Using the sauna – how to properly use the sauna to bring maximum benefits
What is the correct use of the sauna?
Using the sauna is based on alternate heating of the body and its cooling – at least two or three times. We say that we go through two or three stages of the sauna.
Stage 1: Preparation
Shower (drying out)
Stage 2: Bath
A hot foot bath if we feel such a need
Sauna 8 – 15 min
Fast washing with cold water
Exit to fresh air (breathing)
The use of cold water
(dipping with water)
Hot foot bath (sitting) – 5 to 12 minutes or longer
Stage 3: Completion
Resting lying down if we feel such a need
Use the sauna completely naked to reach the skin without any obstacles, heat radiated from hot wooden surfaces, from the ceiling and walls, as well as from the furnace. Bathing clothes retain sweat on the body, which could irritate the skin and cause eczema. In addition, they are an obstacle to the free evaporation of water from the surface of the skin.
In public saunas, preliminary washing is a general rule (just like in swimming pools); for this purpose, a special room is used. After washing, the body should be dried, because dry skin allows faster formation of sweat under the influence of heat.
In comparison to other forms of sweat baths, the advantage of the sauna is the very short period of time in which its goals are achieved. This applies in particular to relaxing, warming up the body and then sweating.
The “warming up” period, measured in minutes, is so short that any changes in the functioning of the heart and in the blood circulation are not possible at this time. That’s why some people should not stay on the lowest bench, but on the middle or on the highest bench in a properly heated sauna room. Should lie or sit in a relaxed position and with your knees pulled up to the body so that the feet are at the same temperature as the rest of the body.
How long can you stay in a high temperature sauna? The heating phase of the sauna should be finished as soon as we warm up sufficiently and begin to feel the cooling of the body. Therefore, we do not need to wait until we feel sweaty enough. To learn this, many beginners sometimes need six to eight baths in the sauna. When the body is warm enough, the surface temperature of the skin rarely exceeds 39-40’C, and within the body is usually around 38 to 38.5’C.
The feeling that we are already warmed up enough and the idea of cooling in cold water does not always appear after the same time. The differences depend on how we are disposable and how our nervous system works. There is talk of differences between 8 and 12, and at most 15 minutes.
Before leaving the hot room you should sit down (like in a chair) in a vertical position so that the circulation can adapt to this position again. In the event that we rise too rapidly, jumping from the benches downwards, it may happen that the blood “flows away” and it gets dizzy or even fainting. This is why it is necessary to leave the benches slowly and immediately go to the cold fresh air, because in this phase the body urgently needs oxygen, and will receive it quickly when the airways are cooled. Salt Cave.
Two elements of swimming in the open air, a quick exhale (a calm breath) and a march “back and forth” are very important. After a few minutes, but before you feel cold, use cold water. It removes sweat from the skin, cools and acts as a cold stimulus. In the simplest way you can do it with the help of a hose, which can also be combined with a shower. However, pouring cold water should always start away from the heart (feet, legs, hands, arms, the rest of the body) towards the heart. If there are no contraindications then you can immerse yourself in a cold bath.
The use of cold water causes the narrowing of the blood vessels in the skin, and their re-expansion is accelerated by a hot foot bath (reflex, quickly produced by the nerves). Foot heating should be carried out in a sitting position for 3 to 5 minutes and soon you will feel pleasant warmth on your entire back. If, at this time, the body’s cooling has not yet taken place sufficiently, the heat from the inside of the body is again transferred to the surface of the heat, which is felt as intense heat on the surface of the skin.
Then cold water in the form of pouring, showering or submerging bath is used again. After it again, a hot foot bath is used, which helps to quickly expand the blood vessels of the entire skin system. Such cyclic expansion and narrowing of blood vessels leads to their activation in every person, and for some people it is absolutely necessary.
Beginners use one whole bathing phase, that is, heating and cooling down, while people who are used to it use two stages. More than two stages do not give much more benefits, and they can be too tiring. Appropriate cooling after the final stage of the sauna is especially important to prevent sweating in the clothes. Sweating on the way home could be the cause of a cold.
People who have turned a steam bath into a sauna are pleasantly surprised that after bathing in the sauna they do not feel disturbances in need of rest or sleep. Applied cooling agents after a normal, not necessarily longer period of heating, cause a noticeable refreshment. This is proof that only a few who use the sauna rest after lying in a bath.
After some time, the sauna feels tired and it is a natural reaction of the body (vagus nerve stimulation). Fatigue is particularly valued because it promotes good night rest. People who feel this fatigue only within a few hours after bathing in the sauna should change the time of bathing from the morning to the south or early afternoon.
Hormones are released. Under the influence of heat, the pituitary gland is stimulated, the following are released: endorphins, which are morphine-like compounds
The feeling of warmth. The receptors in the bronchi and respiratory organs feel the heat. They tell the brain that the temperature is rising
Sweat appears. The body defends itself against the temperature by sweating profusely from 300 to 600 or even 1000 ml depending on the temperature inside the sauna, thus eliminating excess heat. At the same time sweat protects the skin against burns.
The heart beats faster. In order to reduce the temperature of the blood and maintain a relatively stable pressure, the heart begins to work faster. Acceleration of cardiac function (heart rate by 50%) and increase of cardiac output is up to 400% of the resting value.
Your heart rate is growing. In order to stop the drop in blood pressure, the heart rate increases. For a beginner, the heart rate rises to 100-150
Blood pressure falls. The main component of the sweat is the filtered blood component – in this way the volume of blood is reduced. The heat expands the veins and the blood pressure drops. The increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure at the beginning of the bath is on average 25 mm Hg, and at the end even by 35 mm Hg.
There is a slight decrease in blood pressure after bathing, lasting up to about 1 hour after its completion.
The increase in breathing rates to 20 per minute,
Increase in basic metabolism by 30-40% and increase in skin excretion of such metabolic products as carbonic acid, histamine bodies, protein and carbohydrate metabolism products.
Urine thickens as the result of giving a lot of sweat, which is reflected in increasing its specific gravity,
Increased expectoration, beneficial in respiratory diseases.
Sauna is credited with slimming properties, which is not true. Sauna provokes secretion of sweat, but does not slow down. The weight loss is momentary and is quickly compensated. Sauna bath reduces muscle tension and even releases contraction states. Bathing in the sauna is advisable, therefore, for muscle pains caused by hard work, for post-traumatic muscle conditions, which are often accompanied by painful contractures. Heat stimuli causing the expansion of blood vessels in the skin and in deeper layers lead to an increase in the flow of arterial blood and lymph, which reduces pain, accelerates the suction of inflammatory products and stimulates the growth and regeneration of tissues.
Correct use of the sauna:
A sauna bath should not last longer than 30-40 minutes in three 12 -15 minute time periods with 6-12 minute breaks for a cold bath. In the sauna heating chamber, we should stay in a strong sweat, which occurs after 12 -15 minutes.
The sauna should be naked. Before entering the heating chamber, wipe the skin dry.
When bathing in a sauna heating chamber, sit or lie on benches.
For additional irritation and congestion of the skin, you can use birch whisks, which lightly hit the body.
After the first strong sweat, take a cold shower or immerse in a bathtub, swimming pool or in an open water tank. Before re-entering the heat chamber, wipe dry again.
The physiological reaction of the body to sauna thermal stimuli can be observed by yourself, counting the pulse rate. Frequencies above 130-140 beats per minute should be considered as a signal to stop bathing or to mitigate thermal stimuli.
After the bath, cool the body and stop the sweating process.
After a bath you should rest 10-20 minutes calmly, accepting fruit drinks in a moderate amount.
When using the sauna, do not consume drinks in large quantities.
Use the sauna 1 or 2 times a week (exceptionally 3 times).
The measure of a well-performed bathing procedure in the sauna is the state of well-being on the next day, which should be characterized by freshness and readiness to undertake major efforts.
One hour before and after bathing in a sauna, you should refrain from excessive consumption of liquids. Saunas should not be treated as an object for weight loss, because the loss of body weight is caused after bathing largely due to the loss of water and salt, which ingredients should be replenished after bathing.
The strength of a thermal stimulus depends on the amount of heat (infrared rays) that the body will take from the environment – a hot furnace of air and walls – in a unit of time. The reaction is the stronger the greater the thermal difference between the sauna and the water used to cool the shower in the pool or the ice-cream.
The reaction to thermal stimuli also depends on the rate of change of the thermal stimulus, which is why a sudden immersion of the body in ice water is used after it has been warmed up beforehand. Immersion of the whole body is used for the reason that the reaction will be the stronger the larger the area of the body on which the thermal factor exerts its effect. Research will show that when the stimulus at the same temperature is repeatedly used, the strength of the general reaction weakens because the system adapts to its operation. We should remember, therefore, about the gradation of cold and hot stimuli and the expansion of differences (amplitude, between the highest temperature of heating and cooling.) What is the “reaction” of the local and general organism – a little further.
In order to intensify the thermal stimulus after re-entering the heat chamber, the fired furnace stones are covered with water. Its amount depends on the amount of humidity we want to achieve. The larger the room and the degree of air heating, the more water we have to pour onto the stones.
Physical insufficiency of the air increases, because as the temperature rises – that is, the higher the temperature, the more vapor can be taken by the air volume unit. If we want the heat of water vapor to intensify the thermal reaction of the body, then the amount of nasty pair in the air must increase noticeably. It is supposed to be a thermal stimulus rather than a ritual of pouring water on stones. The sudden increase in water vapor content in the air can withstand only individuals with high physical capacity. After pouring water on the stones, the largest increase in water vapor is observed under the ceiling. Who wants to warm up his body to the limits of endurance, this should look for maximum warmth on the highest bench. After collecting the heat accumulated in the steam and re-sweating, cool the body again with a cold bath. Such treatments can be repeated three times, i.e. three times we bring the body to sweat. Once without steam, twice with pouring water on heated stones. Then, the body should cool down and take a moment to rest (10-20 minutes), take a massage and replenish the loss of fluids in the body. It should be added here that breathing in the change of hot and cold air during the passage of, for example, from the sauna heating chamber to the lake, for taking a cold bath also has a great stimulus for the body. The hot sauna air affects the surface of the skin and mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, causing the body’s temperature to rise to around 38 ° C and even 39.7 ° C. If we did not apply cooling treatments after leaving the sauna, then the body temperature can stay at such a high level from 30 minutes to one and a half hours. Halotherapy.
Excessive prolongation of stay in the sauna heating chamber with a low thermoregulatory efficiency of the system may lead to symptoms of overheating. Reckless exceeding the level of thermal endurance of the body observed in using the sauna as a result of prolonging the stay in the interior (who will last longer), or exposing the body to higher temperatures than we can stand it (who will lie on the highest stage of the bench), causes, among other things, an increase in the basic metabolism and a shift in the acid-alkaline balance of the body in the acidic direction. Warmed blood and metabolic products of acidic nature irritate the higher vegetative centers of the body and cause an increase in blood pressure, acceleration of the pulse, speed of breath and further increase of basic metabolism leading to changes in both the image and blood chemistry. Instead of freeing the muscles from “fatigue products”, we contribute unconsciously to further increase them, and instead of improving the thermoregulatory reactions of the system, we cause them to become unregulated.