Sauna: Health benefits and precautions

Image by Fernando Zamora from Pixabay

“Sauna”, translated from Finnish, means “bath”. This word was borrowed and passed into many other languages. Some researchers believe that the sauna was invented during the Byzantine Empire, or borrowed by the Scythians from the Slavs, who were associated with the Finns. One way or another, the sauna is an original Finnish tradition.

What are the benefits of a sauna?

  • In the sauna, the blood vessels become more flexible and the blood circulation in the extremities is improved.
  • The blood flow to the skin increases. This brings nutrients to the subcutaneous layer and superficial tissues.
  • The sauna trains the cardiovascular system and improves the condition of the heart.
  • The sauna brings the body into a state of artificial fever (hyperthermia). Fever is part of the body’s natural healing process. This “fake fever” stimulates the immune system, which leads to an increase in the production of white blood cells and antibodies to fight the disease.
  • Athletes use the sauna to loosen tight muscles after a hard workout.
  • The sauna makes you feel refreshed and increases your energy level.
  • Sauna is a means of increasing muscle flexibility. It creates a feeling of deep relaxation of the body and mind.
  • Sauna opens skin pores, soothes muscle pain, increases blood circulation. General metabolic products are excreted through the skin.

How to take a sauna correctly?

  • Leave your clothes in the changing room.
  • Take a shower to moisturize your skin and remove any odors that may arise.
  • The maximum time spent in the steam room is from 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Leave the steam room if you feel uncomfortable or sleepy.
  • Cool off with a swim in the pool.
  • Drink 1-2 glasses of water before each steam room.
  • Do not make more than 3 trips to the steam room at a time.
  • Make sure you are not allergic to any aroma oils before using them.
  • Shower after your procedure.
    In the case of combined facilities such as sauna and steam bath, you can change from one type to another. It is important to cool completely after each run. Never go into a steam room if your body is warm (or worse, hot), and never change the type of thermal treatment until you have cooled down properly.

What are the safety precautions in a sauna?

  • Do not drink alcohol before or during the sauna. Alcohol dehydrates the body, can make you sleepy and puts more stress on your heart.
  • After exercising, give your body enough time to cool down before exposing it to heat in a sauna to avoid heatstroke. You must rest for at least 20 minutes.
  • Drink plenty of water or herbal tea before and after the sauna to replace the fluid lost during the procedure. Sweat glands can produce up to 30 grams of sweat per minute, so dehydration is a very real danger if you are not careful. Fatigue and other signs of dehydration can occur with a loss of 1-2% of body fluid weight. Symptoms of severe dehydration include dizziness, heart palpitations, and excessive thirst.
  • Do not overeat before the sauna.
  • Persons with low blood pressure (blood pressure decreases in the sauna) and pregnant women should not use the sauna. High temperatures can harm the fetus.
  • Children are limited in their ability to tolerate heat because the fatty layer of their skin is thin and their excretory system is immature.

Sauna harm
Of course, high temperatures and their fluctuations can negatively affect the human body. Most of the time, problems start when you misbehave in a popular spa. Moderation is the key to a sauna visit. Overheating can lead to fatal consequences:

  • high level of moisture loss,
  • critically fast heartbeat
  • dangerous increase in pressure,
  • overexcitation of the nervous system,
  • weakness,
  • loss of consciousness.

Who shouldn’t go to the sauna
It is better to limit yourself from going to the sauna for pregnant women, cancer patients, epilepsy, people with high blood pressure, colds, poor tolerance to high temperatures, chronic diseases, as well as those who had a stroke or heart attack only six months ago.

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