Once relegated to the 70’s, saunas in all of their glory are making a renaissance. As people once again become aware of the health and wellness benefits from regular sauna use, there’s a few things you need to keep in mind if you’re planning to make the sauna a regular habit.
Like most things in life, maximum rewards are best achieved with steady progression, rather than a sprint. So, when it comes to enjoying a sauna, it’s important to take a gradual approach to avoid over-stressing your body.
If you’re looking to get the most value out of your sauna, it’s important to take a few things into account. In this article we’ll talk about the fundamentals of staying happy and healthy inside a sauna, and discover some of the most common mistakes people make.
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#1 – Preparation
Saunas have been proven to help you lose weight but make sure to follow the safety procedures and rules before entering a sauna to make sure that you are safe and no accidents will occur.
One of the most important considerations when it comes to sauna safety is preparation. You need to feel fit and healthy, otherwise, your body mightn’t react as positively to heat exposure as you had hoped.
Anyone with a history of low blood pressure, kidney disease or if you’re taking medications like diuretics or blood pressure-altering drugs, you should take particular care before using a sauna.
In general you should make sure your body is well hydrated before you step inside, so avoid drinking any alcohol before you use your sauna.
#2 – Limit Your Time Inside
One of the most common mistakes new sauna users make is going for the world record sauna session from the outset. If you’re new to saunas, then it’s absolutely essential that you start with short sessions inside – around 15-20 minutes, which is ideal for beginners, especially when you’re using local saunas.
This length of time is just right for your body’s physiology to get acquainted with the experience of heat exposure without the concern of over-extending your tolerances.
If your body responds positively to the experience, you can gradually increase the amount of time you’re spending inside your sauna to anywhere between 30-45 minutes.
#3 – Monitor for Any Adverse Symptoms
After a few minutes inside a sauna, you’ll find that as your body temperature rises, you might feel some tension in your head, or that your pulse is more noticeable than normal. These are common and expected reactions from your body as it is exposed to heat.
What you need to take note of however, is any nausea or dizziness, or whether your headache worsens. Symptoms like these may be a sign that your body is underprepared or too dehydrated to respond positively to the experience, and you should take these as an indication that you should leave your session there for the day.
#4 – Relax, But Don’t Fall Asleep
Sitting inside a sauna is an incredibly relaxing sensation, but it’s important that you don’t get carried away and fall asleep! This is something you should pay attention to if you’re taking any medication that can make you drowsy, or if you’ve had any alcohol beforehand.
Setting a timer before you step inside is a great way to monitor the time you’re spending there, and eliminates the chance of over-exposing your body to heat if you fall asleep.
#5 – Post Sauna Care
When you’ve finished your session there are a few other things to consider. As your body is exposed to heat, you sweat – this means that you have lost quite a lot of water in addition to vital salts and electrolytes that help us recover after exercise.
So, when you’re done, drink at least four glasses of water to rehydrate. You can also supplement the minerals and salts you’ve lost with an electrolyte supplement.
#6 – Are Infrared Saunas Safe?
Let’s end our discussion with an important question: are infrared saunas safe?
The short answer is yes. Infrared saunas have been found to be a safe and reliable way to alleviate stress and kick-start your body into producing chemicals to fortify your immune system and provide your organs with nutrient-rich blood. The technology is even used as a medical tool to keep newborn babies warm.
In essence, infrared therapy utilises the same far-infrared wavelengths that the sun’s electromagnetic field creates, which penetrate below the skin surface and warm our body directly.