What is Sauna bath?
SAUNA, correctly pronounced "sow (rhymes with wow!) nah," is the only Finnish word in the English dictionary; it means "bath" and "bathhouse." Sauna has been a way of life in Finland, where it was invented, for over 2000 years. One of the first written descriptions of the Finnish Sauna was in 1112.A sauna is a small wooden room or house designed as a place to experience dry or wet heat sessions. The lighting in a sauna is shady. The Sauna (pronounced sow-nah) has been used for centuries, not only as a place to bathe, but as a place for healing, relaxing and enjoyment. Originally developed in Finland about 2000 years ago, the Sauna provides an environment of dry intense heat (176-212 degrees Fahrenheit). The heat is provided by a kiua, a stove or heater that heats the rocks to provide a soft heat. Water is thrown over these rocks to provide humidity. A sauna is usually done in courses; a short time in the sauna to heat up and begin to sweat, followed by a cooling off outside the sauna, The earliest Sauna was dug into an embankment in the ground. Homeland of sauna is Finland that is how it is often called Finnish sauna.
First of all, it is good to be aware of the distinction between the steam and sauna bath. Most people think of the heat of a sauna as dry heat and the heat of a steam room as wet, humid heat. This distinction is only partially correct. Sauna bathers in Finland splash water on the heated stones in the sauna, raising the humidity level to as much as 40%. Without that, the hot, dry sauna air can irritate the mucus membranes. A Sauna is a Finnish style sweat bath, usually consisting of a room constructed of soft wood, containing a stove which is used to heat the room to about 180 degrees Fahrenheit. And steam bath is fed with a steam generator which produces thick clouds of mist.
A dense wood, like oak, would hold the heat and could burn the bather.
What are the benefits of Sauna bath?
- In sauna bathers, Blood vessels become more flexible and there is increased circulation to the extremities. During a saunabath, blood flow to the skin increases to as high as 50-70% of cardiac output (compared to the standard 5-10%). This brings nutrients to subcutaneous and surface tissue resulting in glowing healthy skin. Sauna provides a cardiovascular workout--helps condition the heart.
- Sauna heat puts the body into an artificial fever state (hyperthermia). Fever is part of the body's natural healing process. This "fake fever" stimulates the immune system resulting in an increased production of disease fighting white blood cells and antibodies. While the growth of bacteria and virus is forced to slow down.
- Athletes use Saunas to loosen tight muscles after a hard workout.
- Sauna bath makes you feel rejuvenated and have increased energy levels. The Sauna helps many get a more restful sleep.
- In the hydrotherapeutic tradition used at European and America spas, sweat therapy is used in preparation for massage as a means of increasing the suppleness of the muscles and creating a deep sense of relaxation in body and mind.
- A sauna bath opens skin pores, soothes sore muscles, and increases circulation. However, more than common metabolic waste products are secreted through the skin.
Note-The Sauna should not, of course, be used as a weight loss aid by itself, but when used with a good diet and exercise program, a Sauna can help burn more calories. Weight is lost in a Sauna, but most of it is water loss from sweating.
What are the precautions for sauna bath?
- Do not use alcohol prior to or during a sauna bath, alcohols (it dehydrates your body) can cause drowsiness and or the ability to determined the effects of the sauna bath.
- After a workout, give your body adequate time to cool down, before you expose it to the heat of a sauna to avoid heat stroke. You must rest for at least 20 minutes.
- Drink plenty of water before and after the sauna bath to replace fluids lost during the treatment.
- Limit sauna/steam time to 10 to 15 minutes. Drink plenty of water or herbal tea before and after the sweat bath to replace fluids lost during the treatment. The sweat glands can secrete up to 30 grams of sweat per minute, or almost one pint per 15 minutes, so dehydration is a very real possibility, if you are not careful. Fatigue and other indications of dehydration can occur with as little as 1 to 2% loss in body weight.
Symptoms of too much dehydration include dizziness, vertigo, rapid heartbeat, or excessive thirst.
- Also, make sure not to eat any large meals beforehand, and drink plenty of water to ensure that you don't get dehydrated.
- Person with low blood pressure(as sauna bath decreases blood pressure) Pregnant women should not use a sauna. High temperatures can harm your fetus or cause you to faint. Children's ability to tolerate heat is limited, since their skin area/body mass-ratio is high, sweating system is immature and fat layer is thin. Children can, however, take sauna baths totally safely, if some precautions are taken into account.
- Children's ability to tolerate heat is limited, since their skin area/body mass-ratio is high, sweating system is immature and fat layer is thin. Children can, however, take sauna baths totally safely, if some precautions are taken into account.
How to take sauna bath?
- Leave your cloths in dressing room,
- Drink 1-2 glass of water or any sports drink (avoid caffeine) which has electrolytes. Shower First, as this is to moisten the skin and to remove any possible body or fragrant odors, which do not belong to the sauna.
- Do not take a sauna bath for over 10-15 minutes.
- Exit the sauna bath if you feel uncomfortable or become sleepy.
- Cool off with cool fresh air and cool water without shocking the system and avoid shivering-take a warm foot bath if you have cold feet and then repeat the session, do not take more than 3 sessions at a time in the sauna bath.
Make sure you are not allergic to any aromatherapy oils before use.
In the case of combined facilities like sauna and steam bath, which provide for different types of bath, you may also switch from one type to another. What is essential though, is that you cool off thoroughly after each session. Never start a fresh session if your body is warm (or worse still, hot) and never change from one type of bath to another until you have cooled down properly.
Does the ceiling height of sauna matter?
Most sauna experts have a different opinion as the the ceiling height of a sauna. Since hot air rises, in order to achieve the optimum temperatures, the ceiling of a sauna should not be more than 82" in height in order for the hot air to be around bathing level. This is also the reason there are usually 2 benches in a sauna, the lower bench is at a cooler temperature.
What is infrared sauna bath?
An infrared sauna is usually a wooden box, or small wooden room, containing several infrared heaters. In a warm environment, an infrared sauna could be open air and still heat the users in the same manner, since the heaters don't rely on the air being hot, but only hot enough such that the body doesn't cool down without sweating. All the same, normally the units are contained in a room, allowing the air to heat and in effect simulating the feel of a traditional sauna.
What is the difference between infra red and traditional saunas?
An infrared sauna use a specific type of heater that creates infrared waves that heat your body directly, instead of just by the air. The temperature in them is much cooler, at around 110 to 130 degrees F. The amount of sweat that results from each is comparable, though many people report that the lower temperatures in an infrared sauna allow the user to stay inside longer, resulting in longer sauna sessions and therefore more overall sweating.Infrared penetrates your body and heats you through a process called conversion, instead of by heating the air around you.