If you’ve ever taken a trip to the spa, chances are you’ve probably spent some time in a sauna. Other than getting a bit hot and sweaty, sauna use has a range of mental and physical benefits that you can unlock with regular use.
Whether you’re already a sauna fanatic or have never been to one before, in this article we’ll be discussing how you can enhance your physical and mental wellbeing through heat.
A Brief History of Saunas
Saunas have been used for thousands of years, but their earliest origins can be traced back to Finland – where saunas remain an important part of Finnish culture and daily life to this day.
You may be able to find saunas in the fanciest spas, but original iterations of these places would have been a simple wooden structure heated by hot stones. They were not just a place to relax and unwind, but an integral meeting space for the entire community to gather – a luxurious retreat from the much colder weather outside.
Since then, the use of saunas has spread across the globe. They are especially popular in countries such as Japan, Iceland, Turkey, and Russia.
Although the earliest origins are still a heavy source inspiration for modern day saunas, there are now a range of high-tech variations which build on those rudimentary designs, including infrared saunas, dry saunas, and steam saunas.
The Benefits of Using Saunas
Regardless of the type of sauna you have access to, or the way that it is heated, you can experience a wide variety of health benefits with regular use.
When you’re sat in a sauna, chances are you’re going to be getting pretty sweaty – which is a good thing. When your body is sweating, it’s getting rid of all the unnecessary toxins that are floating around. This powerful detoxification process also helps release heavy metals like mercury and lead from your body.
In addition to this, using saunas can also have a physical impact on your skin. While you’re sweating it out in the sauna, you’ll be unclogging your pores and getting rid of any dead skin cells. This improves the appearance of your skin and gives you a healthy glow.
You are also doing your heart a favour by spending time in a sauna, as exposure to the heat increases your heart rate and trains your heart to work more effectively. This can help to lower blood pressure and improve circulation around your body. However, if you already have low blood pressure, you should consult your GP to make sure that saunas are safe for you to use.
Finally, you can also enjoy mental health benefits after a trip to the sauna. These heated rooms are known for helping users to calm down and de-stress after a long day. For the relatively short amount of time that you spend in the sauna, you can forget about everything that’s bothering you in the outside world and find a new sense of well-being.
Is It Good To Use The Sauna Every Day?
If you’re anything like the 1 in 3 Finnish people that visit the sauna every day, you don’t have to worry about any potential negative consequences as using saunas is good for you.
However, it’s also important to pay attention to your body and not exceed the recommended time limits. When you’re in such a warm room and sweating so much, you can easily become dehydrated and make yourself ill. Make sure to bring a big bottle of water with you and, if you start to feel light-headed or dehydrated, leave the sauna and let your body naturally cool down.
How Long Should You Stay in A Sauna For?
Most people will spend somewhere between 10–20 minutes in the sauna, but the amount of time you spend will largely depend on your personal comfort.
When you’re first starting out, we’d recommend beginning with shorter durations – just a few minutes at a time – and gradually increase your tolerance until you’re able to handle longer sessions.
Does Using a Sauna Help to Burn Fat?
If you’re planning to visit a sauna in the hopes of losing weight and burning fat, you may not be satisfied with your results. Although the sweating and water loss you experience after a sauna session can result in some temporary weight loss, these results aren’t going to be sustained long-term.
Saunas are great for relaxing and detoxifying the body but, if weight loss is your goal, it’s best to stick to things like a balanced diet and regular exercise.