Saunas nowadays have become a way of life for some people. Whether after a workout or to unwind, saunas can offer health benefits. A sauna is a small room that can either be used as hot air or steam bath between 158 and 212 degrees F and increase the skin temperature to 104 degrees F. It has been used for centuries all around the world, which offers many benefits.
There are different types of saunas, which include:
- Wood burning
- Electrically heated
- Infrared room
- Smoke sauna
- Steam room
How Long Should You Stay In?
According to sources like the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Sauna Society, expert sauna bathers generally agree to start small for those who’ve used a sauna for the first time.
- Beginners. The advisable limit is more than 5 to 10 minutes at a time.
- After exercising. Wait at least 10 minutes before entering the sauna after exercise.
- At maximum. The sauna limit is more than about 15 minutes at a time.
While some experienced sauna users, especially in Finland, may turn the sauna into a longer social event, it’s advised not to overdo it. The most important thing to remember when deciding how long to stay in the sauna is to listen to the body without overdoing it. A longer stay in the sauna will cause dehydration, so a general rule is to cap the time to 15 to 20 minutes.
What Are The Benefits Of Using A Sauna?
While saunas are wildly popular for relaxation and socializing, using a sauna at the end of the workout or workday benefits health. Here are the known benefits of saunas.
Relief from muscular aches and pains
Sauna has been used for centuries to relax and relieve pain. The heat from the sauna can increase blood flow, help loosen tight muscles and reduce inflammation. Also, this can all help to provide relief from aches and pains.
In addition, saunas can help improve circulation, reducing pain and stiffness. The regular use of a sauna can be a great way to find relief, especially for those suffering from chronic pain or muscle soreness.
As indicated, saunas are a great way to improve circulation. When using a sauna, the heat causes the blood vessels to dilate, which increases flow and helps the body to release toxins. Additionally, the increased flow also helps to reduce stiffness and pain.
Reduced stress levels
Sitting in a sauna can make the body temperature rise and start sweating. The process can help release endorphins, hormones that have mood-boosting effects. This will begin to create a feeling of relaxation.
Since saunas have been used for centuries to improve overall health and well-being, they can also help improve the appearance of the skin. The high heat of saunas can help to open pores, remove impurities, and promote detoxification. Moreover, saunas can help improve circulation and increase sweating, which can help flush out toxins and promote the healing of skin blemishes, giving clearer, healthier skin.
It can also help lose weight by increasing the metabolic rate. Improved circulation, heart rate, and sweating contribute to improved metabolism, leading to weight loss. Additionally, saunas can help to reduce water retention and cellulite.
Increased cardiovascular fitness
One of the cardiovascular benefits when sitting in a sauna is that it raises the heart rate. Sauna helps increase the heart rate, which can positively affect blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and overall heart health.
It has been known that inflammation is the natural response to injury or infection, but chronic inflammation can lead to serious problems. With the help of saunas, inflammation can be reduced by dilating blood vessels and increasing flow.
Moreover, the increased flow helps remove toxins and waste products from the body, reducing inflammation. Also, the sauna is thought to help boost the immune system, making the body better fight off infection and disease.
Promote better sleep
Sauna has been known to improve the quality of sleep. According to one study, people who used a sauna for 30 minutes before bedtime for a month reported a night of better sleep and feeling more rested in the morning. Since the sauna relaxes the body and mind, it can help prepare for sleep by lowering the body temperature at night, which is thought to be one of the cues that tells that it is time to sleep.
Relieve tension headaches
Tension headaches are horrible and are usually caused by muscle tension in the shoulders or neck. With the help of saunas, muscles will be relaxed, and blood circulation will improve. In return, many people find their headaches disappear after just a few minutes in the sauna.
Are Saunas Safe?
In general, saunas appear safe for most people. On the other hand, people with uncontrolled high blood pressure and heart disease should check with their doctors before taking a sauna. Below are some general precautions to keep in mind:
- Avoid alcohol and those medications that may impair sweating and produce overheating before and after the sauna.
- Stay in no more than 15–20 minutes.
- Cool down gradually afterward.
- Drink 2-4 glasses of cool water after each sauna.
- Don’t take a sauna when sick.
What Is The Right Procedure For Using A Sauna?
- Before the sauna, it is suggested to shower and dry since dry skin sweats faster than moisture.
- For the first sauna session, stay in the sauna for about 8 to 10 minutes. But maximum as long as the person feels good about it.
- During a sauna, underlay the towel so that the body does not come into contact with the wood. The higher up one sits in the sauna, the higher the temperature. It’s best to sit or lay down in the sauna.
- Always take care of well-being. For the last 1 to 2 minutes, sit down, in any case, to get the cycle back to the upright posture.
- After each heating up in a sauna session, the cooling follows. Moreover, the most gentle thing for circulation is guiding the cold castings carried out by the right ankle to the legs and arms towards the heart. Do not use lukewarm or warm water (except for toddlers); otherwise, the positive “Kneipp effect” will be lost.
- Resting period: Move in the fresh air, then rest to relax the body. Ensure the body doesn’t cool down, and cuddle in the bathrobe or blanket. A warm foot bath can also be soothing, and the break between sauna sessions should last about 30 – 45 minutes.
- Fully rested/Then it starts all over again: off to the sauna for sweating, then cools down and rest. The second and possibly third sauna session may last up to 15 minutes. After using the sauna, drink enough water or Spritzer, at least one liter, better even more.
The Bottom Line
Sauna visits have lasting positive effects on the immune system, strengthening the metabolism and training the cardiovascular system. Affinity Well Spa offers a medical-grade infrared sauna for detoxification, increased metabolism, weight loss, improved blood circulation, reduced pain, improved skin health, antiaging, and rejuvenation. Aside from the enhanced cardiovascular function benefit, it also improves immune function, sleep, stress management, and overall relaxation.