Everything You Need to Know About Saunas

Sauna use

Don’t be intimidated by saunas

Saunas can be found in many places such as your home or your local health club. They are small rooms that are heated to temperatures between 150 degrees and 195 degrees and are designed in various ways. They usually have wood interiors with temperature controls and may include rocks as part of their heating element creating steam. Regardless if you are using your sauna at home or at your local health club, there are some things that you should know to make your sauna experience special.

What are the benefits?

There is a wide range of benefits that come with spending time in a sauna. Saunas aid in recovery after exercise as the heat dilates your blood vessels increasing blood circulation throughout your body. This increase in blood circulation will speed up your recovery and healing process eliminating your aches and pains. Saunas also eliminate toxins within your body through the process of ‘deep’ sweating.

When your body sweats it is to help cool the body and is composed of mostly water, but ‘deep’ sweating releases other toxins from the external environment. In addition to the physical benefits, saunas also help in stress reduction, which is the number one benefit for many. The heat stimulates the body to produce endorphins, these are the ‘feel good’ chemicals. When you step out of the sauna you will feel energized and ready to tackle the day.

Saunas use, candles next to towels
Photo By Breakingpic

Sauna etiquette

If you have a sauna in your home, you will not need to follow these same do’s and don’ts of sharing a sauna with others.

  • Be sure to take a quick shower before entering.
  • Enter and exit the sauna quickly as opening the door will release heat.
  • Take note of what clothing or lack of clothing is acceptable. If allowed to be nude, remember to bring a towel to sit on.
  • Ask before adjusting the temperature if it is too hot or cold. Note that you can also adjust the temperature by changing your seating level.
  • This is a place for relaxation so keep conversations to a minimum.

Can anyone use the sauna?

A sauna’s temperature can be up to 195 degrees, which for some may not cause any issues but for others, it might. Check with your doctor before using a sauna especially if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure, abnormal heart rhythm, unstable angina, pregnant or may become pregnant as you may be potentially at an increased risk.

Check with your doctor if you are taking any medications that interfere with your body’s ability to regulate its temperature or medications that make you drowsy. If you are ill, don’t use the sauna as ‘sweating it out’ will not help your illness. Lastly, if you have any concerns in using a sauna, check with your doctor to ensure it is safe for you.

How long should I use a sauna?

To gain the numerous health benefits, you only need to spend 10 to 15minutes, in a sauna that’s it! If you are newer to the sauna you will want to ease into your time by beginning with 5minutes as you slowly increase your time each session. In addition, ensure to drink a least one full glass of water before entering to avoid dehydration, especially during your first couple sessions. To keep track of time, set a timer so you do not overstay your welcome.

inside a saunas with glass wall
Photo By Evelyn Chong

The Takeaway

Saunas provide many health and mental health benefits but, you can only gain this by using the sauna safely and following the proper etiquette. They are not for everyone, so please check with your doctor to ensure if it is appropriate for you. If you find yourself in a health club, don’t forget to check out the sauna and remember to reference the above tips to make it the best experience for you!

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