As little structures originating in Finland, saunas were originally found in the form of small log cabins that featured open braziers containing heated stones. The Finnish people were known to use dry heat in saunas to enable the body to perspire.
The heat was supposed to warm the air and open the lungs to facilitate better breathing. Although the first forms of saunas used open fires, modern saunas now employ electric or infrared heating elements.
Traditional saunas are typically made of wood panels that derive heat either from pieces of burnt wood or from an electric stove. If a stove is used, you can expect to see heated rocks over which you can pour water to produce steam and release moisture into the air. Heat-retaining stones can set the temperature up to 90 degrees Celsius or 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Over the years, other types of saunas have emerged, with infrared sauna being one of them. This type of sauna releases infrared rays that the body directly absorbs. Although an infrared sauna emits dry heat, it can still retain some air moisture that can aid in breathing and relaxation.
Sauna temperatures vary depending on the type of heating system used. However, they typically fall between 160 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity also varies depending on the type of sauna.
Obviously, infrared saunas have mildly humid environment since they use invisible rays instead of steam to insulate the environment.
Dry heat saunas also have low humidity levels as they don’t require moisture to heat up the atmosphere. If you prefer a humid environment, then steam rooms should suit you just fine. Typically, the humidity levels in saunas range from five to thirty percent.
A traditional steam sauna can take up to half an hour to heat up, so while waiting, you can take a warm shower to speed up the perspiration process. If you’re using a private sauna, it’s ideal to wear as little clothing as possible. You can go in without clothes on.
However, if you’re using a public sauna, nudity is not advised. It’s ideal to wear a bathrobe and sit on a towel for hygiene. You can also wrap your head with a towel if your face feels hot. The head is more heat-sensitive than the body, so it’s advised that you keep your head comfortable while leaving your body exposed to heat.
In case you don’t find the temperature in the sauna comfortable, you can make a few adjustments. First, you can limit the amount of water poured in the heater. This effectively reduces the humidity in the air, making the temperature more tolerable. You can also just leave if your body can no longer tolerate the environment.
The ideal duration of each heat session is between fifteen and thirty minutes, but if a few minutes inside the structure already makes you nauseous or dizzy, then it’s best if you cut your stay short. You can also change your positioning if, in case, you’re seated close to the stove. It’s best to lie on a bench to even out the distribution of heat in your body.
Saunas have one particular purpose, and that is to increase body temperature and cause perspiration. When you sweat, your body undergoes various physiological changes. When your body temperature spikes, your blood vessels expand, leaving your systolic and diastolic blood pressure significantly reduced.
A higher body temperature can also boost your blood circulation and improve your synovial fluid production, eventually leading to the reduction of pain associated with arthritis.
Regular sauna users can expect their immune system to grow stronger. This is because certain heat levels can aid the production of white blood cells in the body.
As you know, white blood cells are responsible for fighting off bacteria and viruses that can cause infections. Saunas can also detoxify the body and relieve it of impurities, leaving you feeling energized and reinvigorated.
People who take frequent sauna baths report that they experience a feeling of deep relaxation after every heat session. If saunas are known for one thing, it’s that they can relieve stress and promote relaxation by increasing the production of endorphins in the body. Heat sessions also tend to decrease muscle tension and promote an overall sense of well-being.
Saunas are useful and beneficial for a number of reasons. Regardless of the type you install in your home, you can expect to reap a number of benefits. Make sure to understand the uses and the properties of a sauna so that you can use it to its optimum.