If you have never taken the sauna, it is the time to try it. It will be highly beneficial for your mind and body. The high temperatures, in combination with increased humidity, bring many benefits to the human body. Plus, if you enjoy the sauna with your partner or friend, you will have an excellent time in a good company and a relaxed environment.
1. Read the instructions
You can find instructions on how to use every particular sauna next to the door. Rules for use may vary slightly, so it is better to check them for your safety. Take the warnings seriously and follow specific health guidelines without exceptions.
2. Come to the sauna on time
If you can, you should organize yourself to get to the sauna on time. If you are late or stuck in a traffic jam, you will arrive at the destination stressed and nervous. That will significantly reduce the benefits of the sauna you can get.
Your goal is to come to this peaceful place entirely relaxed. Therefore, give yourself plenty of time to get to the sauna nice and slowly.
3. Use the sauna gradually
Never stay more than 10 to 15 minutes in the sauna if you use it for the first time. Over time, you can increase the time spent inside as long as you feel comfortable.
An ideal period to get all the benefits the sauna offers is approximately 30 to 40 minutes. However, some contemporary studios with infrared sauna will book you a session for 45 to 60 minutes. You shouldn’t spend more time inside the sauna at once.
No matter how long the session lasts, if you feel uncomfortable, you should end it right away. Rule number one is to listen to your body and act according to the current situation.
4. Plan your meals
You can’t feel the full benefits of the sauna if your stomach is full. After a plentiful meal, your blood will go to the digestive system to improve digestion instead of circulating throughout your body.
Also, you should always wait for a while after a meal, including light snacks, to get into the sauna. The best option is to eat when you finish the session.
5. Drink plenty of water
Never drink the booze before coming to the sauna. Unfortunately, drinking too much alcohol the night before the session may cause dehydration while exposing to high temperature and humidity.
On the other side, it is preferable to drink 16 ounces (0.5 l) of water before entering. Do it gradually to keep enough water inside the body since you can lose that amount of liquid after spending 20 minutes in the sauna.
You can also bring a bottle of water inside. Some experts recommend using water with a pinch of sea salt to make up electrolytes. That is an excellent prevention of heatstroke.
Always keep in mind that you haven’t drunk enough water if you are thirsty when the session is over.
6. What to wear
If you are the lucky one and have your own home sauna, always take off all the clothes when using it. However, if you go to the public sauna, you can wear a bathing suit.
The problem is that the fabric of the swimsuit is insulating, and you will probably feel uncomfortable after spending some time in the heat. Also, avoid suits with metal parts on it to prevent getting them hot and burn your skin.
If you don’t care about conventions, you can take it off and let every inch of your body to enjoy the benefits of sweating. The other solution is to use a cotton towel, which absorbs sweat efficiently. Wrap it around the body and enjoy the heat.
Some users like using a loofah to scrub off dry, dead skin while taking the sauna. It is beneficial for your skin, but impolite towards other users. Use it in your private saunas only.
It is OK wearing the shower sandals while coming to the sauna, but you should take them off once you get inside. It is not fair having them on your feet while sitting on the benches, especially on the higher ones.
Never wear tight-fitting or dirty clothes in the sauna. Take off the clothes and shoes you have worn throughout the day since it is full of dust. You don’t want the heat to lose that dirt and release it into the air.
A suit made out of PVC fabrics can be dangerous for your health. It will prevent the breathing of your skin. Plus, it is possible it melts in the sauna and gives off toxic chemicals and fumes on the high temperatures.
7. Take the right seat
The sauna usually has two levels of benches. Pick an upper one if you prefer higher temperatures because the hot air goes up. If you start feeling that it is too hot for you, pick out the lower level until your body cools down a little bit.
8. Combine the sauna with a cold shower
Always take a shower before entering the sauna. That way, you will remove dust and dirt from your skin and allow heat to pass smoothly to every pore in your body.
To get the most out of your sauna, leave it after about 20 minutes, take a cold shower or a bath, and come back after that. Well, if you want to act as a Finn, you can roll in the snow, as well.
I know that it sounds horrifying, but returning to the hot sauna after a pause of 15 minutes to cool down is an excellent experience and high enjoyment for your body.
Always finish the session with the cold shower. That way, you will clean your skin and close pores. Never use soap to prevent the irritation of the skin.
9. Pour water onto the rocks
You should pour water onto the stones from time to time to increase the moisture while the temperature stays the same. Keep in mind that it is impossible if you use an infrared sauna since there are no rocks to generate heat.
If it is possible, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the water before pouring it onto the stones. A deep smelling will increase your experience and provide more pleasure and relaxation.
10. What not to bring into the sauna
Never wear jewelry while sitting in the sauna since the metal parts will heat and may burn your skin. Also, don’t bring your iPhone, BlackBerry, or even a book inside. The heat and high humidity may fry the electronics and wet the pages of the book.
Plus, smartphones are forbidden in infrared saunas because the light and heat make a mess with their hardware. Most saunas have an external sound system, and you can enjoy listening to music while sweating and relaxing. However, why wouldn’t you try to enjoy the silence for a change?
Also, avoid using lotions and creams before you enter the sauna. They will clog up your pores and prevent your skin from breathing freely.
11. Find your limits and never push yourself too hard
The maximum temperature in the sauna allowed in the US and Canada is 194 F (90 C). There are the sauna studios in some European countries where you can experience the effects of much higher temperatures.
Still, it is not safe, especially for novices or people enjoying the sauna for more extended periods. If you feel that the temperature is too high, you can set it to an acceptable temperature.
After the session, you should take the cold shower and sit somewhere to let your body cool slightly for at least 15 minutes.
If you prefer sitting in the sauna in the evening, after a hard-working day, you should do it. In fact, it is a wise idea, especially if you have an issue with sleeping.
On the other side, using the infrared sauna early in the morning will help you to start the day relaxed and happy. Well, it is not my pair of shoes because I am always sleepy after enjoying the sauna.
The best way for you is to try more options until you find the best one for your body and mind.
12. When to Avoid Sauna
The sauna is entirely safe for most people, but there are a few exceptions when you should use the sauna with certain precautions or avoid it altogether.
Never use the sauna without consultation with your physician when:
- Taking medications, especially those preventing you from sweating
- Having the issue with blood pressure, abnormal heartbeats, angina pectoris, advanced heart failure, stenosis of the aorta, or recent heart attack
- Suffering from liver failure or kidney disease
- You are pregnant (the sauna may affect the fetus negatively)
- You try to conceive
- You are a child
- Feeling sick and exhausting
- Having cramps
If you experience a headache, dizziness, or nausea while sitting inside the sauna, you will know that something is wrong. Take it seriously, and don’t hesitate to leave it right away. Basically, such high temperatures are not comfortable for everybody, especially for a more extended period.
Go to your doctor and check your health condition before entering the sauna again.