To get the most out of your sauna session, begin by taking a shower and then dry yourself off thoroughly. A dry skin surface ensures you start to perspire more quickly. And that’s what it’s all about after all! Sweating is a natural function designed to keep the body cool by preventing it from overheating.
For us, the most popular type of sauna is the Finnish sauna or “infusion sauna”. Here water is often mixed with essential oils and poured onto hot stones to generate steam and increase humidity.
Some sauna establishments also offer a dry sauna, which is even hotter. This is sometimes known as a Sahara saun
In our neck of the woods it is customary to go into the sauna naked. For hygiene reasons a towel is generally placed under the body, although in Finland this is often left outside as well. In the USA or in Asia, on the other hand, nudity in the sauna is not the norm. Here saunas are usually an extension to swimming pool complexes.
The recommended amount of time you should spend in a sauna is 8 to 15 minutes per sitting. After that it is a good idea to get some fresh air if possible, as the lungs absorb oxygen especially well after a sauna. This should then be followed by a cold shower. Jumping into a lake, rubbing the body with ice or rolling in the snow probably caps it all off for most sauna lovers. At the end of a sauna session you should relax in a quiet room for about 15 minutes before repeating the whole process for a second or third time, if desired. Anyone who over-does it, however, can expect to experience extreme fatigue. And anyone suffering from poor circulation should approach the sauna with caution.
Enjoyed in moderation, visiting a sauna has many health benefits and can produce an overwhelming sense of well-being, especially during the cold season.
The artificial feve
Breaking into a sweat usually requires physical exertion. But it’s not only sport that keeps you healthy; a visit to the sauna can also work wonders. When we sweat in the sauna our body temperature goes up to 39 degrees. This “artificial fever” to which we expose ourselves works the same way as a real fever: it destroys pathogens.
Moreover, a sauna session boosts blood circulation and is good for the skin. Heat dilates the blood vessels, which then narrow again upon entering cold water. Cooling off afterwards is an important part of the practice, as it relaxes our muscles, lowers blood pressure, stimulates metabolism, circulation and the immune system and also helps you breathe more deeply agai
The activation of the sweat glands during a sauna and the intense hydration of the skin also help to prevent premature aging. If you have especially dry skin, it will feel fresh and revitalised after a sauna.
- Never enter sauna heat if you are exhausted or after strenuous sport; you may experience circulatory problems.
- Always dry off well before going into the sauna; you will sweat better. • Avoid physical exertion in the heat. Even talking can put excess strain on your body.
- Never go into the sauna if you have an acute virus infection. • After the sauna drink plenty of water to encourage detoxification.
- Always shower in cold water after the sauna, not warm. This supports the cooling effect.
- Be sure to avoid “post sweat”, even if there are warm pools or post-sweat rooms available as this could bring on circulatory congestion and infection.
- Cold foot baths after a sauna may cause vascular spasms.
- Aerobics or swimming delays cooling after a sauna and promotes infection.