Taking saunas, or a steam bath, is an ancient custom enjoyed by men, women and children. Sauna is a Finnish word which means bath, but it is also the name of the structure. A sauna is a permanent small building. It normally includes a changing room, perhaps a shower area and the next room that is for sweating. A modern trend is to install a sauna inside of a home.
Clothing is removed in the changing room. The shower area is entered next. Here, both before and after taking a steam bath, the person rinses off.
The hotter room is next. It has high and low benches. The lower benches feel cooler than the higher ones. Water is poured onto hot rocks which creates steam. The intensity of the heat is determined by how much water is poured onto the heated rocks. After sweating and relaxing as long as desired, leave the hot room then enjoy cooling off. Jump into a lake, roll in snow or more commonly, take a shower. Saunas are taken alone or with company and are taken anytime throughout a year.
Taking a steam bath helps reduce stress and increase relaxation. They are invigorating. A steam bath helps increase circulation, improve the heart, strengthen immunity and remove toxins out of the body. Saunas are a wonderful experience. Here are ways to take full advantage of it.
When to Take One
Don’t hurry through the process. Create a leisurely experience for yourself. Fit it into your schedule before work, after work, after exercising or after sport games. The important thing is to not rush.
Instead of a full meal, a light one is recommended when eating before entering the steam room. Then wait awhile before going in. Let your system digest and settle down after the meal.
What to Leave Behind
Wearing clothing may be uncomfortable in a steam bath. Do not wear anything made of metal like earrings, necklaces, watches or bracelets into the steam room. The temperatures in a steam room heat the metal. Do not wear glasses or contact lenses.
Towels are important. If you don’t want to sit on wood, bring a towel. Keep another one close-by for wiping off perspiration.
Pour small amounts of water onto the heated rocks at a time. Wait for the steam to circulate throughout the steam room before creating more steam. Allow the heat to gradually build.
If you are on a higher level and begin to feel dizzy, immediately move to the lower level. If you continue to feel dizzy, leave and cool down.
Keep movements to a minimum. Inside the steam room is not a place for energetic activities.
Special Health Conditions
While saunas have many health benefits, it is best for pregnant women to limit the time in a steam room, and consult with their physician before taking one. Anyone with a specific preexisting health issue, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, should consult with their physician before taking one.