Sauna bathing is one of the most pleasant and relaxing activities, at least for those who like warmth. Done correctly, regular sauna bathing is beneficial for both body and soul.
The benefits of sauna bathing:
stress-relieving, helps you to sleep peacefully
detoxifies, purifies, tones and rejuvenates the skin
boosts the immune system
beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system
Sauna bathing is a pleasant, relaxing activity which also releases endorphins in the body, relaxes muscles and connective tissues, thus reducing stress and its harmful effects, and contributes to a restful sleep.
Sauna bathing speeds up circulation and metabolism and, through sweating, the body gets rid of a lot of toxins. This cleanses the body and the skin. The alternation of cold bath and cold heat after the sauna improves the blood supply to the skin and increases its elasticity.
Immune system booster
During sauna bathing, the body’s immune system is boosted, so it can help prevent infectious diseases, especially colds and flu.
Beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system
During sauna bathing, blood circulation is increased. If done correctly, regular sauna bathing first dilates the blood vessels in the warmth of the sauna and then causes them to contract again in the cold bath, which has a beneficial effect on the whole body, tones the blood vessels, improves their condition and elasticity, and also slightly reduces mildly high blood pressure.
Misconceptions about saunas
Many people on the internet claim that saunas are harmful. We have also received many questions about this, especially those asking whether it is true that the calorie intake of a sauna can be as high as 300 or 1000 kcal in 30 minutes because they have read it somewhere. It would be nice, it would be nice, but unfortunately, it is not!
These extremely high-calorie values come from an old foreign study based on a fundamentally flawed idea, which was refuted a little later, but by then it was too late, the misinformation had taken off. Think about it! If the calorie requirement of sauna bathing were really that high, and 30 minutes of pleasant sauna bathing could be substituted for 30-60 minutes of strenuous exercise, there would be no overweight people on earth, because all you would have to do is get in a sauna every day and you would be done.
Whatever type of sauna you use (Finnish sauna, infrared sauna,…), even in the best-case scenario, the calorie requirement of sauna use will be on average no more than twice the calorie requirement of sitting. For example, a 75 kg adult person’s body uses a maximum of 84 kcal of energy in 30 minutes of the sauna. For comparison, the same person, with 30 minutes of light jogging, uses 300 kcal.
The weight loss after a sauna is not weight loss, it is simply the loss of water due to sweating, which is nicely replaced after a few glasses of water. So sauna bathing does not consume, it detoxifies!
Contraindications to sauna bathing
Sauna bathing places an increased strain on the body, especially the heart and circulatory system, and is therefore contraindicated in the presence of cardiovascular diseases, especially chest pain, arrhythmia, heart failure, coronary heart disease, stroke or heart attack, and high blood pressure. If you still wish to use the sauna for these conditions, you should consult your doctor and follow his or her instructions.
Sauna use is also contraindicated during pregnancy, when feverish or drunk, and in the case of inflammatory or infectious diseases.
Basic rules and etiquette of sauna bathing
- The most important rule of etiquette is to be quiet and not to disturb others by talking or whispering while they are relaxing.
- Always make sure that you sit with a sauna sheet under you and under your feet so that sweat drips onto it and not onto the bench.
- Swimwear is compulsory in most places, so try to wear something that will minimize sweat retention. This is most relevant for women, who are advised to wear a two-piece swimsuit.
- Slippers are usually left outside.
- 1-2 times a week, with a maximum of 3 x 15 minutes of sauna time per session, with at least 10-15 minutes of rest between each session. Over time, your body will get used to the sauna, so always make sure not to overdo it.
- After each sauna session, take a cooling shower to benefit from the beneficial effects of the cold water and to wash away sweat and toxins.
- If you have a sauna with a plunge pool, use it only after a shower if it feels good!
- Important! Sauna bathing is not a competition! Choose a sauna of a temperature and type that is comfortable for you and only stay in it as long as you feel comfortable, otherwise, it will do you harm, not good.
Use the sauna plunge pool
If your establishment has a plunge pool and you want to enjoy the blessing effects of the ice-cold water after your sauna session, be sure to do so only after you have showered, for two reasons. Firstly, it is not appropriate to enter the clean water in a sweat and secondly, the ice-cold water in the pool will suddenly give your body too much shock, which could be life-threatening, especially if you do not enter the pool gradually but jump in suddenly.
Just like when many people jump into the lake after sunbathing with a heated body, which claims many lives every year. The shower preheats your body a little and prepares it for the ice-cold water, so you should only get into the pool gradually after you have showered!
Another important rule is that you should only be in the pool if you are constantly moving, to help keep your circulation going even in the freezing water. In other words, don’t sit, stand or float motionless in the pool, but keep moving your arms, legs, hands, toes, etc.
Sauna and weight loss
As I mentioned before, saunas do not consume, they only detoxify! Nevertheless, it can be an effective complement to any diet, diet or sporting activity, as it helps to get rid of toxins accumulated in the body and to recover after sporting activity.