Saunas are so hot right now. Literally, all over the world right now saunas are being heated up for people to enjoy. While at the gym in the locker room after a workout or yoga class you’ve probably noticed the sauna in all of its glory and mystery. Sometimes it’s empty, and sometimes you can see people relaxing inside, so why don’t you put an end to your curiosity and step in yourself?
The Benefits of Relaxing in the Sauna
Saunas are relatively new to gyms in the US, but they’ve been actually been around for centuries. Native Americans used to create their own sweat lodges in clay huts, and Europeans would dig trenches to heat up and relax in because they wanted to take advantage of the hot and steamy health benefits.
When you stay in the sauna for 10 to 20 minutes you start to sweat, which is how your body gets rid of toxins found in our food, beverages, and daily environments. Usually, people sweat out about one quart of moisture a day, but sitting in the sauna can help you sweat that much in as little as 15 minutes to flush toxins out of your system.
Also, saunas can improve your cardiovascular health because it gets your blood pumping and opens capillaries. As your blood flows more easily your heart can relax and your blood pressure can lower,as well as fight chronic fatigue.
As a result of better blood flow more nutrients and oxygen will flow to your muscles, as a result by-products like lactic acid are removed to help them relax and recover after working out. Plus, the heat helps you build muscle and endurance while burning calories and many athletes find themselves stronger and more able after relaxing in a sauna a few times a week.
Got a few achy joints and pains? Try sitting in the sauna to help relieve them. Most people discover that saunas help to relieve their arthritis pain or musculoskeletal pain while healing their wounds because saunas promote faster skin cell regeneration and human tissue growth. This helps with preventing scars and infections.
Not only will you feel good, but you’ll look good because saunas open your pores to clean them and improves the elasticity of the skin to give you a youthful appearance and glow. Saunas also release endorphins to help treat mild depression and insomnia so you’ll feel happier and could get a better night’s sleep.
Plus, saunas help to thin mucus so it will drain from your sinus cavities and chest, so you’ll breathe easier. As your body temperature rises, more white blood cells are released to help your immune system stay strong and ward off illnesses like colds or the flu.
Types of Saunas
Some places offer a few different types of saunas, but you can simply pick the one you would like to relax in based off of your personal preferences:
Wood Burning Saunas – Wood burning saunas consist of wood burning stoves that heat rocks, like coal, to provide a very warm environment. The room has no humidity and often has wooden benches and walls.
Electronically Heated Saunas – Saunas that are electrically heated have electric heaters on the floor or walls that fill the room with dry heat.
Steam Rooms – Steam saunas take place in tiled rooms with an endless amount of warm steam. It’s a very wet environment. Steam rooms are cooler than dry saunas, to prevent the steam from being scalding hot. Steam rooms can be around 104 degrees F, while dry saunas generally range from 140 to 200 degrees F.
Infrared Saunas – Infrared saunas are relatively new to the sauna world. They consist of special infrared lamps to heat your core temperature, instead of them room. They make you sweat, but don’t inhibit your ability to breathe.
Before you step in the sauna don’t worry. You won’t get locked in, and while your breathing may feel weird at first, simply relax and your breathing will ease. There’s nothing to be worried about in the sauna. However, if you’re pregnant, have high blood pressure, or a heart condition, check with your doctor first.
Also, avoid the sauna if you’ve had any alcohol or medications that inhibit your ability to sweat, as overheating could occur.
Don’t forget to hydrate. Either during your workout or before you head to the sauna drink some water. Saunas will make you sweat out the water in your system and can be dehydrating, so avoid complications with some good ole H2O. You should also drink water after your session.
Then it’s time to take it all off. Try to wear as little clothes as possible in the sauna to avoid trapping sweat and heat on your skin. Most people wear a towel or swimsuit.
Even if you aren’t going to cover yourself with a towel bring one to sit on, to avoid sitting on sweat and bacteria left from previous sauna users. Also, to avoid getting athlete’s footwear shower shoes in the locker room and sauna.
Start off slowly by seeing how long you feel comfortable in the sauna. Usually, beginners spend about 10 minutes relaxing in there. You can gradually extend the amount of time in the sauna over time.
If you start to feel light-headed or dizzy leave the sauna to cool off.
Enjoy Your Relaxing Session
It’s time once and for all to finally check out how great saunas can make you feel, from head to toe, and inside and out. Use HealingRadius.com, the holistic search site to find local saunas or gyms with saunas in your area.
Allison Barfield is a content writer for Span Enterprises and has been writing since she first learned to hold a pencil, shortly after birth. After graduating from the University of South Carolina in 2013 with a B.A. in media arts she fell in love with marketing. She's been copy writing and managing multiple blogs ever since.