Many people use saunas or steam rooms to cleanse their pores and shed calories following a workout or as part of a detoxifying regimen at a beauty spa. Some people even install saunas in the comfort of their homes. Saunas are sometimes a disorientating experience as temperatures are difficult to withstand for the unseasoned user. Start slow when experimenting with heat settings in the sauna to find a suitable climate.
Switch the electric heater on in the sauna or steam room. Leave the sauna room for around 10 to 15 minutes. This allows the sauna time to heat up to a high temperature. Adjust the thermostat on the heater when returning to the sauna room. The level of heat a user is able to withstand depends on familiarity with using saunas and tolerance to hot climates. Keep the sauna at a temperature of around 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit if not a regular sauna user. More experienced users are able to withstand temperatures of 160 to 180 degrees.
Check the level of perspiration after 10 to 15 minutes in the sauna. Turn the temperature up if not sweating at the current temperature. Turn it down if the sweat is heavy and streaming down the face or torso. Sweating at this level sometimes causes the user to dehydrate and pass out. A moderate degree of sweat means the sauna is set to the correct temperature.
Stay on the lower benches of the sauna or steam room if new to the experience. The temperature rises as a user moves up the benches. After several uses, move up to a higher bench after becoming accustomed to the sauna. Stay in the sauna for no longer than 30 minutes. Regular users are able to withstand longer periods.
Tend to the rocks on the sauna's heater. Most gymnasiums and home saunas have rocks that emit steam when dowsed in water. Scoop some water using the bucket ladle at the side of the heater and tip onto the coals. The water quickly turns to hot steam, which increases the humidity and temperature of the sauna room.
Speak to a physician before using a sauna if any medical conditions are present. The intense heat of the sauna sometimes leads to unconsciousness or heat stroke, and aggravates existing health problems.
Many people are unsure as to whether it's acceptable to sit in a sauna naked or whether a towel is to be worn at all times when using public saunas. Being naked allows all of the body's pores to be cleansed by the steam, whereas wearing a towel restricts the flow of heat. Check with the gymnasium or spa owner on what's acceptable practice. Single-sex saunas are more likely to be accepting of nudity, whereas unisex ones require some covering up.
- Sauna and Steam Bathing: How to Use a Sauna
- Sauna: Hottest Way to Good Health; Giselle Roeder; 2002
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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