There are few things more comforting and relaxing than a sauna. Whether it’s the wintertime and you want a way to warm up or you’re trying to ease your aching muscles after a hard workout, saunas are a big attraction. You can’t go to a health club, spa or hotel that doesn’t have at least one sauna. Are saunas really good for you, though? There are both benefits and drawbacks to saunas. While saunas can help you to feel better and aid overall well-being, people with certain health conditions shouldn’t risk being in a sauna.
Benefits of Saunas
1. When you’re in a sauna, your heart rate will naturally increase, also increasing your body’s need for oxygen. This means that your heart will get its very own workout as it continues to pump blood through your body. It’s like getting a cardio workout with the treadmill.
2. Since saunas are so hot, they make your body go into a state similar to when you have a fever. This sounds like a bad thing, but what happens is your immune system gets stimulated. People who regularly use saunas actually have less of a chance of getting a cold or the flu.
3. Since your heart rate speeds up and you perspire during a session in the sauna, you can burn up to 300 calories. Remember, though, that this isn’t a reliable way to lose weight and it shouldn’t replace working out. Most of the weight you lose in a sauna is water weight, which is easy to put on.
4. Many people claim that a trip to the sauna helps them sleep better at night. This is likely due to the fact that for most people, saunas are soothing and relaxing.
5. The heat in a sauna will dilate your blood vessels and improve circulation to your extremities. It can also lower your blood pressure. However, your blood pressure will only stay low after frequent sauna sessions, not just one.
6. Spending time in a sauna can even help your kidneys to function healthily. When you sweat, waste is excreted, reducing how much stress is on your kidneys.
7. Many people find that chronic pain or soreness after working out is improved after a session – or several – in a sauna.
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Risks of Saunas
For most people, there’s nothing risky about being in a sauna. However, some people with certain health conditions should avoid saunas. If you have blood pressure that isn’t relatively steady, heart rhythm problems, angina that’s not stable or some type of heart problem, you shouldn’t go into a sauna.
Other times you should avoid going into a sauna include:
When you have a fever
If you have an inflammatory disease
When you’re healing from an injury
If you have a contagious disease
If you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs
In order to stay healthy during a sauna session, never drink alcohol before going in. This can make you overheat because drinking changes how you sweat. Never stay in a sauna for over twenty minutes. Before you go in, drink between two and four glasses of cold water. If you start to feel sick during your session, leave the sauna immediately – you’re not going to get better by staying in the sauna.
Overall, it’s always recommended to check with your doctor before you spend an extended period of time in a sauna.
This piece was composed by Derek Josephson, a freelancer based in the great city of Los Angeles; Derek frequently writes on health, wellness, beauty, natural medicine and other similar topics. For more information on such issues as Spas and Saunas view Perth day spa Keturah right here.