The tradition of saunas in Finland goes back over two thousand years so that country must have decided long ago that saunas have definite health benefits. And the Finns do have a reputation for endurance and longevity
Even if you don't have the luxury of owning your own personal sauna or living in Finland, many people have access to a sauna at their local gym or spa.
Experiencing a sauna for the first time
Start off gradually. On your first visit, come out as soon as you start to feel slightly uncomfortable. Next time you can stay a bit longer and gradually build up.
Enthusiasts will be quick to inform you of all the health benefits – healing, preventative and cleansing properties
and much more...
- The relief of minor illnesses such as colds.
- Reviving the muscles after tough physical exertion as a sauna will help relax the muscles and ease the soreness. The process of sweating helps rid the muscles of excess lactic acid. Dilated blood vessels increase the flow of oxygen to muscles, reduce swelling and aid in the repair of any tears.
- Removing toxins and increasing blood flow to the skin so that your subcutaneous and surface tissue receives more nutrients. Heat from a sauna opens the pores and sweat will flushes out the toxins. The newly cleaned out pores have a long lasting effect on the ability of your skin to function. Result - a glowing skin.
- Healing mental depression and anxiety so that you emerge from a sauna with an improved mental state.
- Relaxing the mind - leaving you (even if only temporarily) free of everyday worries and concerns.
- Heightening your tactile sensitivity.
- Increasing your metabolism and pulse rates.
- Improving circulation to your extremities.
- Giving you a mild cardiovascular workout when the heat causes your blood vessels to dilate thereby increasing blood demand to the skin. Your blood pressure will drop while your heart will beat faster and more efficiently to compensate - all because of the benefit of the heat.
- That same heat also causes profuse sweating. Sweating is good as it helps eliminate toxins from the body and stimulates the function of other organs. We are exposed to and ingest lots of toxic substances in our day-to-day lives. Anything we don’t get rid of has an effect on us for better or worse.
- Negative ions have been found to have a positive effect on the way your body functions and feels. Splashing water on rocks creates lots of free negative ions as the water quickly turns to steam. In the sauna environment your body can absorb these extra negative ions.
A few basic tips before entering the sauna for the first time
- Don't drink alcohol, as it works as a depressant, where the blood is moving slowly and the nerve endings are shutting down. This would counteract any of the benefits to you of the sauna.
- Older people might need to avoid or limit their time in the sauna.
- People with heart ailments or respiratory diseases need to avoid the sauna, and anyone with chronic ailments needs to check first with his or her doctor.
- Don't eat prior to the sauna.
- Avoid drug use and the sauna — tranquilizers, stimulants, and other prescribed drugs alter the body's metabolism and could produce unwelcome effects in the heat. Since blood pressure is lowered you need to be careful of sudden movement in the sauna. When lying down be sure to get up gradually to avoid that light headed feeling and the chance of falling.
All sensible tips - which are not intended to put you off having a sauna one little bit. Go ahead, enjoy and benefit!
- If you experience dizziness, problems with breathing, or a general feeling of ill health, leave the sauna immediately.