10 Sauna Tips for the Ultimate Sauna Bath - 611
Taking a hot sauna bath in the privacy of your own home is a great way to alleviate the countless pressures and stresses of modern life. A few minutes in the soothing heat of a sauna can relax one’s body and mind while re-energizing them at the same time. Sauna bathing can also benefit a person’s health by increasing circulation, improving cardiovascular fitness, strengthening immunity, and reducing body toxins. Indeed, there are many reasons to make time in your daily schedule for a sauna bath, not the least of which is the extraordinary pleasure a simple soak can provide. For anyone wishing to intensify their sauna experience or ensure their continued sauna enjoyment, here are some suggested tips to consider:
Sauna Tip #1: Find a time that’s right for you.
A short sauna bath is often better than no sauna bath at all, but why hurry or sacrifice if you don’t have to? Allow yourself enough time to enjoy a leisurely sauna session, and determine when your sauna bath will be most effective and most beneficial. Some people prefer to warm up for the day ahead with an early morning sauna dip, while others see an evening or night-time session as their reward for surviving the previous eight to 12 hours. Some folks take sauna baths after exercising or playing sports. You too can easily formulate a schedule that accommodates your individual needs.
Sauna Tip #2: Watch what (and when) you eat and drink.
Try not to eat too much right before your sauna bath. After a large meal, wait at least an hour before venturing into the sauna. If you must eat immediately beforehand, choose something light. As for drinking, consuming alcoholic beverages in the sauna increases the risk of dehydration. As well, it can impair your judgment and affect your mood and movement. Drinking water, both before and after your sauna bath, is strongly encouraged. A salty snack after your sauna session can also be of benefit.
Sauna Tip #3: Wear as little as possible.
You may be hesitant to skinny-dip at first, but when was the last time you wore your swimsuit in the shower or bathtub? If you’re soaking solo in your sauna, there’s little if any reason for modesty. A towel to sit on is a good idea, but clothing will simply decrease the effectiveness of your sauna bath and, believe it or not, cramp your own comfort. Wearing metal jewelry is downright dangerous, as rings, watches, bracelets, etc. can heat up and burn your skin. The conditions in the sauna can also damage these items. If you’re sharing the sauna and going au naturel is not a viable option, a lightweight bathing suit is acceptable attire. In certain circumstances, especially if you find yourself in a foreign country, however, you may have to adhere to the “When in Rome” proverb.
Sauna Tip #4: Don’t forget the sauna accessories.
The proper accessories can help make your sauna bath remarkably relaxing and especially enjoyable. Headrests, backrests and footrests provide comfort and support where they’re most appreciated. Aromatherapy oils like eucalyptus, wintergreen and menthol add pleasing fragrance to the air. And the cleansing properties of soap, brushes and sponges offer sauna bathers obvious hygienic benefits. A traditional Finnish sauna bath is the intended setting for buckets, ladles and whisks, and, for many sauna enthusiasts, the “authentic” sauna experience depends heavily on their inclusion. Among the other sauna accessories that warrant consideration are thermometers, hygrometers, timers and peg racks. As well, while some folks might not classify them as true sauna accessories, proper lighting and background music will certainly help effect the mood and milieu you desire.
Sauna Tip #5: Throw in a towel (or two or three).
How many towels you bring into the sauna is really up to you, especially if you’re alone in your own sauna, but consider that you’ll probably appreciate having one towel to sit on lay on, one to help wipe off and absorb perspiration as it accumulates on your body, and, if you plan to sit at any time during your sauna bath, one placed under your feet to catch any perspiration that might otherwise fall to the sauna floor.
Sauna Tip #6: Recognize the power of your shower.
Saunas and showers are very close associates in the business of bathing. A warm shower before you head into your sauna will help wash oil and dirt off your body. You can also hop into your shower throughout your sauna session to help you cool down when necessary. Alternatively, a jump in a swimming pool or a roll in the snow can accomplish the same result. Be sure, though, to take a shower after you finish your sauna session, as doing so will help wash off your perspiration as well as any toxins that have risen to the surface of your skin.
Sauna Tip #7: Care about skin care.
Your skin can benefit greatly from sauna bathing if you know what you’re doing. While most experienced sauna bathers know not to use excessive body lotion in the sauna, some like to apply honey and salt to their skin before entering the sauna. They believe doing so promotes a more thorough cleansing of the skin. Whether you try the honey and salt option or not, be sure to apply a generous amount of moisturizer after you finish your sauna bath and subsequent shower. Sauna heat can leave your skin very dry, so applying the moisturizer and drinking plenty of fluids (especially water) after a sauna bath makes good sense. If you have rosacea or eczema, be aware that traditional sauna heat and steam can aggravate these conditions but far infrared heat may actually help to treat them. Your skin is an organ of your body, just like your brain, heart and liver, so the responsibility to research skin care options and maintain or improve your skin’s health ultimately rests with you.
Sauna Tip #8: Let your body adjust to the change in environment.
After you’ve completed your sauna bath, don’t get dressed too quickly. Allow your body about 20 minutes to return to its normal temperature. You can put your clothes on at the end of this brief cool-down period. If it’s night-time, you may want those clothes to be your pajamas.
Sauna Tip #9: Identify any risks posed to you and your family.
If you and your spouse are trying to conceive or already expecting a baby, you may want to temporarily cut back on your sauna bathing. Any man with plans on becoming a father needs to remember that a high body temperature can contribute to a low sperm count. As well, he should keep in mind that sperm production typically takes about 10 weeks, so a sauna bath today could have consequences over the next two to three months. Pregnant women need to be mindful of their heat exposure, too, as hyperthermia during the first weeks of fetal development has reportedly been linked to neural tube defects. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggest sauna use of no more than 15 minutes for pregnant women, but, as each pregnancy is unique, expectant mothers are strongly encouraged to discuss the issue with their health care providers. Other people who shouldn’t take up sauna bathing before speaking with a qualified health professional include the elderly and individuals with heart conditions, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus, high blood pressure, or respiratory ailments.
Sauna Tip #10: Sauna bathing doesn’t have to be a solo sport.
When you’re seeking solitude, nothing beats a home sauna room. Many sauna manufacturers offer one-person saunas for folks who prefer profuse perspiration to be a private pastime. However, these same manufacturers also build and sell saunas designed for couples and groups. As many sauna enthusiasts already know quite well, a home sauna can serve as the perfect setting for a small party or a tender twosome. But think twice before you initiate any overly intimate interaction, as amid the intense heat of a sauna is not the ideal ambience for energetically amorous advances. To put it bluntly, for your own safety and that of your partner(s), nix any suggestion of sex in the sauna.
The above list consists of just 10 tips or suggestions for making the best of your time in your sauna bath. The more sauna baths you enjoy, the more tips you’ll likely be able to compile for your own benefit and perhaps the benefit of your fellow sauna enthusiasts as well. Here’s to all of you and your happy, healthy sauna bathing experiences.