Are Saunas Good for You? Understanding the Benefits vs. the Risks

Saunas are not just for those who want to get rid of excess pounds and stay fit. There are several saunas benefits beyond weight loss, such as relaxation and stress relief. Saunas are a great way to get all these benefits in one place. However, some risks involve using the sauna, especially if you're not an experienced user. You need to be aware of both before you start using them regularly.

Saunas vs. steam rooms

Saunas and steam rooms are both hot room-sized areas, and some would consider them the same. However, steam rooms use hot water vapor to increase the temperature of the air inside, while saunas just rely on dry heat. Saunas are more popular because they are much easier to use and can be found in many health clubs today.

The benefits of saunas

Relaxation

If you're a very stressed person, you may have discovered that you can't unwind until you get into a tub of warm water or a hot bathtub. This is because a hot bath relaxes your muscles. Saunas work in the same way as hot water baths, except that they are better because they achieve a higher level of relaxation effect.

Pain relief

Saunas help relieve pain by loosening up stiff muscles and increasing the blood flow to your muscles, so they can be eased of accumulated lactic acid. This is one of the reasons why many health clubs have saunas on their premises.

Lung and circulatory improvement

Saunas improve circulation to your lungs and your heart, consequently improving the oxygen exchange in your lungs. By increasing circulation and reducing lung congestion, you'll be able to breathe better. Improved breathing means that you'll also be able to exercise better without fatigue or stress on your body.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

As stated, saunas are very good at relieving your stress, which is one of the reasons why they're now widely available. The dry heat in the sauna causes you to sweat a lot, and when you sweat out toxins from your body, it relieves you of stress. More importantly, when your mind is not occupied with worries about bills or relationships (the usual suspects), it will be more open to new ideas and problem-solving skills.

Saunas can also help improve memory by increasing oxygen flow to the brain cells. So go ahead and get into that sauna for a little bit; you have nothing to lose but pounds.

Risks of using saunas

Dehydration

The main risk of using saunas is dehydration. The dryness in the sauna dehydrates your skin and soft tissue and also causes your body to lose water. If you're not careful, you can easily get dehydrated while in a sauna. You can avoid this risk by consuming lots of water before your sauna session and after.

Weight loss  

The weight loss effect of a sauna is something that people often want to achieve, but it isn't healthy to lose more than one pound per week at most, as too much weight loss will make you look sickly and unhealthy. People who weigh more also run the risk of danger when they use a sauna. It's good to consult your doctor first before getting into a sauna for weight loss.

Weight gain can happen when you get into a sauna regularly. However, this is not because you're eating more but rather because you sweat out water from your body, which is why it's important to stay hydrated if you want to keep your weight normal.

Toxins  

Over time, toxins from the air and environment get deposited on our skin and in our bodies. These toxins may be harmful or at least irritating for some people. Saunas are known to help with this problem because the dry heat helps sweat out these toxins from your body. However, if you are sensitive to heat or have medical problems, it's best to consult a doctor before using a sauna. This is because your condition may worsen, or you might have some allergic reaction to the high heat.

Saunas may also make you cough up mucus. This is because the dry air causes your internal mucus membranes to contract and thus forcing mucus out of your body through coughing and sneezing. Those who wish to avoid this effect should stay hydrated while in a sauna and keep their head cool by not wearing anything on their heads while inside.

Fertility  

Many sauna experts say that using a sauna regularly can pose some threat to your fertility. Saunas cause an imbalance in the body, which may result in an imbalance between male and female hormones. However, these issues may be resolved by drinking more water and undergoing more exercise. It's recommended that you consult a doctor if you want to use saunas for fertility problems.

When to avoid saunas

There are certain conditions that must be avoided when using saunas, as they can make them dangerous for your health. They include:

1. People with hormonal problems can develop gynecological disorders if they put themselves in an environment with high heat and humidity because these conditions will cause the female reproductive system to become unstable.

2. People who suffer from asthma, chronic bronchitis, or hay fever may also have trouble breathing in moist hot steam, which is why you should stay away from saunas when you have a cold or a flu infection.

3. People with kidney disease should avoid saunas, too because they may make the condition worse by drying and dehydrating your urine.

4. If your blood pressure is too high, you shouldn't use a sauna because it can raise your blood pressure.

5. If you have heart disease, don't use saunas because high levels of heat can damage the pounding in your heart and make your condition worse.

6. Don't expose yourself to the sun during a sauna session because doing so can make you burn too much on your skin and leave you with painful sunburns.

7. Before leaving a sauna, don't jump into a cold pool or bathtub. Instead, take a cool shower and slowly acclimate your body to the normal temperature. This is because too much heat exposure can make you easily catch colds and flu.

8. Always remember to bring your medications with you to a sauna session because you might have an emergency and need them during your session. A good example is if you have asthma or any heart condition and need medicine every day in order to survive.

9. It's best not to use a sauna if you are pregnant or to breastfeed because too much heat may cause harm to the mother and child in the womb or after birth, respectively.

Saunas are great for your health, and they're really worth the try. Make sure to read the risks and benefits carefully first and consult a doctor before using these devices.

There are different types and styles of saunas available, but they all basically function the same way: They're hot room that gives you a good sweat within minutes.

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