Written by Siena Scanlon, Solar Springs’ Integrative Health Practitioner.
Sweating it out in a sauna has been a wellness practice that humans have enjoyed since the Stone Age. Not kidding! It is believed that the first saunas were holes dug into the earth. Heated rocks were placed in the holes, then water was poured over them. Animal skins were used to cover the holes and retain the steam and humidity. Since then, saunas and steam rooms have been a part of most cultures around the world. And for good reason.
What happens when you enter a sauna?
Your skin temperature rises, your heart rate increases, and your blood vessels dilate as your heart starts pumping more blood. Of course, you also begin to sweat, and in the process you will enjoy the below benefits.
Increases blood circulation & nutrient delivery.
Boosts the immune system.
Stimulates weight loss by increasing your metabolism. (Added bonus, it reduces the appearance of cellulite.)
Eases tension & encourages relaxation.
Clears & rejuvenates the skin.
Increases stress resilience.
Induces deeper sleep.
Soothes aches & pains.
Tips to optimise your sauna.
Tip 1: It is best to have a sauna after a workout, massage or dry body brushing as these activities get your lymphatic system mobilising toxins so that they are ready to be safely flushed from your skin when you start sweating.
Tip 2: Ensure you drink a few glasses of water before and after using a sauna. To increase your hydration levels, add a pinch of sea salt or Himalayan rock salt to your water. Even better, if you add a squeeze of lemon/lime juice you will balance your levels of sodium and potassium whilst further stimulating your body’s detoxification pathways.
Tip 3: Research suggests that you should use a sauna 3-5 times per week to gain the maximum benefits. As this may be inaccessible for most, you could instead have a detoxifying bath by adding a handful of Epsom salts, a half cup of baking soda and 10 drops of lavender essential oils to warm water. Soak for 20mins.
Tip 4: Make sure you shower soon after your sauna, or at least thoroughly towel off to remove any heavy metals or toxins that may be sitting on your skin after having been detoxed. (Otherwise, they may be reabsorbed back into your blood stream.)
Steam Room or Sauna - what’s the difference?
At Solar Springs we have both a steam room and traditional sauna so our guests can enjoy all of the health benefits across their stay.
Both types of rooms are used to promote sweating, but they use different types of heat to accomplish it. Saunas use dry heat produced from a stove or hot rocks to escalate the room up to 90.5°C with very low humidity. You can sit in a Sauna for between 20-50 minutes. On the other hand, Steam Rooms involve moist heat. They operate at lower temperatures, usually around 43-49°C and 100 percent relative humidity and you only want to start with 5-10 minutes before exiting.
They are not for everyone.
If you feel light-headed, dizzy, too hot, or for any other reason that doesn’t feel right, then exit the heated room immediately.
Saunas are not advised for people who are pregnant, have breathing conditions, heart disease, very low or high blood pressure, epilepsy, or who have been drinking alcohol or taking certain drugs. Check with your health care provider if you are unsure a Sauna/Steam Room is right for you.
I hope this information was helpful and that sweating it out in a Sauna can be added to your wellness toolkit.