Note to Editor: The following article is my own work and is not taken from any website, magazine, television broadcast or newspaper.
Instead of paying high fees for a gym steam room, learn how to build a sweat lodge in your back yard. Use it yourself or invite friends. Sweat helps the body rid itself of toxins, as well as provides relief for arthritis pain.
Building this will only take a few hours, and is mobile. Disassemble it for storage. There are a few rules to using a sweat lodge, but the most important one is this- have something to wear when you exit the building. The neighbors or your wife’s friends can’t handle the extra excitement.
You will need:
• A sturdy metal portable tailgate- sized barbeque
• Large dry granite rocks, about the size of a softball
• Wood for building a fire, not charcoal
• Paper for starting a fire, not barbeque lighter fluid
• Five 10-by-12 foot canvas tarps
• Old blankets for insulation
• Bucket with water and ladle
• Fifty feet of paracord or twine
• Three each 2-by-4-by-6 oak boards
• Table saw or band saw
• Drill with 3/8″ bit
• Metal brasier and tongs for moving rocks
• Water bucket and ladle
• Eight total of: wood stakes, tent stakes or one-foot long rebar and hammer
• Circle marker, which will be described here
• Measuring and marking tools
Always follow directions and safety precautions for power tools.
1. Make the circle marker as follows: Drive a dedicated stake into the ground. This will mark the center. Using another stake, measure four feet from the stake and drive another stake into the ground. Tie paracord to both stakes. I like to use a tie out stake used for dogs that has a swivel and metal ring at the top for the center stake. This allows for accurate markings. The second stake may now be removed from the ground. Measure the distance similar to a clock’s face- 12p.m., 2p.m., 4p.m., 6p.m., 8p.m., and 10p.m.
2. Rip six strips of oak, each 3/8″ thick, and six feet long from the oak boards. There will be enough for replacement strips, if needed.
3. Drive the tent stakes into the ground at each marker.
4. Using paracord, attach each strip to a stake.
5. Using the paracord, bend the strips to the center and thread the paracord through the center holes and secure. Do this slowly so the wood doesn’t break. Oak is strong and flexible, but it will break if bent too quickly. One hint- if you mark the inside and outside of each strip, the bend will become permanent over time and set up will be a breeze.
6. Cover the lodge with the tarps, leaving a flap for a door.
7. Place the brasier, water bucket and ladle in the lodge. Make sure water is in the bucket.
8. Insulate by covering with the blankets. Tie together with the paracord, if desired.
9. At the barbeque, start a fire with the paper and wood. Place the rocks in the fire.
10. When sufficiently heated, remove the rocks to the metal bucket and transport to the inside of the lodge.
11. Inside the lodge, pour small amounts of water over the rocks. Steam will fill the lodge quickly.
12. If it gets too hot inside, open the door flap or roll up the sides.
13. To store, take the blankets and tarps down, lay out until completely dry and fold. Remove the paracord from the center strips and untie each strip from the stakes. Remove the ground stakes.
14. Do not store the rocks until they are completely cool.
15. Always follow fire precautions with the barbecue.
This lodge will seat up to five people, even though it is small. Battery-operated lights may be used inside. If driving stakes into the ground is a no-no, use planter pots or coffee pots filled with rocks.
Lava rocks or other similar rocks will work. If your rocks are wet, they could indeed explode in the barbecue or when you pour cold water over them. It’s best to take no chances.
Once done, come inside to your own shower and icebox.