Taken from the magazine:

Ask the Spa expert

Suite Benessere N. 14

Esperto risponde suite benessere 14

Sauna or turkish bath?

Alessandro di Milano asks: Dear Daniele Cantoni, I am a father of a family who, for some time, has been involved in a strange discussion: we have bought a new apartment and we are deciding for the inclusion of a “sauna” in the final part of the corridor in the sleeping area. The discussion was born when my daughter and my wife got stuck in saying that they wanted a “Turkish bath“, of different idea is my son who with the experience made in the gym, prefers the sauna with which according to him “you sweat more”. Unlike my family members, I have no experience in this matter, and the architect who is designing the house, candidly told me that he is not an expert on the subject, what do you recommend?

The answer of the Spa expert

Dear reader, yours is a decision that is not easy to make, because there are various implications for every choice that you decide to adopt. I state that, in the wellness areas around the world, saunas are frequented mostly by men, and the Turkish baths are preferred by women. I understand his son who, accustomed to using the sauna, (always the most well-being equipment in Italian gyms) probably does not know the benefits of other “heat baths”. Contrary to what many believe, in the sauna (95 degrees with humidity of about 20%) it is true that for the same minutes you sweat more, but the climate of the Turkish bath (45 degrees with humidity above 90%) allows a stay significantly higher and consequently a greater loss of liquids.

I also understand the female part of the family. Women have a blood pressure on average less than men and for this reason (the heat lowers the pressure) can better withstand the turkish bath. We also do not neglect the aesthetic benefits that can be obtained, the large percentage of moisture associated with heat allows to have a natural detoxification, a deep cleansing of the skin. To improve the effect, I recommend to practice every month, a peeling possibly based on sea gel, whose salts will increase the osmotic effect, thus favoring a further decrease in water retention.

At this point it is necessary to consider some technical factors.

The sauna is simpler to place (it requires only a power outlet and a change of air, integrated by an outlet connected to the outside), so it would be possible to install it, as you have already foreseen, in the corridor, even if normally I do not recommend it. Pay attention to the fact that the saunas irremediably have a mountain image, which may not be combined with the decor of the house, so in addition to the prefabricated saunas on the market (in some cases very valid for quality and price) you can expect to also customize this environment with lines and materials in harmony with the furniture.

Having to decide for the Turkish bath I strongly advise against putting it in the corridor, because the part in front of this service requires a configuration that is closer to a swimming pool than a passage of the sleeping area, given the inevitable escape of steam and drops to every door opening. Technically, in addition to the siphoned water outlets and drainpipes, it requires the same predispositions of the sauna; aesthetically, unless you use a prefabricated fiberglass, you can indulge with various shapes and materials in harmony with any furniture.

I really appreciate his architect who “candidly” expressed the inexperience, however, unfortunately I often found myself faced with “professionals” who improvised in choices then verified inconvenient for the client. In conclusion, I highly recommend that you attend at least two or three times a center that allows the use of these services, to be able to give an account, even of what “she” prefers.


What is a laconucum?

Luca di Casalecchio (BO) asks: We often talk about the “LACONUCUM” service, especially in the advertisements of some famous hotels. Could you explain what it is?

The answer of the Spa expert

The laconicum, in the Greek gymnasia before, and in the ancient Roman baths then, was a room dedicated to sportsmen or customers who wanted to sweat. At first the heat was supplied by large stoves with metal lids (the opening and closing of the lid regulated the temperature), at a later time a system was introduced that distributed the heat in the cavities of the floor and walls. Today, the laconicum is rebuilt with the same criteria of the past but with modern technologies, floor, walls and benches are electrically heated or by hot water circuits, all of which recreates a dry environment with an internal temperature of 65 °. In the laconicum there is a slower and less tiring sweating, due to the “contact” effect of the body with the stone or mosaic heated to 37 °.


What is a Destination?

Mario di Napoli asks: I would like to know what is a DESTINATION.

The answer of the Spa expert

The term SPA in the international field is now used to define what in Italy we define wellness area and in some cases aesthetic center. The term (it will seem strange in a way invaded by inglesismi) is of Latin origin, and derives from the initials of Salus Per Aquam, the health that derives from water. DESTINATION SPA is a hotel, whose main activity is wellness, where there are proposals for stays from two to fifteen days and more, with packages that involve the customer throughout the day. It will make you smile, but to be able to describe it with one word, in Italy we use an inglesism (not at all international): Beauty Farm.


Why did the mosaic wear out?

An hotelier asks: I am an innkeeper, I would like to have an explanation with reference to a very strange fact that happened to me in the hotel’s wellness area. Last year I had a beautiful hydro-massage in Botticino marble mosaic built, measuring 7×4 m. equipped with a modern automatic filtration and ph control system, which gave me some calibration problems for a period, then promptly put back into place. The whirlpool works 12 hours a day and can hold 10 people with a capacity of 22 cubic meters of water. A year after its construction, I find that the marble mosaic has completely “worn out”, it has disintegrated, unlike its fugatures that are still intact. I can not understand what may have happened, I thank you in advance.

The answer of the Spa expert

As you can see we accepted your request for anonymity, given the particular case. In spite of the few data that he described to me I think I have identified what may have generated his problem. For some years public pools and whirlpools have been equipped with sophisticated control units for chlorine and ph, a staring of the control unit, or the depletion of a product (usually immediately signaled by an alarm), may give rise to a variation of the ph, for example an increase in water acidity. In these cases there can be very unpleasant consequences, such as an irritation with reddening of the client’s skin, and a progressive “corrosion” of the coating materials, especially if calcareous (for example every variety of marble).

I believe that his “promptly” is related to when the problem has been noticed, and if by chance he remembers some customers with “reddened legs”, he wants to say that we have hit the issue. In conclusion, since we can not often avoid (for aesthetic reasons) the use of calcareous materials, such as hydro and pool coverings, it is good practice to place a control light of the control unit (chlorine and ph) in an always visible point (reception) , in those cases where the light is inserted in the control panel of the technical area, it is necessary to provide an inspection at fixed intervals of this area by the staff, if you do not want to face serious problems to the structure and even more to the clients.


Smell in the Turkish bath?

Andrea asks: Dear Daniele Cantoni I am a Tuscan hotelier, and for about a year I had a company build a Turkish bath for six people in mosaic. It always worked very well, so much so that it had become the flagship of my small structure. Four or five months ago we started to smell light, which increased with time, up to a month ago, when, due to the unbearable smell, I had to regret closing the service. In the Turkish bath there is a strong smell like “rotten eggs”, I tried everything from a washing with sanitizing products to a check of the internal drainage. The construction company after an inspection (according to them) “accurate” rejected all responsibility because it was built according to the rules. What can I do?

The answer of the Spa expert

Determining what the bad smell in question is for an insider is quite simple, it is the typical nauseating smell due to the stagnation of water. Identifying the cause (above all without seeing it) is much more difficult. An odor of stagnation can be obtained from bad ventilation of the room, but it is certainly not the case. One thing is certain, the construction company, or is the smart or is one of the many companies that are improvising builders of “wetlands” seen the market in strong ascent; I say this because every true company in the sector has a skeleton in the closet, a turkish bath maybe assigned for assembly to the apprentice employee who … later creates his own problem. Furthermore, there are no specific rules in Italy on the construction of a masonry Turkish bath, it is easier to find them in Syria or Turkey.

For my experience I suggest you to check (from the manufacturer) all points of possible water stagnation as: every point of contact between benches and wall, door jambs, wall contacts with floor and roof, all the grouts and if there are all the siliconations, all the pipes in particular those inside the walls (breaking them if necessary) in the end the steam generator. Except for rare cases, where the problem is given by the type of water used, it all comes from an assembly error or a constructive inexperience, despite this I suggest you find an agreement with the company in question because a cause ( in addition to being long), it would certainly not be successful given the lack of expert experts in the sector. In all my business I came across two similar cases, I regret to say that it was necessary to destroy and then rebuild both cabins.