Sauna: What is and How Does it Work?

Sauna is a steam bath that takes place in a room with very high temperatures.

Although the Finnish language is spoken by only 5.3 million people, the word “sauna” is probably one of the most commonly used by non-speakers of this language.

Finnish people are one of those who have preserved and improved the tradition of the steam bath, but it needs to be mentioned that sauna  is not a type of bath exclusively Finnish as it is practiced in many other nations such as the Turks, the Japanese or Mexicans.

During steam baths, heat is used in a wet or dry form to cause an abundance of sweat condition to the body. This heat beneficially affects the skin, without  touching its deep tissues.

Sauna Types

There are many types of steam baths divided into various categories, particularly depending on the temperature used and the moisture level. According to this, the sauna can be wet or dry.

Wet sauna is known as the Turkish bath or also by the name of hammam which is the translation of the word bath in Turkish and Arabic.
Turkish bath produces moist heat through water vapor. It takes place in a room where the temperature is lower than the dry sauna, ranging between 25-50 Celsius degrees depending (77 – 122 Fahrenheit degrees). The atmosphere is saturated with water vapor, preventing the sweating process.

The dry sauna takes place in a room with temperatures between 176ºF – 194ºF (80 – 90 Celsius Degrees) with a humidity level that is never higher than 20%. This type of bath steam is known by the name of Finnish sauna, dry sauna or simply sauna.

The Finnish sauna is a wooden cabin where wood can absorb moisture that may be in excess equipped with banks of different heights. On the top banks, the temperature is higher, as the heat goes up. An electric heater is responsible for providing the temperature between 170 and 200 ºF.

A feature of this type of steam bath is the fact that participants of such meeting are asked to do not wear any kind of clothes, nudity being one of the mandatory requirements.

One of the most important benefits that this type of bath vapor brings the human body is the opening of all pore through the process of transpiration, leading to a deep hygiene of the skin which aims to eliminate sebum, toxins, and bacteria.

Infrared saunas strengthen your body to discharge a wide variety of toxins, including heavy metals like mercury and lead, and other chemicals. With infrared sauna technology, you can even lose weight, relieve discomfort, enhance blood circulation, and detox the body

Sauna is one of the tools that both women and men have at their disposal in order to maintain a healthy body. Sauna brings benefits to the entire body and improves the lifestyle of the people who use it.

Sauna’s Health Benefits

Helps to improve blood circulation

This is because heat expands the capillaries of the skin in order to keep their blood pressure caused by temperature increase, increasing this way the blood circulation in the skin. This effect is similar to jogging or fast walking.

Helps to release the airways

This occurs because the mucus becomes more fluid due to the steam bath. Eucalyptus steam sauna is recognized as the most effective in this regard and it is also well-known because it rejuvenates the spirits, being an effective method to treat stress and mental fatigue.

Relaxes the body and mind

We all know that one of the most serious problems of people nowadays is stress. A steam bath, wet or dry, helps relieve stress and relax the entire body.

Helps with Insomnia

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. Those who suffer from insomnia have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or even both. As a result of this sleep disorder, they sleep very little or very bad. Sauna is a good friend of those who don’t like to wake up feeling restless as 15 minutes spent in the sauna can save the ones who suffer from insomnia.

Steam baths are recommended for those suffering from unstable sleep due to the release of endorphins which help fight insomnia and relieve joint problems.

Eliminates toxins

We can say that the sauna is a good ally of both women and men who like to take care of their body and to spoil their skin. Sauna helps to open the pores, thus eliminating toxins through sweat such as alcohol and nicotine. This is the main reason why sauna is appreciated by people who get drunk.

Increases immunity

Helps people with arthritis having a positive effect on the locomotor system and psycho-emotional state which leads to reducing the pain caused by this chronic disease that affects 1 in 7 people.

One of the most frequent questions people ask with the help of the internet is whether the sauna helps to lose weight or not. The truth is that sauna does not help with weight loss. In order to lose weight people need to burn fat, and in the sauna that is impossible because what it is eliminated are toxins through sweat. It is possible that people have the impression that they lost weight through the sauna, but what actually happens is that the human body loses water by being subjected to high temperatures. At the time when the body is again hydrated and those lost fluids are recovered the body returns to the same weight.

How to Sauna

Although 15 minutes of the sauna can produce a relaxing effect, a complete sauna lasts about two hours. For a complete session, there are certain steps that must be followed.

The first step is that before the sauna is recommended to take a shower and to dry the skin because dry skin sweats faster. After that starts a sauna session of 10 minutes followed by a cooling and relaxation phase that lasts about 30 minutes. This process should be repeated around 3 times.

In the first entry, it is recommendable to sit on the lower bench and to stay in the sauna until sweat appears. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes. For the first entry is advisable to do not stay longer.

After this starts the cooling and relaxation phase when people leave the sauna and take once again a cold shower. On the second entry, the body is already ready to lie on the upper bank of the sauna and to start the relaxation process for another 10 to 15 minutes.

After the second entry is done,  another cooling phase follows.  It is fundamental to hydrate our body, taking small water holes during this sauna session.

Please note that after sauna it is not advisable to start exercising

People all over the world are asking how dangerous sauna might be and what are its negative side effects. Although the sauna is great for relaxing and eliminating toxins, one should take into account that it is not for everyone and abuse may lead to serious complications.

Side Effects of Sauna

Heart-Related Troubles

The sauna is not recommended for those with heart disease because sweating a lot makes body fluids to concentrate, and if the blood becomes denser it may cause a heart attack. It is, therefore, advisable to consult a specialist before having a sauna session.

Can degrade the quality of sex life

According to several medical studies, the abuse of sauna sessions can be harmful to the sexual life because heat can dramatically reduce both the quantity and quality of male semen in their case, and can cause heavy menstrual bleeding and even disrupt ovulation for women.

Not recommendable for pregnant women

Pregnant women should not use the sauna because their babies will be twice as likely to have spina bifida due to excessive heating of the uterus.

Not advisable after a heavy meal

Entering the sauna with a full stomach is not convenient, therefore, a session of the sauna should start at least one hour after the meal.
It is also not  good to take sessions in a state of exhaustion.

Even though it is common in most hotels of category and in gyms, there is the possibility of having your own home sauna. Building a personal sauna is not very difficult. We have to select a good location and to purchase the right materials.

Of course, there are many different styles and sizes of saunas, but the basic principles for building one are the same, so if we choose an appropriate place in the house to install it and we make sure there is access to water pipes and electricity lines this job could be done quite easily.

It must be taken into account that although the vapor bath helps us in many situations, is far better not to abuse it and to take weekly or daily sessions as our body feels capable.

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