Kastee® System —leading the way in the sauna revolution
TEXT: ANNE KOSKI-WOOD | PHOTOS © TULIKIVI, SHUTTERSTOCK, DAN MERTALEHTO, ALEXANDER LEMBKE
Five years ago, Dan Mertalehto, a pioneering inventor, was admiring the perfect combination of warmth and humidity of a greenhouse, and wondered if it might be possible to create the same effect in a sauna. After some more thinking and prototyping, he successfully invented a system that takes away the hard edge from a sauna’s dry and hot heat.
Kastee® System is a new, revolutionary, smart air humidifier, which upgrades any dry sauna into a well-being oasis with rich and abundant steam. As a result, the heat is soft, moist and easy to breathe.
The secret lies in a water spray nozzle installed inside the stove. The nozzle, which is connected to a water supply, sprays water on the stones at regular intervals, giving the atmosphere the feel of an ancient smoke sauna. Hygro- and thermometer sensors, placed on a sauna wall, measure the humidity and temperature levels. The levels can be adjusted in a control unit, which is placed outside the sauna. The Kastee® System is electronically driven, automatic, self-adjustable and completely safe.
A sauna expert, a long-standing member of the Finnish Sauna Society and founder of the British Sauna Society, Mika Meskanen, says: “Everyone’s journey into the pleasures of a sauna is unique, but most connoisseurs agree that the soft humidity and enveloping warmth of a traditional wood-fired smoke sauna is the ultimate experience.” The Kastee® technology helps recreate this climate in modern commercial and domestic saunas and makes it accessible to everyone.
Still like a traditional sauna
When asked about the difference between a steam room and a sauna with a Kastee® System, the CEO and partner, Ilkka Korhonen points out that steam rooms use a kettle to create hot and cold steam, whereas in the Kastee® System, the quality of warmth and temperature stays the same. He reassures that saunas can be used just like before: it is still possible to throw water on the stove, and the sauna will not be colder, because the intelligent system reacts according to the temperature. If the temperature rises above 85 degrees Celsius, the system switches itself off for safety reasons.
Kastee® saves energy too
Kastee® is also very economical – exactly what hotel chains are looking for at the moment. In the long-run, Kastee® helps to preserve the wooden structure of saunas, especially in hotels and gyms, where saunas tend to be on for long periods of time, with the heat drying the panels and making them crack.
At the moment, the Kastee® system is being used in hotel chains such as Sokos, the Holiday Club resort chain and, lately, at the Hilton Helsinki as well as in Forever Gyms. In the UK, the first Kastee® experience can be savoured in the Barking Bath House Spa and the sauna of the Finnish Church in Rotherhithe. Both places offer meet-ups for the British Sauna Society, a fast-growing community of sauna lovers in London and across the United Kingdom.
“Closing my eyes, I can’t really tell the difference between my cottage sauna and the abundant pleasant steam at Barking,” assures Kimmo Raitio, principal steamer aka saunasherpa and partner at Kastee. Raitio is an explorer of sauna cultures in the Baltics, Europe, the US and Russia, and a sauna enthusiast for more than 40 years.
The Kastee® System has also sparked an interest among many health professionals. Kastee® works in co-operation with the Laurea University of Applied Sciences and the Asthma Federation, carrying out research about the sauna’s health benefits. So far, the results are encouraging. Because Kastee® System is gentler, it is possible to stay in the sauna for longer and burn more calories, which benefits anyone wanting to slim down. While hot and dry saunas can be a health hazard for people with heart problems, Kastee® is a safe option, because it does not raise the blood pressure or create extra work for the heart.
The sauna tradition moves on
Korhonen is excited about the fact that the traditional Finnish sauna is moving on to a new era. When in the old times a smoke sauna took hours to create soft and humid heat, the Kastee® System uses technology for the same effect, making everything possible at the press of a button.