Saunas can be a really good way to blow off some steam! (Pun intended!) Need deep relaxation after a stressful day? Maybe a sauna is the right choice for you.
A sauna is a type of steam therapy that originated in Finland. It initially began as a way of dealing with the country’s frosty winters but has since gained popularity worldwide for its soothing effects and health benefits.
Saunas can be in different forms depending on the personal preference of the user. What it will be used for determines the sauna type and experience that will be good for you. For example, some saunas will be personal, where only one person will enter. Others are more general and allow a larger group (such as 5-7) to come in.
Secondly, different ailments will require different temperatures. Are you trying to do a light detox? Or do you need something deeper and more targeted, such as pain relief?
Your body is what determines the type of sauna you use, and what temperature will be best for you.
Types of Saunas
Traditional saunas are those that create heat by pouring water on heated rocks. This is done in an enclosed space so that the steam is trapped, and whatever is in the space will get heated as well. This works very well to heat the body’s core temperature and cause the body to sweat.
The rocks in traditional saunas are heated manually by using wood. There are now modern saunas that electronically heat the room. An electrical heater is attached to the floor, and heat is released from there.
If you want the best sauna temperature to break a sweat in, the traditional is the way to go. This sauna can go up to 160˚F to 194˚F. Electrically heated ones can range from 90 °F - 120 °F.
The infrared saunas are quite different from all the traditional types. Whereas other types of saunas heat the entire room, the infrared heats only the individual. It does this by using a concentrated set of red light waves to produce heat.
These rays penetrate deep into the skin, which offers a deeper toxin cleanse for you to sweat out. It uses an infrared radiant heater to do this, which are small lamp-like devices.
This simulates the same effects as being in a regular sauna, except there is no excess heat. This is due partly to the fact that it is not the entire room that’s heated. Another reason is because generally, the infrared sauna temperature is lower than that of all other sauna types.
Sauna temperature will remain at an average of 110 - 140˚F. You can give yourself all the benefits of a sauna session, without worrying about overheating. The best part of this is that the temperature can be adjusted for the infra-red saunas.
Other sauna temperatures are not as easily adjustable as this one.
A steam sauna is unique in that it uses moist air to heat the body’s temperature, as opposed to the other types that use dry heat. Due to this distinction, steam baths are almost not considered saunas, yet they are still beneficial in the same ways.
While saunas pour water on hot rocks to create steam, steam baths often use heated water in a condensed area, and focused humidity. This also means it loses heat faster, and so a steam bath’s average temperature will be lower than other sauna temperatures.
A steam bath should be between 110 °F and 115 °F.
Benefits of Temperatures
Effects on the body
Sweating is an excretory process that helps the body to get rid of waste. Sweat therapy has long been used in one form or another, whether as a spiritual means, or as relaxation.
The ideal time in a traditional sauna is twenty minutes. Any time over that must be done with medical advice, or with an awareness on the effects on your health. Lower temperature saunas may give a bit more time, such as infrared.
Regardless, the sauna can have many benefits such as:
- Cardiovascular (heart health)
- Muscular Health
- Nerve Health
Extreme temperatures will increase your metabolism. Your body tries to break down calories for energy so that it can keep working in these temperatures.
A sauna works on your metabolism by exposing you to high heat for a period of time.
Additionally, saunas are good for weight loss as when you sweat excessively, a good amount of extra fluid weight is also lost.
A sauna can be good for your heart in several ways.
Firstly, your heart rate speeds up as your body’s temperature increases. This increase can help to strengthen your heart muscles, in much the same way that exercise can.
It also helps by lowering cortisol levels, which is the main stress-causing chemical. High stress levels can lead to cardiovascular diseases, and even heart failure.
The steam from the saunas can also help to clear up your lungs and airways, which will further help your heart with more oxygen while it pumps.
One of the ways that hot saunas help your mind to relax is by loosening your muscles. Heat therapy has been a time-tested method to relieve muscular aches. The sauna works by stimulating blood flow throughout your entire body.
The blood then brings oxygen to these muscles, which help them to become stretched and limber. This elevated blood flow is also very good for pain relief such as arthritis.
Most times, heat can help to relieve nerve pain through topical application (over the skin). The same can be done through deep penetration heat such as from the infra-red sauna. This type of sauna temperature has been known to be helpful in treating sciatica, a chronic back pain caused by frayed nerves.
Further research has shown that infrared rays can be helpful to repair damaged nerves.
Saunas are very good investments for overall health. Whether it's the traditional water-on-rocks that calls to you, or you prefer the modern Far Infrared system.
No matter what your health needs may be, you can find the right sauna for you. Just remember that your health comes first. Don't stay inside too long, and hydrate beforehand. Consult your doctor for the best health practices for your body when using a sauna.Make your sauna experience the best yet.