How to use and enjoy a sauna safely
There are many health benefits that come from using a sauna including pain relief, stress reduction and relief from the symptoms of a common cold.
However, unless you take the proper precautions, your sauna experience could be more detrimental to your health than beneficial. Follow these guidelines to make sure your next trip to the sauna is healthy, relaxing and safe.
Make sure you are healthy enough
Most people in good general health can safely enjoy time in the sauna. However, you may wish to take precautions or avoid partaking if any of the following things apply to you:
- High blood pressure
- Angina pectoris
- Heart arrhythmia
- Advanced heart failure
- Recent history of a heart attack
- Aortic stenosis
- Flu-like symptoms
- You are a minor or are responsible for children that are somewhere in the facility
- You have felt sick or dizzy before in a sauna
Check with your doctor
Always get your doctor’s approval before venturing into the sauna. People who take certain medications could find that they overheat easily because the drugs they take interfere with sweat production. Sweat helps keep you from overheating.
Follow the instructions
Whether you are using a sauna at home or in a public place, you should always be familiar with the health warnings and safety guidelines. These are usually posted clearly on the door or wall, but if you do not see them, ask the sauna attendant to let you know how to use the sauna properly.
Check the thermometer reading
Before you enter, check the temperature at which the sauna is operating. Safe temperatures range from between 158 degrees and 194 degrees Fahrenheit. Some saunas manufactured for use in European countries are able to go above this range, but this is generally considered unsafe and unhealthy. Once you decide to enter the sauna, you must determine if the temperature is agreeable to you. If not, you can ask the attendant to lower the temperature.
Drink plenty of fluids
It is easy to become dehydrated while just sitting in a sauna. Drinking plenty of liquids before, during and after a sauna session can help you avoid having a heat stroke. Acceptable and healthy drinks include water and sports drinks. You should always avoid drinks containing caffeine or alcohol immediately before and during your session.
Do not stay too long
The maximum amount of time you should spend in a sauna is somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes. Leave earlier than this if you feel too hot. It is wiser to take a break outside for a few minutes than to stress your body too long in heat that is too much for you.