Saunas are small rooms that are heated to temperatures between 150°F and 195°F (65°C to 90°C). They often have unpainted, wood interiors and temperature controls. Saunas may also include rocks (as part of their heating element) that absorb and give off heat. Water can be poured onto these rocks to create steam.
There are several different types of saunas. For example, Finnish saunas typically use dry heat while Turkish-style saunas have more moisture.
Relaxing in a hot, woodsy-scented sauna may be the best part of your gym workout or an enjoyable experience reserved for vacation. Whether you indulge several times a week or only once a year, saunas can provide relaxation and health benefits, such as reducing minor aches and pains.
Naturally, a person might think walking into a sauna that they’re going in there to sweat and nothing more. Of course, you don’t need to be bringing in a bottle of water into a sauna – at least, that’s one way to think. Why would you want to hydrate when you’re going into a sweat – well, here’s why.
When you’re sweating, it’s easy to dehydrate. No one is going into a sauna to dehydrate themselves completely. When you do that, it could have very negative consequences on your body. Before, during, and after, you want to be sipping on water and keeping healthy. Drinking water’s not going to impact your sauna time negatively. Drinking water and staying hydrated will help you sweat more and lose weight.
Analyzing our body composition, our muscles contain 75 per cent water, our brain is 76 per cent water, our lungs are 90 per cent water, and our bones are made from 25 per cent. It is imperative to the water’s in our systems at all times to keep these parts of our bodies functioning, among other aspects of our health. For example, our bodies transport nutrients to various areas through our blood and our blood is made up of more than 82 per cent water. This all means you should be sipping on water throughout your sauna adventures. Check out Portable Sauna Melbourne specialists in providing solutions to your problem.
Female runner drinking water our bodies need water to survive. About 60% of the adult human body is water, and a large number of body systems require it to function normally. Take a look at all the ways our bodies use water:
- Body temperature: Sweat helps to regulate body temperature and keep us cool.
- Circulation and heart health: When properly hydrated, the blood carries more oxygen cells, and the heart can pump easier.
- Digestion and waste removal: Water helps your body break down food and absorb nutrients; water also helps the kidneys transport waste out of the body’s cells and keeps the gastrointestinal tract in good working order – all of which helps flush your body of waste and toxins.
- Healthy joints: Water cushions and lubricates joints.
- Healthy skin: Drinking plenty of water keeps skin and hair hydrated; dehydration often leads to dry skin and hair.
Although water is critical for survival, our bodies cannot store water, and we must therefore be diligent about keeping a steady influx of fluids. All of which is to say, staying hydrated is one of the most important and easiest things you can do to maintain your health and wellbeing. Hydration is especially important during the summer months – as well as before, after and during sauna use – as our bodies lose fluids rapidly in the heat.
Side Effects of Dehydration
The truth is, most of us under-hydrate and therefore live in a constant state of daily dehydration. Wonder if you’re not drinking enough water each day? Symptoms of mild dehydration include dry mouth, headache, constipation, dizziness, lack of energy and, of course, thirst. One of the best and easiest ways to measure your hydration level is how often you visit the bathroom – if you’re hydrated, you should be making trips every couple hours. Did you go the whole afternoon without making a single trip? Decreased urination is usually a sign of dehydration.
Mild dehydration often goes unnoticed and can, therefore lead to chronic dehydration. Because of poor hydration habits, certain medications, or an illness, some people stay mildly dehydrated for days or even weeks. Common symptoms of chronic dehydration include fatigue, depression, poor concentration, reoccurring headaches and food cravings. This last symptom is a good one to watch out for. Many people mistake thirst for hunger and reach for a snack instead of a sip of water.
Common Sense Tips to Stay Hydrated
The easiest way to stay hydrated is both obvious and simple: drink more water! A good rule of thumb to follow is don’t just drink when you feel thirsty. By the time you feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated.
The amount of water needed to stay properly hydrated depends upon the individual. Bodyweight, heat exposure and activity level all factor in. Even people who aren’t that active should drink six or eight glasses of water a day.
For those who exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests drinking anywhere from four to eight ounces of water every 20 minutes during exercises. The ACSM also recommends drinking 16-20 ounces of water (2-3 glasses) an hour or two prior to exercising and replenishing with 20-24 ounces of water (3-4 glasses) post-exercise.
Proper hydration is also a crucial component of safe sauna use. At Sunlighten, we recommend drinking an 8-ounce glass of water prior to sauna use and rehydrating with 24 ounces of water post-use. Because the body loses essential nutrients during intense sweating, we also recommend drinking something that will restore lost nutrients, such as electrolyte drink like BioPure MicroMinerals for replenishment.
How to use a sauna
If you’re lucky enough to have a sauna in your home, you won’t have to worry about etiquette. If, however, you’re sharing your sauna experience with other people (such as at the gym), there are important do’s and don’ts you should abide by. These include:
- Take a quick, post-workout shower before using the sauna.
- Enter and exit quickly. Saunas are airtight, to keep the heat inside. Opening the door releases heat, and should be done expeditiously.
- Note the attire (or lack of it) of the people inside. In some saunas, nudity is acceptable. In others, wearing a towel or bathing suit is preferable.
- Whether you’re nude or not, it’s never appropriate to sit directly on the bench. Make sure to bring a towel you can sit on, and take it with you when you leave.
- Don’t stretch out if the sauna is crowded.
- If the temperature is too hot or cold for you, ask for a group consensus prior to adjusting the thermostat or ladling water onto the sauna rocks. Keep in mind that you can also adjust the temperature to your liking by changing your seat level.
- Keep conversation low, and do not employ rowdy behaviour. Saunas are designed for relaxation.
- Do not shave, tweeze, brush your hair, or groom in any way while using the sauna.
- Do not leave litter of any kind behind, such as band-aids or bobby pins.
Sauna safety tips
Whether you sauna in public or in private, there are important safety measures you should follow and be aware of:
- Despite their benefits, saunas may not be appropriate for everyone. Check with your doctor before using a sauna, especially if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure, abnormal heart rhythm, or unstable angina. If you have any of these health conditions, limit your sauna use to five minutes per visit, and make sure to cool down slowly.
- Check with your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, before using a sauna.
- Don’t use a sauna if you take medications which interfere with your body’s ability to regulate temperature or medications which make you drowsy.
- Don’t use a sauna if you’re ill.
- Drink at least one full glass of water before and after using a sauna, to avoid dehydration.
- Don’t drink alcohol before, during, or after sauna use.
- Don’t use recreational drugs before, during, or after sauna use.
- Don’t eat a large meal prior to using a sauna.
- An article published in the American Journal of Public Health recommends that healthy people not sit in a sauna for more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time. If you’re new to the sauna experience, listen to your body and start slowly (for no more than 5 to 10 minutes per session). You can build up your tolerance for the heat over multiple visits.
- Never let yourself fall asleep in a sauna.
- Exit the sauna if you feel dizzy or ill.
- The Finnish sauna tradition often ends with a plunge in cold water. This may not be appropriate for everyone, especially for those who are pregnant, or those with heart or other health conditions. It may be better to let your body temperature return to normal gradually after sauna use to avoid dizziness.
- Saunas temporarily elevate the temperature of the scrotum. If you’re a man, this does not mean you can use a sauna as a birth control method. However, regular sauna use may temporarily reduce your sperm count and should be avoided if you’re actively attempting to impregnate your partner.
The National Health Service (NHS) warns that becoming overheated in a sauna can be dangerous to the health of the mom and the baby during pregnancy. Overheating in a sauna or steam room may also be more likely while you’re pregnant. Also Portable Sauna Melbourne page which has everything Portable Sauna related that you might need
Hit The Sweat Shop For Hot Results
To expedite the biological process and to produce greater sweat results, health enthusiasts have gravitated to using saunas.
However, the use of saunas, while beneficial, requires taking some initial precautions to avoid side effects from misuse or overuse. Increasingly, infrared saunas – as opposed to conventional ones that use heating elements – are becoming the more popular and healthy choice at gyms and home.
- Warm-Up: Infrared saunas are typically set for temperatures between 100-104 degrees. Beginners may set the temperature slightly lower to get acclimated to the heat. Temperatures in conventional saunas are set between 160-200 degrees. Using a Sauna Requires Drinking Plenty of Water
- Drink Up: Drink water – 8 – 12 ounces – before entering the sauna. Then take some water with you. Consuming water is probably the single most important step.
- Bring Laundry: Sit on a towel. Your sweat will include heavy metals and other toxins. This is for the sake of good hygiene.
- Don’t Dress Up: Ideally, it’s best to go into a sauna nude (but not at the gym or health club). The mistake some sauna users make is the misguided assumption that extra clothes, a sweatsuit or a water suit help promote healthy sweating. When you’re covered, your sweat is trapped and can’t keep you cool through evaporation. This can lead to overheating and prevents the elimination of toxin-filled sweat.
- Relax, Take It Easy: Use the time – 10 – 30 minutes – to relax, reflect, listen to music or read a book. You can always socialize if the situation warrants. Using a Sauna Requires Drinking Plenty of Water
- Watching The Clock: Some experts rightly warn about overdoing your time in the sauna. Recommended time limits are 30 minutes, although 10-minute sessions at a time are preferable. The best approach to determine your time limit is to let your body do the talking. Get out if you feel like you’ve had enough. The longer you use saunas, the better you’ll be able to tolerate heat levels, and the longer you’ll be able to stay.
- Back To The Water: You have to watch what you drink. Water is your best choice. Consuming alcohol before, during or after using a sauna is an absolute no-no.
- Sweat Rates: You may not begin sweating right away after going into the sauna. Then again, you may start sweating immediately. Sometimes sweat rates vary, but regular sauna users tend to sweat more profusely.
- How Often? If you’re healthy, you can use a sauna every day. Saunas pose few health risks other than those caused by misuse. Consult your healthcare professional first before you start using the sauna.
How to Intensify the Benefits of a Sauna
With approximately one sauna for every three people in the country, sauna bathing has become a national pastime in Finland. The practise began thousands of years ago as a method of bodily cleansing and relaxation, and most Finns still take a weekly sauna bath. As masters of the technique, the Finnish Sauna Society and heat therapy enthusiasts provide detailed recommendations on how to get the most out of your sauna experience. Looking for Sauna Melbourne? Look no further, Portable Sauna has you covered.
Drink 8 to 16 ounces of water before going inside the sauna room, holistic physician Lawrence Wilson recommends in “Sauna Therapy.” During the sauna bath, the body produces a therapeutic sweat that eliminates heavy metals and toxic chemicals, Wilson says. Sauna enthusiasts say that the body can lose about a pint of water during a 20-minute sauna session.
Heat the sauna to a temperature between 176 and 194 degrees Fahrenheit. While the sauna warms, take a shower with soap to remove dust and perfume from your body, the Finnish Sauna Society says.
Enter the sauna room wearing a towel and take a towel to sit on. Drink water inside the sauna to stay hydrated. Take water to pour onto the sauna rocks. The humidity inside a traditional dry sauna reaches about 10 per cent. Wetting the rocks will create steam that temporarily makes the room more humid and raises the temperature.
Leave the sauna after 20 minutes. Cool off by taking a shower or by sitting in room temperature. Allow at least 15 minutes to cool down. Avoid extreme temperature changes when showering and cooling the body, the Finnish Sauna Society says.
Enter the sauna for a second 20-minute session. After the second round, cool down and take another soap shower. Dry off with a towel or by sitting in room temperature. You also can lie down with your eyes closed, or you may want to drink water to replenish your fluid levels and have a salty snack, the Finnish Sauna Society says. Allow enough time for your body to cool before getting dressed.
Use a sauna the first thing in the morning or the last thing at night says holistic physician Lawrence Wilson in “Sauna Therapy.” The sauna treatment will be more effective at those times because you are likely to feel most relaxed. The more one relaxes, Wilson says, the more you will sweat. Wilson also suggests using a sauna twice weekly. Begin with a maximum of one session daily for no more than 30 minutes, he says. If you are recovering from illness, begin with one sauna session a week and work up to daily use, Wilson says.
Don’t drink alcohol while inside the sauna, says the Finnish Sauna Society. Don’t heat the sauna to temperatures greater than 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave the sauna immediately if you feel faint, stop sweating or if your heart starts to race, Wilson says. People with heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma or skin disease should keep the temperature under 194 degrees Fahrenheit and avoid rapid changes from hot to cold and vice versa, the Finnish Sauna Society says. Pregnant women can safely go to the sauna under the same conditions, but should lower the temperature to 158 degrees Fahrenheit, they say. Wilson says pregnant women should avoid saunas. Check out our range of Portable Sauna Melbourne to help with your problem.
Not every sauna experience is the same. There is certainly a place for milder/longer sauna sessions. And above all, listen to the feedback your body is giving you.
Saunas provide a relaxing experience and multiple health benefits. It’s important to use a sauna safely and to follow specific rules of etiquette.
Saunas may be beneficial for a wide range of conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and depression. They’re not, however, appropriate for everyone. Check with your doctor before visiting a sauna, especially if you have an underlying medical condition, or are pregnant.