Sauna For Balance And Wellbeing
The sauna is ideal for chasing away fatigue, banishing stress and eliminating toxins.
Do be aware, when you enter a sauna – a wooden room containing a stove heating porous stones – it’s quite a heat shock to the system. The air is hot and dry, the temperature between 80 and 100 degrees. And you need to understand that while this high heat temperature eliminates toxins, accelerates sweating and cleanses the skin, it does not help with weight loss.
Sauna for balance and wellbeing
A Finnish tradition for over 2,000 years, the sauna is a family and social custom in this country of icy lakes and blue forests. Done regularly, the sauna provides users with several benefits: calming the nerves, helping to banish stress and chase away muscle tension.
Sauna is a method of relaxation that evacuates fatigue and restores your joie de vivre and energy thanks to its sedative properties. Benefits for the heart have been the subject of several studies that demonstrate the advantages of sauna on blood circulation and skin.
Check how well you’ll handle the sauna’s heat
Although a sauna is enjoyed for stimulating blood circulation, eliminating toxins and relaxing muscles, you do need to check with your doctor how well you handle dry sauna heat before trying it out. Vasodilatation of vessels due to heat does trigger rapid acceleration of heartbeat and can be hazardous for people suffering with cardio-vascular illnesses.
While the sauna is a very effective relaxation tool, it does have some contraindications for sufferers of circulation disorders. Be aware that sauna is not good for people with a tendency to blotchiness, small vessels under the skin on the lower body and varicose veins. The sauna is also not recommended for asthmatics and people suffering with respiratory disorders as it triggers acceleration in breathing and can cause feelings of tightness in the chest.
After a relaxing hot shower, take a sauna bath
Before entering the sauna, start by taking a hot shower which will warm and relax you. Dry yourself carefully before entering the sauna. Saunas are best taken naked, with a cotton towel around your waist for hygiene reasons.
Not wearing clothes enables better evaporation of perspiration. Take off your jewellery and glasses that heat through and could burn you, and in no circumstances should you take reading material with you as ink vapours at high temperatures can be toxic (bet you didn’t know that one!). If you dye your hair, check with your hairdresser how well your colour will resist and some hair dyes are affected by saunas.
A sauna is first and foremost a moment for relaxation, so make the most of it. The first sauna session lasts about 12 minutes. As the dense sauna heat can feel quite oppressive during first sessions, to acclimatise, take a seat on the lower bench; the higher bench is hotter. Don’t be surprised by how your body reacts while in the sauna: your breathing becomes deeper, blood circulation faster and vessels dilate.
To enable the body to conserve its temperature of 37°C, the brain triggers a physiological reaction to heat called thermolysis. This acts like a thermostat and modulates the body’s temperature to keep it at an acceptable constant heat level. During a sauna session, sweat glands begin to secrete water and water loss can be a litre an hour with body temperature sometimes rising to 40 degrees. You need to drink a lot between sessions in the sauna to compensate this water loss.
As soon as the sweat starts rolls down your skin, you can get out. If you don’t sweat, don’t force it, get out and start again. After this first heat session, take another shower, this time cool or cold if you can; a cold-water pool is usually available for complete immersion.
The sauna rest ritual
Invigorated by this cooling interlude, dry yourself and lie down with your legs slightly raised, on a bed prepared for this purpose. Rest, well wrapped up under a blanket or large dry towel for 15 minutes. Only after this moment of relaxation do you take another hot shower and dry yourself once again to return to the sauna, this time for 15 minutes. An hourglass in the sauna indicates how much time has passed. Go through this cool shower – drying – rest -hot shower – drying – sauna ritual once more...
In total, 3 sessions in the sauna are advised, with the last resting time is a little longer, about 20 minutes after your last shower. You can also use an exfoliating glove to eliminate dead skin cells that the heat will have helped to dislodge and apply toning essential oils to your skin afterwards.