Saunas are known to be used for relaxing, socializing, and winding down. But where to start? How long should you stay in a sauna to absorb its benefits?
What is a Sauna?
A sauna is a small room that utilizes hot air or a steam bath to refresh and rejuvenate the body. It is especially used after a workout or just after a long day at work or maybe just for a little spa session. It doesn’t matter what reason but saunas are always suggested to use for relaxing.
They are originated from Finland who has been using it for more than 2000 years and nearly 1000 years in Scandinavia.
The birth of the sauna started with an earth pit encircled by animal skin, which is later acknowledged as the traditional sauna where the earth pit acts as a stove under which wood was burnt. They can be used with or without chimneys.
A regular sauna usually consists of a basket of heated sauna rocks placed above the stove, and from time to time, water will be thrown on it to add more steam to the sauna.
Types of Sauna:
Since the invention of saunas, there are a lot of variations.
Wood Burning Sauna:
Sauna rocks are heated on the big stove by burning wood underneath it to keep the temperature always bearable.
In a regular sauna, heat is conveyed by objects like wood, stones but in electric saunas, electricity is passed through resistive elements where the resistance causes electric energy. The electric energy is converted into heat energy, passed to the sauna rocks placed in the room, which heats the room.
This is the most used type because it is easy, safe as well convenient to use.
Infrared saunas are not the typical traditional type of saunas where the air is hot. But instead, they radiate heat directly to your body.
While a traditional sauna is used at high temperature to receive benefits, similar benefits are achieved in infrared saunas but only at lower temperatures.
While a smoke sauna uses the mechanics of a wood-burning sauna but the difference is that a smoke sauna doesn’t use a chimney. The smoke emerging from the burning wood is vented in a closed room so that the heat is in it, a little like a makeshift sauna.
Health Benefits and Risks of Sauna:
Spending a good twenty minutes in a sauna has many health benefits that can help in the long run.
Increased Heart Function:
A research study shows that people with heart failures were made to use the sauna to improve their heart conditions for using it.
Decreases Muscle Soreness:
A sauna session is usually taken after a workout is known to diminish muscles’ soreness due to the workout.
Lower Risk of Stroke:
A study that lasted for several years conducted on 1,600 Finnish men and women found out that a sauna session or many for four to seven times a week had been shown to lower the risk of getting a stroke.
Lower Risk of Dementia:
The same study conducted on 2,315 Finnish men and women discovered that regular sauna sessions reduced the risk of Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Risks of Sauna:
There are potential risks that come with sauna bathing.
Dehydration is usually the risk of attending a sauna because the heat in it is used to sweat you off, so a longer hour of sauna session can cause dehydration.
It is always highly advised to drink water before and after you enter a sauna. A cool shower is also suggested before any sauna sessions to get so dehydrated, which can make you very lightheaded.
The dry heat is generated directly to your body in Infrared Sauna. If stayed longer, your body can get overheated, which can inevitably cause dehydration and can cause a heat stroke. Taking breaks in between sauna sessions helps in preventing them.
Temporary Decrease in Fertility:
The hot temperature in sauna bathing can cause the testes to heat up, which may kill sperm and reduce its count. But this is only temporary, and the normal sperm count will return once the hot tub is avoided.
There are loads of unwanted toxins in our body, and it is always healthy to get rid of them by doing yoga or workouts. Naturally, the organ that helps in clearing out unwanted toxins in the Liver.
Detoxifying the body produces a great feeling in your body, it helps in healthifying your body, and a 15-20 minutes session in the sauna will also help in detoxification.
How Long Should You Stay in a Sauna?
Now that you know what a sauna is, so how long should you stay in a sauna to avoid any potential risks that can occur if your stay in a sauna is overdone.
It varies from person to person and how their body reacts to the heated temperature and must decide how long you should stay in a sauna accordingly. It can also vary from a beginner to an experienced one and a person right after a workout.
If you are completely new to sauna bathing and wonder how long should you stay in a sauna, then it is good to start slow and then work your way up. The heating temperature of a sauna can be new to your, and it can cause a little discomfort.
So it is recommended to start your first few weeks of sauna sessions for 10-15 minutes but not more than 15 minutes.
Remember that you are new to this; you can’t expect to lift heavier weights in the gym. You work your way up; the same goes for a sauna. Take it slow and steady.
You can take longer breaks in between your sessions. Keeping yourself hydrated is always necessary. Drink lots of water before and after a sauna session. How long should you stay in a sauna must always be to your physical comfort?
You are perspiring continuously, and also, your heart is a little hyped up than natural, so take care of yourself because you don’t want a relaxing time to backfire.
Once you feel like your body is used to the heat exerted on it and you want to extend the time limit of your sauna sessions, then you can start slowly by extending the time from 15 minutes to 20 minutes and slowly to 30 minutes.
Remember always to cut the session short if you start feeling lightheaded or dizzy, there is no referee in saunas telling you to get out because your time limit is done. So always try to know how long should you stay in a sauna.
Even if you are experienced, drinking water and keeping yourself hydrated is always necessary because you can get dehydrated. Taking a ten minutes break and drinking water is always good to take.
Taking a couple of minutes under a cold shower or maybe just dipping your body in a cold bath before is also suggested while you try to extend a sauna session to try to be as hydrated as possible.
The longest sauna session can vary from 45 minutes to one hour or maybe even less than two hours. It usually depends on the person’s physical ability; they may be practicing going to the sauna for many years to achieve that. But also remember that the longer session you take, the longer you allow your body to be dehydrated. How long should you stay in the sauna? The answer always depends on your body, so listen to your body, so the amount of time you stay in it should not cause any discomfort.
After a Workout:
How long should you stay in a sauna varies even after a workout? Saunas are used to relax by sweating and socializing with the people around them. Many enjoy a good talk during a sauna session.
During a workout, we normally get our heart rate high, and we start sweating; the same thing takes place in a sauna with bath towels on. The heat in the sauna gets your heart rate up, causing you to sweat, so is it good to attend a sauna after a workout? Absolutely.
While a workout can get your body sore after a workout, attending a sauna will help you with relieving from soreness. Sauna has many health benefits like reducing inflammation and helps in reducing muscle soreness. But, since a workout might have possibly dehydrated you, it is necessary to be cautious not to do that in the sauna too.
After your workout, it is advised to hold from going to the sauna for at least less than half an hour so that you can use the time to hydrate yourself completely or maybe even run a cold shower for a few minutes.
How long should you stay in a sauna after hydrating and a quick cold shower? After hydrating, you can relax in the sauna for less than half an hour before retiring for the day.
Visiting the sauna for the first time can be intimidating, but don’t worry, the place exists for relaxing, so you can ask around. It is considered to be decent to take a shower before a sauna, so make sure to take one. The place is for socializing, so share the space and make others also comfortable.
If you are in a traditional sauna and you are sitting next to the sauna rocks, then you are supposed to keep splashing water on it to keep the place humid. Now that you know the basics of a sauna and how long you should stay in a sauna, you can go to one and enjoy it!
Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.