The Sauna originates from Finland and has been a part of the Finnish culture for over 2000 years. The word “sauna” means “bath” or “bathhouse” in Finnish, describing the little cabins built with wooden logs. Over the years, just like the Turkish baths and Russian banyas, this practice has spread worldwide, becoming a part of modern society and every spa resort.
People have used these sweat lodges for thousands of years as a way of relaxation, socialization and most importantly – health improvement. A good sweat session will help you get rid of toxins, cleanse your skin, promote weight loss and even boost your immune system.
So if you’re planning on treating yourself to a day at the spa, don’t hesitate to use the sauna and get all those great benefits. If you’ve never tried it and this is your first time, there are just a few basic things you need to know, before you book your appointment at WaySpa.
- Be cautious
Saunas have some amazing benefits and are safe for generally all healthy people. However, if you have any medical condition it’s absolutely necessary to ask your doctor for advice. You should avoid using a sauna if you have any of the following: kidney disease, liver failure, epilepsy, lung disease, heart failure, poor blood pressure, abnormal heartbeats and other cardiac conditions. Be cautious if you’re pregnant or trying to conceive. In all cases, it’s best and safest to consult with a medical professional before booking any spa treatment.
- Stay hydrated
Remember to drink plenty of water – two to four glasses before starting your session and the same amount after you leave the spa. You need to replenish the lost fluid from all that sweating so it’s best to have green tea, fresh fruit juice or just lots and lots of water. Drinking all these fluids will help you rehydrate from inside out.
- Have a light meal
Eating a heavy meal right before using the sauna is bad for your digestion, so consider having a snack or a light meal before going in. Just like before working out – wait an hour or two after eating and start your session, then have your next meal after you’re done with the sauna.
Stay away from alcohol before and during your sauna session – alcohol dehydrates your body and drinking in the steam room can be bad for your health.
- Go clean
For best results, prep your skin and keep it squeaky clean. Don’t step into a sauna right after a workout – take a shower instead and pat dry. You need to have a clean surface to absorb all the heat and steam and allow your skin to breathe and sweat better. Skip applying lotions and creams, these could clog up your pores and get in the way of sweating.
- Sauna wear
Going all nude in your birthday suit wouldn’t be surprising in Finland, but elsewhere, you might want to cover up. You can wear a loose-fitting swimming suit or even better just a clean, cotton towel. This will protect your skin from bacteria – you sure don’t want to have other people’s sweat on you! Although the benches are regularly cleaned, it’s probably impossible to wipe off all the sweat and bacteria, so wearing a towel is best for your hygiene (and privacy).
Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes, jewelry or anything that has metal on it so your skin can breathe. Saunas heat up quickly and having hot metal in touch with your skin can cause bad burns. Also, go barefoot. Shoes or slippers can bring in dirt, so remember to take them off right before you enter the sauna.
- Bring your towels
Your body will sweat out toxins and heavy metals, so you’ll need some towels to absorb everything. Bring around four clean cotton towels: one to wear, another one to sit or lay on, one for under your feet and another one to dry off after your session. Leave the last one out of the sauna so it’s completely dry and ready for use.
- Take it slow
Sauna sessions can last up to one hour, but as a beginner, you might want to take things slow. Your first session should last 10 to 15 minutes – this is the recommended time. However, you can leave earlier or stay for a couple more minutes, in other words – stay in as long as you feel comfortable and relaxed.
- Know when to leave
End your session and leave the sauna immediately if you feel dizzy, nauseous or lightheaded. Everyone is different and can endure high temperature differently; do not hesitate to leave in case of feeling uncomfortable. Saunas are all about relaxing and feeling well, therefore these bad signs are not normal and should be taken seriously.
There’s a chance you’re not going to be alone in the room, so (just as anywhere) you should treat everyone with respect. Public saunas are a place for peace and relaxation, so remember to stay quiet. If you’re there with a friend, try not to talk too loud and disturb other people in the room. When you enter or leave the sauna, make sure you quickly open and close the door – leaving the door open for a longer time will let the steam and heat out.
If you want to change the temperature or steam, ask the others first if that’s okay with them. Simply put, being nice to everyone is a guarantee for a peaceful session in a friendly atmosphere.
After the first 10-minute session, get out of the sauna and cool down with a lukewarm/cold shower. Once you’re completely dry, you can go in for another 10-minute session. Take your time and enjoy the experience – the detox effect in a sauna is totally refreshing and rejuvenating. It’s the perfect way to cleanse your body and mind and feel reborn.
Author Bio: Ana Arsovska is a beauty blogger, makeup lover and a skin care enthusiast. When she’s not creating DIY projects and sharing makeup reviews on her blog 365beautytips.com, she writes about fashion, style and blogging on other websites.