Everything there is to know about the benefits of sauna, what it does for your skin and how it can help with weight loss
No one is sure when the first sauna was built but the tradition is thought to originate somewhere in Northern Europe around 2 000 BC. It has remained an important part of cultural life to this day and is now becoming part of the natural ways in which we heal our body and maintain a healthy and natural lifestyle.
A sauna experience is great because it does not only help to relieve sore muscles, it also helps you relax and destress. This will result in a better mental state of mind so you can tackle your hard days ahead.
In this article, we will share with you the health benefits sauna sessions can provide for your body as well as share some research on how it can help with weight loss and also give you that glowing, younger-looking skin you have always dreamed of.
What is a sauna?
A sauna is a small room that is heated to temperatures between 150°F and 195°F. Some of them might include rocks that are heated and water is poured over the rocks to help heat up the room as well. Many different types of saunas can be found around the world. The two main ones are:
- Finnish saunas- These use dry heat
- Turkish saunas- These saunas have more moisture. They are the ones that will use the rocks to create the steam in the room.
Are saunas safe to use?
Generally speaking, a sauna is safe for you to use. With that being said, there are times whereby using a sauna is not recommended. You must keep in mind, your body sweats to help maintain a steady core temperature. The longer you stay in the sauna, the more you will sweat. You need to ensure that you stay hydrated.
Drink water before and after you go into a sauna to help replenish the liquid that you have lost during your sauna session.
How to use a sauna safely
To ensure that you get the best health benefits from a sauna, you need to know how to use it correctly. This will help keep you safe and make sure that you get the best benefits.
- Length of time
Most people recommend that you stay in a sauna for 15 minutes at a time. This length will depend on your comfort zone. You might want to start slow and work your way up to 15 minutes. As soon as you start to feel lightheaded, dizzy or dehydrated, remove yourself from the sauna right away. Drink some water and go sit in a nice cool spot until your body temperature goes back to normal.
- Normal temperature ranges
The recommended temperature for a dry sauna is between 150°F to 195°F.
- Cooling down period
It is important that you give your body a cooling down period. If you are doing more than one sauna session in a day, you need to ensure that you remember this step. Step out of the sauna after 15 minutes. Sit in a nice cool spot, relax and drink plenty of water before you go back into the sauna for your next session.
There are a few other things you should follow and be aware of:
- Check with your doctor to make sure that it is ok for you to have a sauna session.
- Drink at least a full glass of water before and after your sauna session.
- Do not drink alcohol before, during or after your session
- Do not eat large meals before entering the sauna
- Do not fall asleep in the sauna
- Get out of the sauna if you feel dizzy or ill
The benefits of a sauna on the body as well as skin
There are a lot of studies out there trying to prove the benefits of a sauna and how it can help your bodies physically as well as mentally. Some people believe that a sauna helps with their chronic pain and arthritis but this has not yet been proven. Culturally, people believe that adding essential oils to the sauna helps to cleanse the spirit and soul of the person who is in the sauna. They believe that this will result in their illness going away and their body’s feel rejuvenated and restored back to full health.
The benefits of infrared sauna
Unlike traditional saunas, infrared saunas use lamps to warm your body directly. This means that the lamps will heat up your body long before it heats up the room.
An infrared sauna works at a lower temperature between 120˚F and 140˚F. People who use these saunas say that: “the heat penetrates more deeply than warmed air. This allows you to experience a more intense sweat at a lower temperature”.
Some of the supposed benefits are but not limited to:
- Clearer and tighter skin
- Relief from sore muscles
- Better sleep
- Aids relaxation
- Weight loss
- Improved circulation
- People believe that it helps clear their minds and puts them in a better headspace
- Can help with anti-ageing treatments
- Helps people who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome
A small study was conducted on people who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. The study found that these people benefited from using an infrared sauna as part of their overall treatment.
The benefits of using a sauna after your workout
Before you use the sauna after a workout, you should take a quick shower to ensure that the sauna stays hygienic throughout the treatment.
Using a sauna after your workout will enhance the muscle recovery process. The recovery is enhanced because you increase the blood circulation and carry oxygen-rich blood to oxygen-depleted muscles. Heat also helps the muscles to relax more which will relieve any muscle pain and tension that you might be feeling right after your workout.
A 2007 study was conducted to see the effects the sauna has on endurance abilities in athletes. The study found that the athletes increased their running endurance after 3 weeks on the sauna program. The researchers assume that the increased blood volume from the heat exposure was responsible for the improved endurance.
The benefits sauna usage has on your skin
Did you know that your skin is the biggest organ in your body? It is important that we look after our skin for numerous reasons, one being that your skin is a barrier between you and unwanted germs.
When you sweat in the sauna, it has a cleansing effect on your pores and glands. This will help flush out toxins and impurities in the skin. This results in healthier looking skin that is less prone to acne, pimples and blackheads.
It has been proven that heat enhances collagen production in the skin. This helps to strengthen and rejuvenate your skin. The heat also helps the skin get rid of unwanted dead skin cells and promotes the growth of newer and healthier skin cells. Collagen also helps to slow down the ageing process. You will look younger for longer.
The benefits of sauna for weight loss
Many people turn to sauna treatments to help them with their weight loss journey. This does not mean that you can quit the gym and working out altogether. You can use sauna sessions with your workout routine as a way to help you lose weight.
When you sweat, you get rid of unwanted toxins in your body and this can help you lose some excess fat and water weight. The sauna can help your body increase its metabolic rate by up to 20%. This will make your body burn more calories and result in weight loss.
A two-phase sauna weight loss study was conducted using infrared saunas. The study revealed that by increasing the core body temperature, there was a decrease in body fat. The study said that the participants dropped an average of 4% body fat over four months.
Using a sauna as well as a healthy diet and exercise can result in weight loss that can be maintained. This is a healthy and holistic approach that you can take to help you during your weight loss journey.
Sauna precautions and safety tips
- Get up slowly to avoid getting dizzy. If you feel dizzy or faint, sit down and let your body cool down before you try to get up again.
- Exfoliate after your sauna session to help get rid of unwanted dead skin cells
- If you feeling ill, do not go into the sauna
- If you are pregnant, it is not advised that you use a sauna
- If you take medications that aid in body temperature control, do not go into a sauna
- Take a damp towel in with you to help wipe down your body during your session
- Do not shave before your sauna treatment
Even though there is a lot of evidence that suggests sauna sessions are healthy for you and provide your body with a lot of benefits, you should always consult with your doctor before you start to take on sauna sessions.
Make sure that you only use facilities that are clean and well-maintained. Drink plenty of water before and after your sauna sessions and remember to relax and concentrate on your breathing when you are in the sauna to get the mental benefits as well as the physical benefits.
- Always drink a lot of water before and after your sessions
- Check with your doctor before you start using a sauna
- Shower before and after you enter the sauna
- If you start to feel faint, dizzy or unwell, exit the sauna, sit down and let your body cool off
To learn more about natural ways to help heal and maintain a healthy body, skin and mind, feel free to sign up for our emailing services to learn more.