If you're looking to lose weight, sweat off a few pounds, or just generally improve your health and well-being, there's no better place to start than with a sauna. It's actually quite easy to get the most out of your sauna experience; let these guidelines guide you on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle in the comfort of your own home:
Types of Saunas
- Wood burning sauna is the oldest method to heat a sauna. It's generally cheaper than the other two types of sauna, but it can cause dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere of your home. If you're going to use a wood burning sauna, be sure they're maintained, and there's plenty of ventilation in your home or gym.
- Electrically heated sauna requires a large energy bill as heaters are more efficient. It's a good idea to use this type only if you have the money to pay for it.
- Steam rooms provide consistent, evenly distributed heat in a very concentrated area of about 4 feet by 6 feet for about 15 minutes. This is a good option if your home or gym doesn't have air conditioning or ventilation, but some people have negative health reactions from using steam rooms.
- Infrared saunas emit infrared rays from the bulbs used in these saunas; infrared saunas have had an increasing popularity over the past few years, and people tend to find them more enjoyable than traditional wood burning saunas.
Health benefits of using a sauna
1. Saunas help rid your body of toxins that may have built up in your system as you go about your daily life. You can also sweat out drugs and even get rid of them from your body through the sweat glands in your skin! This is a really great way to help cure a hangover or even prevent one from the start, especially if you're having alcoholic beverages on a regular basis.
2. The sweating process in which saunas aid can help treat depression, anxiety, and other psychological issues that people experience when they're stressed-out or overworked. The heat from the sauna will help you relax and lower your pulse rate, as well as help you de-stress, which is a major contributor to depression and anxiety. If you're feeling stressed out on a regular basis, it's a good idea to use a sauna at least once every week.
3. By sweating in a sauna regularly, you can actually lower your risk of heart disease because sweating and the detoxification process can rid your body of mycotoxins that clog up arteries and cause heart disease.
4. Regular use of a sauna can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
5. In general, regular use of a sauna will reduce your risk of cancer and skin diseases, such as psoriasis.
Risks of using a sauna
1. While many studies have shown that the risks associated with saunas are minimal or nonexistent, there are still a few general risks associated with regular use of a sauna.
- Dryness in the mouth
This is a risk when you use a sauna right after working out because your skin may be very dry, which causes irritation to your gums (and possibly your teeth). To avoid this type of risk, always brush your teeth or rinse with water beforehand.
- Extremely Thirsty
If you're sweating in a sauna after working out and drinking, it's common to feel extremely thirsty. The sweating process will make you thirstier than if you always just drank water before using the sauna. If you feel very thirsty in a sauna, have some water before going in, and drink as much as you feel comfortable with after your session is over.
A common side effect of sweating in a sauna is a headache. This can happen if you're sweating after working out or drinking, which can dehydrate your body. If you get headaches from the sweat from working out or from the heat of the sauna, drink plenty of water beforehand and drink lots of water during your sauna session to make sure your body has enough fluid to function properly.
- Feel lightheaded
Some people feel dizzy or lightheaded when they sweat. If you feel dizzy while in the sauna, sit down and have some water to rehydrate your body. It's also important to note that when you sweat, you're losing certain minerals, among other things, and if you're not replacing them in your diet (for example: through food), you may become lightheaded.
- Not urinating as frequently
If you don't have enough water to go in the sauna, you may not be able to urinate as often or with as much urine content. This can cause health problems and make you feel uncomfortable, so drink lots of water before and after your sauna session.
- Feeling dehydrated
Dehydration can also occur when you don't drink enough while sweating in a sauna or if the environment is too dry. To avoid this risk, always drink plenty of water before and after your sauna session to prevent dehydration from occurring.
Be aware of the environment
There are many different types of saunas; if you're not sure what type you're going to use, be sure that the air quality or temperature is appropriate for your needs. Keep in mind that some people are more sensitive than others, so if your health or well-being is depending on being in a certain type of environment, feel free to opt for another one that works better for you.
Dehydration can occur when you sweat in a sauna, so be sure to always drink plenty of water before and after your session. I personally found out that the sweat caused me to feel extremely thirsty, and when I drank water I initially felt like it didn't really go anywhere, so drinking slightly less water than usual could help prevent this from happening.
Warmth to fit your body type
The temperature of the sauna may affect how well you tolerate it compared to other types. If you're using a sauna for the first time, once you get used to the heat, you can always increase how hot it is in the future. Body types go from thin to fat or thin; if you want to use a sauna that's made for thin people, then be sure to adjust the temperature so that it's not too hot for your body type.
Adjust if something doesn't feel right
If something doesn't feel quite right after using a sauna, be sure to take it as an indicator that you should maybe get out of the sauna and take a break.
It's not necessary to avoid all of the risks associated with using saunas, but it's a good idea to be aware of them, and limit your experience to as few times as you need.