Entering and using a sauna will help your body to kick out the toxins, relax muscles, and even improve body circulation. Saunas are in widespread use all around the world, including the most famous traditional steam, rock sauna, steam room, and far-infrared sauna. All of them are excellent choices when you want to support your body and improve your health.
Sauna experts and users cannot agree on what is the optimal time to stay in the sauna. It seems to me that this is no clearly defined, but there are some guiding rules, which can help you at first. Keep in mind that these rules are different for first-time users, those who use the sauna after work out, and regular users.
Depending on You
Listen to your body
It is definitely an essential rule! It is crucial to listen carefully to the signals your body sends to you. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded at any time, it is time to leave the sauna. You should do the same if your heart starts to beat faster, or you start feeling too relaxed that you want to sleep.
Also, take care to stay hydrated and drink a cup or two of water before entering the sauna and afterward. The body in the sauna will lose the liquid, which may cause dehydration. Unfortunately, you won’t lose weight in the sauna, just fluid.
You can apply the rule for first-time users to all types of saunas. You should take it easy and stay less than 15 minutes when using the sauna for the first time in your life.
As soon as you feel uncomfortable, you need to go out immediately and let your body cool off slowly. It is not advisable to go under the cold shower and combine hot-cold in such a situation. Let it be gradually.
If everything is OK and you feel comfortable, you can try to enter the sauna once more, but avoid staying there for more than 10 to 15 minutes. As your body adjusts to the sauna treatment, you can spend more and more time in it.
How often? In the beginning, a few sessions a week will be enough. After a while, you can use it every day.
After a workout
Always keep in mind that your body loses a lot of liquid while practicing. Therefore, you should give yourself time to relax after a workout for at least 10 to 20 minutes and drink some water.
Then, you can use the benefits of the sauna. Be careful and leave the sauna as soon as you feel any of the discomfort signs.
How much is too much?
It is a tricky question, indeed. Most of us believe that Swedes and Finns stay in the sauna for a long time. For them, it is the place for social gatherings.
However, do not believe everything you see in movies. Spending too much time in the sauna may cause severe loss of body fluids, and it could be harmful to you. In fact, the absolute maximum is 30 to 45 minutes for people who are already experienced in using the sauna.
During one session, you can reuse the sauna two or three times, but make sure to pause and cool off in between. It is a good idea to rest 10 to 20 minutes before entering again.
Depending on the Type of the Sauna
1. Infrared saunas
If you don’t prefer the wet surroundings, the infrared sauna (dry sauna) is an ideal choice for you. There is no steam all over, just the infrared light heating your body instead of space around you. Surprisingly, the effect is the same, and you will detoxify your body and improve your health as in a traditional sauna.
The average temperature in the infrared sauna is 150 to 195 F (66 – 91 C), with a maximum of 212 F (100 C). As the temperatures are not as high as in the steam sauna, you can stay inside for 15 to 20 minutes from the very beginning.
After using this type of sauna, you should take a break at least 10 minutes and gradually lower the body temperature. After that, you can come back there again.
Even though there is no limit on how often you can use the infrared sauna, it is not smart staying inside more than 45 minutes in one day. Always take a good look at the possible side effects and follow doctor recommendations if you have any medical issues.
2. Traditional Steam/Rock sauna
On the other hand, if you prefer a humid atmosphere, you should choose the steam/rock sauna. The primary rule is not to overdo the first time you use it. The average temperature is often the same as in the infrared sauna, but the principle is a bit different.
The time limit will depend on your body, but you shouldn’t try to stay inside longer than 45 minutes, even if you use the sauna for years.
Never spend too much time in the sauna without consultations with your doctor. Even then, always adjust your body gradually to a higher temperature and never cool off too hastily.
3. Steam room
The steam room is different from the traditional and infrared sauna, but it is an excellent place to relax and detoxify your body. The primary difference is in the temperatures.
In the steam room, it is never higher than 100 to 110 F (38 – 43 C). Therefore, you can relax and stay inside much longer, and the benefits for your body are almost the same.
Follow the Rules of Conduct
No matter which type of sauna you choose, you should respect the hygienic rules, including taking off your clothes, taking a shower before entering, and covering yourself with a towel.
Don’t hesitate to leave the sauna immediately if you feel uncomfortable. Otherwise, you may experience severe consequences to your health.
Ancient Romans and Ottomans used the sauna for centuries. Scandinavians can’t imagine their lives without it. So, why don’t you try?
I promise that you will feel the benefits of releasing your body of toxins immediately after the first session. Why would you miss the opportunity to enjoy the comfort and relaxation that staying at saunas will bring to you? Go for it!