cooperage make us proud. However, it’s not only the top-grade materials and high performance that we believe in. More importantly, we can attest to the wonderful health benefits and feelings of well-being that our saunas can provide. So what exactly happens to the body when you enter one?

The first thing you’ll probably notice is the sweat. Responding to the change in heat, your body will begin producing acetylcholine. This chemical delivers a message to sweat glands around the body to start producing. While serving the important purpose of regulating the body’s internal temperature, the sweat will also excrete excessive salt, heavy metals, urea and other toxins. In fact, a 15-minute sauna can detox the body as much as 24-hours of regular kidney activity. It also cleanses the skin by flushing the sweat glands and opening pores. Keep in mind that it’s important to replenish the water that you lose along with all the toxins.

Simultaneously, your heart rate will begin to rise, pumping faster and faster. Blood vessels near the skin will dilate to accommodate faster blood circulation, causing the skin to take on a red hue. All this activity will cause your metabolism to kick into higher gear, as if you’re taking a brisk walk. You’ll feel the effects of a cardiovascular workout, burning fat in the process. With the release of endorphins, you’ll feel a general sense of well-being and mild relief from nagging physical pains.

There are plenty of other effects. The warm, steamy air will enter your airways, soothing nasal passages and clearing congestion. Even though your heart rate is elevated, you’re muscles and joints will relax, increasing flexibility. Sitting back and soaking in the warmth, your mind might wander off, experiencing a moment of total relaxation. Finally, once you emerge from the sauna, you’ll feel as great as you have all day, with heightened senses and a sharp mind.

Sounds nice, right? There’s a reason why people all over the world have gravitated towards saunas for centuries. To make that experience possible on a daily basis at your own home, order a cedar barrel sauna kit from Forest Lumber & Cooperage today.


October 3rd, 2013 forestlumber


The people of Japan have been using wooden baths for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.  The baths are called “ofuros”.  Traditionally, the Japanese shower before entering their wooden bath.  The bath is used for a relaxing hot water soak.  Even to this day, most Japanese households have a wooden soaking tub.  Forest Lumber & Cooperage’s soaking tubs have been given the thumbs up from people of Japanese ancestry, which is a big complement to us.

The cedar barrel hot tub is relatively new in North America.  It started in the 1960’s in the wine yards of California.  When the grape harvest was over, the farm workers/ hippies would use one of the wooden grape crushing barrels, fill up with water and devise different ways of heating the water using a wood fire.  Some of these homemade submersible wood burning stoves were of ingenious construction, varying from stoves made from old beer kegs to defunct whiskey stills.  At the end of the season, everyone was having fun.  These people were uninhibited, and I am sure swim suits were not a common occurrence.  At some point, some entrepreneurial young person realized that the popularity of a wooden soaking tub could be marketed.  They were right, and they were very successful at hand crafting these wooden tubs and selling them to the general public.

5x3 wood fired  high res. 008It did not take long for the larger money making machine to take this idea, mass-produce them out of plastic and add different bells and whistles.  These new plastic tubs could be stamped out in a factory by the hundreds at minimum cost.  These low production costs were passed on to dealers.  Every one wanted to become a dealer because of high profit margins.  Now every town has a least a couple of dealers.  Unfortunately, the plastic tub manufacturers had spread rumors that wooden tubs are unsanitary and hard to maintain.  This could not be further from the truth.

In the past 15 years, there has been an increased demand for wooden hot tubs.  People are recognizing the quality of a hand crafted product and feel more attracted to sustainable wood products than throw away plastic.

Cedar barrel hot tubs have regained the reputation in the market place that they deserve.

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August 9th, 2013 forestlumber


The life span of a hot tub is only as good as the quality of the wood from which it is made.

Western Red Cedar and Redwood are the two best woods for barrel hot tubs, saunas and water tanks.  For longevity the wood needs to be “first growth” Some of these trees can be up to 1000 years old.  They have had a long time to build up the natural chemical extractives that make the wood incredibly decay resistant.  Unfortunately Redwood and  Eastern White Cedar are now only available in “second growth” which are trees that have been re planted and are only about 60 years old.  They are low in the extractives that give the wood its decay resistance  The second growth has wider annual rings and a large proportion of sapwood.   Sapwood is the white wood under the bark that conducts the water up and down the tree.  The sapwood is where the tree does its growing.  This sapwood will eventually turn to heartwood as it builds up its mineral extractives.  The purpose of the heartwood is to support the tree and give it strength.  Sapwood has no decay resistant properties and should not be used at all in hot tubs.  The life span of sapwood in cedar is only about 7 years at the most.  This having been said I still see many hot tub manufacturers allowing second growth and sapwood into their products.

I will give you a perfect example that illustrates the decay resistance of first growth Western Red Cedar heartwood.  In a history

Cedar Barrel Hotubs book about logging on the West Coast of North America there is a photo of a huge cedar tree that fell over in a wind storm.  Three Douglas Fir trees grew on top of this blown down cedar.  The fir trees were cut down by loggers and the stumps were left behind.  When the growth rings on these stumps were counted, the fir trees were found to be 600 years old.  That means the cedar tree had been dead and on the ground for at least 600 years.  It turned out that this cedar log was still in such good condition that it was used to make violins!

I am not saying that our hot tubs will last 600 years, but we can easily say they will be good for 30 years plus.

Forest Lumber & Cooperage is located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia in the center of Western Red Cedar country.  We purchase cedar that is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.  This is your guarantee that the wood is from a forest that is sustainable and  properly managed.  We use the absolute best wood to give you the ability to enjoy your cedar barrel hot tub for many years.


July 22nd, 2013 forestlumber

Investing in a 100 % heartwood, clear Western Red Cedar barrel tub from Forest Lumber & Cooperage is a smart and long term move.  Adding preservative or stain is unnecessary since the wood is naturally decay resistant, and has a great aesthetic quality. However, that does not mean that proper maintenance is not required.

If a stain is not applied, then the wood will turn a silver grey color. If you do choose to use a colored stain, make sure to choose a water borne penetrating stain and not a latex or a solvent-based finish. Those choices will inevitably peel and flake away.  Do not stain the inside, just the outside and the top edge.

If the water in a wood burning tub is drained after 48 to 60 hours, then no chemicals are required. Just leave one to two inches of water in the tub to maintain the swelling on the wood. When you are ready to use the tub again, simply drain that minimal amount and lightly scrub the interior with a long handled scrub brush and mild soap. Rinse it out and add fresh water

If your water source is limited,  install our circulation and filtration system for wood-fired tubs. This allows for an ionizer to sterilize the water with very little chlorine added, and prevents algae growth. Electric tubs use the same water sanitation regime as plastic tubs, and the chlorine can be minimized down to 1/3 by using our ionizer.

With our Thomson Tech ionizer chlorine is best used in moderation, as one part per million is all you need. Wood has proven antiseptic properties, so the amount of required chemical additives is reduced.

Choose a phenomenal hot tub from Forest Lumber & Cooperage!