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How to Get More Out of Your Sauna & Steam Room Sessions

The sauna and steam room is more than just a room to sweat. By using them the right way, you can absorb more health benefits that it has to offer.

Saunas and steam rooms have been around since the ancient times from the Finnish sweat bathing culture [1]. These days you can find them in gyms, spas and some homes too since there are portable versions of saunas and steam rooms being sold in the market today. Usually people would just go in and sit for a few minutes to relax and sweat. But what is the sole purpose of the sauna and the steam room?

Both saunas and steam rooms help to increase blood circulation to your skin and increase your heart rate gently which is why you start to sweat in those rooms. Sometimes you sweat more there than in your typical workout sessions. Also it will help you sleep better since you will be very relaxed after the session [2].

Both rooms have its own individual health benefits too so you can either enjoy both or decide which room you want to relax in. Reap these awesome health benefits from the…

Sauna

sauna health benefits

Source: greenmassagespa.com

  • Interior: Wood walls and benches with a wooden/ electrical stove filled with heat rocks.

Benefits: 

  • Sauna makes you sweat which helps your body to get rid of toxins that are stored in the fats and at the same time, cools your body down [3].
  • You will leave the room feeling happier and relaxed because your body will release more endorphins that help you de-stress [4].
  • It’s great after your workouts because it can soothe and relax your muscles. While exercise is a form of active internally induced sweating, sauna is a form of restful externally induced sweating [5].
  • Finnish researchers found that regular sauna sessions gives your blood vessels a cardiovascular workout making it stronger and healthier [6].

Heat rocks produce dry heat that ranges from 71 to 85 degrees Celsius that fills up the room so it’s best to stay for about 15 to 20 minutes to avoid burns or dehydration [7]. Since it’s a low humidity room, you can make it more humid and create a bit of steam by adding water to the heat rocks.

Steam Room

steam room health benefits

Source: www.thermasol.com

  • Interior: Ceramic tile/ glass walls with steam coming every few minutes from a water-filled generator.

Benefits:

  • If you have a cold, blocked nose, sinus, asthma or other allergies, the steam from the steam room will help to improve your respiratory system, loosen those pesky phlegm and clear your nose and lungs [8].
  • It helps you to lose some body weight because you will be sweating your water weight out along with other toxins [9].
  • Having muscle aches? The warm steam from the steam room will increase blood circulation in your body so that will help relieve those aches and speed up the muscle recovery process [10].
  • If you have dry skin, the steam room will really help to moisturize your skin while it increases your metabolism too [11].

Temperatures in a steam room are usually around 37.7 degrees Celsius to 51.7 degrees Celsius which is lower than the sauna [12]. After your steam room session, don’t forget to hydrate your body with a lot delicious fruit-infused water to replenish the lost electrolytes.

Here Are Some Tips On How You Can Use The Sauna & Steam Room

  • Always drink a lot water before entering any of these rooms to avoid dehydration. In fact, you can bring a bottle of water with you into the room so you can sip on it whenever you feel thirsty. Drink more water after your sauna and steam room session too to avoid dehydration.
  • Heading to the sauna or steam room after your workout session? Do shower off your sweat and grime (wipe your body dry too!) before entering. Not only is it more hygienic, you will have a clean skin surface to absorb more of the steam and detox more efficiently.
  • Stay in the sauna and steam room as long as you are comfortable, leave the room to cool down for a while before entering again if you starting to feel uneasy.
  • With a dry body, you can choose to head to the sauna for some dry heat therapy (15-20 minutes) first or the steam room (10-15 minutes), once you are sweaty you can cool down with a cold water dip/ shower to boost your body’s circulation and lose less body heat [13]. After that, chill for a while in the lounge before you repeat the cycle again. It is recommended to do this 2-3 times to really get the benefits but if you’re a beginner, do it once then slowly build it up to avoid giving your body a shock [14].
  • If a cold water shower is difficult, try doing a warm to lukewarm rinse instead as you slowly get used to cooler showers.
  • The steam room is a nice place to get some hair pampering session too so put on a hair mask before you enter to let the steam help the product to penetrate into your hair strands better. Other than that, the steam will also help to stimulate hair growth too since it increases the circulation of your scalp [15].

Since there is no proper instructions on how you should use a sauna or a steam room, you can adjust it according to your preference. You can go for the sauna only or you can go for the sauna and then the steam room for the second round. But always follow the safety and hygiene rules to keep the rooms clean and safe for everyone else to enjoy. If you have a medical condition, do consult your doctor before you start your sauna and steam room sessions. Happy sweating!

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Sources: Bodybuilding.com, Complex
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