How and Why to Use a Sauna

The Benefits of Using a Sauna:

1) You can burn calories without using any other kind of exercise.

2) You can lose weight if you are overweight.

You will feel better when you have lost some pounds. If you want to lose more than 5 lbs., then it’s not necessary to go into a sauna. However, if your goal is just to shed some extra pounds, then going into a sauna might be beneficial for you.

3) You can relax and enjoy yourself when you are exercising.

When you are relaxing in a sauna, you can do whatever you like. You don’t need to worry about doing something wrong or getting sick while doing so.

4) A sauna helps improve your mood and concentration levels.

Your mind gets focused on something else which improves your overall health and well being.

5) You can reduce stress levels and anxiety levels.

Stress causes many problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, etc. Anxiety increases your chances of developing cancer and other diseases.

6) You can become more alert during the day time.

Being in a sauna helps you wake up earlier and sleep later at night. It makes you more productive throughout the day. (You may also get sleepy during the day).

How to Use a Sauna?

Before you start using a sauna, it is important to know how to use a sauna. Don’t just get inside the sauna and stay there for prolonged periods of time. You must take breaks in between. Just follow these simple steps that will help you enjoy your sauna experience:

1) Go to the sauna once every week or two weeks at most.

If you go every day, then your body won’t be able to get the full benefits.

2) Start with 3 minutes and then gradually increase the time by 1 minute each week.

For example, if you start with 3 minutes, then next time you go to the sauna you can stay inside for 4 minutes.

3) But don’t increase your time more than 10 minutes per week.

Going from 3-10 minutes will take you around 6-7 weeks before you can comfortably use the sauna for 10 minutes.

4) Always start with low temperature.

If it is your first time using the sauna, it is recommended to go with the lowest temperature setting available. Try to stick with that setting for at least a week or two.

5) After 10 minutes you should take a break of at least 5-10 minutes before continuing.

6) Drink plenty of water during your session and after you have finished to prevent dehydration.

Dehydration can cause serious health problems.

7) Listen to your body carefully.

If you start feeling dizzy, fatigued or nauseous then it means that you need to get out of the sauna immediately.

8) Don’t eat heavy meals before using the sauna.

A light meal 1-2 hours before is OK.

9) Wear as little clothing as possible when inside the sauna room.

It varies from person to person, but you should be comfortable in whatever you choose to wear. If you feel that you are too warm, then take off your clothing. If you feel cold, then put it back on.

10) Always consult your doctor before using a sauna if you have a pre-existing medical condition or if you are taking any kind of medication. Pregnant women and people under the age of 16 should not use a sauna.

What to Expect from a Sauna?

There are many benefits to using saunas. Different people experience different effects. Some of the most common effects which people experience after using a sauna are:

1) Detoxification of your body: When you use a sauna, it helps your body get rid of toxic chemicals and by-products.

Your heart rate increases, which in turn improves blood circulation. Your sweat contains toxins, which are then eliminated through the skin.

2) Weight loss: Regular use of the sauna can help you lose weight.

3) Pain relief: A sauna helps in pain relief because of several reasons.

One of the most important ones is that lactic acid and other toxins are released and diluted in your blood. This reduces the burning sensation and pain.

4) Relaxation: The heat of the sauna increases the flow of blood towards your skin.

This causes your blood vessels to dilate and allow more blood to circulate through your muscles and heart. This produces a state of relaxation.

5) Immune system strengthening: Saunas can strengthen your immune system and protect you against colds and flus.

This is due to the increase in white blood cells.

6) Better sleep: Some people who use the sauna report feeling sleepy after using it.

This is because the relaxation caused by the sauna releases a brain hormone which is responsible for sleepiness and drowsiness.

7) Deeper skin penetration: Since the pores are opened up by the heat, this helps in the absorption of any topical creams, ointments or oils that you may have applied before stepping into the sauna.

Sources & references used in this article:

Steam generating device for use in sauna by CS Wu – US Patent 6,577,815, 2003 – Google Patents

Facts and fables about sauna. by K Kauppinen – Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1997 – europepmc.org

Unreported sauna use in anorexia nervosa: evidence from the world-wide-web by A Vähäsoini, R Vazquez, CL Birmingham… – Eating and Weight …, 2004 – Springer

Heat stroke and burns resulting from use of sauna by K Rünitz, TH Jensen – Ugeskrift for laeger, 2009 – europepmc.org