Many people are aware of the health benefits of regular sauna use. However, there are a few quick steps you can take to make sure you’re getting the most out of your sauna experience. Do enough of these tips the right way, enough times, and you’ll gradually improve the results you’re getting from your sauna routine.
For example, do you know how long you should stay in a sauna or how often you should use a sauna? Following these sauna tips is essential to enjoying the maximum health benefits provided by your sauna.
How to get the most out of your sauna:
- Shower before and after using your sauna
- Maximize skin exposure to heat
- Maintain a regular schedule and routine
- Exfoliate and boost circulation to the skin
- Stay hydrated
- Stretch out or lay down
1. Shower Before and After Using Your Sauna
Some sauna enthusiasts find that showering before stepping into a sauna makes them sweat more rapidly and heavily, giving them an extra refreshing, restorative experience. Showering also helps stimulate blood flow through the body while removing dirt, lotions, and other residues that clog pores, allowing you to perspire freely.
Many people also shower immediately after a sauna session because it leaves them feeling clean, invigorated, and energized. After the last sauna session, don’t wash your body with shower gel. Instead, just rinse off as your body is already perfectly clean and rejuvenated from the sauna.
2. Sauna Bathing Au Natural
Ideally, wearing no clothing in saunas optimizes the health benefits of sauna bathing. Clothing interferes with the ability of infrared heat to penetrate your skin and body. If you suffer from fibromyalgia, arthritis or other pain condition, reducing inflammation as fully as possible requires painful areas to be exposed directly to infrared light waves.
For traditional sauna users, clothes can hamper sweat evaporation. The body produces sweat to keep the body cool and if the sweat doesn't evaporate, it hasn't been successful in cooling. You want to keep the loop going: heat, sweat, evaporate, repeat. Maximizing your skin exposure in the sauna provides your body the opportunity to sweat freely for maximum benefit.
3. How Long Should You Stay in a Sauna?
How long it feels comfortable to stay in a sauna differs, depending on your tolerance of heat, your age, and certain health factors. Typically, sauna users remain in the sauna for 10-15 minutes before taking a break to cool off and then entering the sauna again. Some people enjoy a quick dip in cool water followed by a brief cool-down period before re-entering the sauna and repeating the process. Three rounds of sauna bathing and cooling off are typical, but you should increase or reduce the number of cycles depending on what feels good to you.
As for how often you should use a sauna, studies have shown increased benefits with more frequent use. While 1-2 days per week saw some improvement, 3-4+ days per week resulted in maximum benefits.
4. Exfoliate and Boost Circulation
While you’re in the sauna, there are a couple of different ways you can boost the circulation to the skin and maximize the benefits you feel. When you sit in the sauna, brush, lightly scratch, or tap the skin on your arms, legs, belly, and back. This will stimulate your pores to open more while you’re in the sauna and boost the circulation at the surface of your body.
Some sauna users enjoy adding a “vasta” or “vihta” (the name varies by region) to their sauna routine. The term refers to a bundle of fresh birch twigs used to gently whip yourself. As odd as that sounds, you’ll notice the smoothness of your skin afterward.
5. Stay Hydrated to Maximize Health Benefits
Don't drink alcohol before or after a sauna session for the same reason you should drink 2-4 cool glasses of water after sauna use: hydration. You’ll be sweating profusely during sauna use, so you want to make sure you’re replacing the water you lost. The average person will lose about a pint of sweat during a brief sauna. However, it evaporates so quickly in the dry air that a person may not realize how much he is perspiring.
Some sauna users enjoy drinking tomato juice after a sauna session, which helps replace the potassium lost through sweat.
6. Stretch Out!
Instead of sitting upright in your sauna, stretch out your legs and arms to enjoy the full benefits of sauna therapy. If it is possible, lie down, because then the whole body is affected by the same temperature equally. This also helps increase the range of motion/flexibility and can help expedite the reduction of pain and stiffness.
In order to maximize the health benefits of sauna bathing, make sure you have the right sauna to address all your health needs. Contact a Finnleo dealer to learn more about the different types of sauna and to find the right one for you.