How to Sauna: A Beginner's Guide to Maximum Relaxation
Maximizing your sauna experience from misting to mindset
Stepping into a sauna is a completely transformative experience. At the end of a long day – or even starting the day off right – a sauna bath is ideal for bringing some relaxation and peace into daily life. From soothing achy, sore muscles to warming the skin and calming the mind, saunas are a respite from the day-to-day stress and hectic activities we all experience.
Just as eating nutritiously, exercising regularly and proper sleep cycles are essential to one's health, so is reducing stress. Stress can negatively affect your health in many different ways. Many of the adverse effects of stress are happening without you even being aware, from early aging to the onset of diseases. Stress on the body can manifest itself as fatigue, muscle pain, headaches, anxiety and sleep problems.
Our body and mind need a break during the day. It's crucial – now more than ever – to combat stress by finding the best techniques for therapeutic relaxation. The medicinal and relaxing benefits of a sauna can be felt almost immediately. Even a 20-minute sauna session can reset the mind and body. Here are some ways to use a sauna and how to make your time in a sauna even better.
Relax and recharge:
- Do shower before and after your sauna. Showering off before enjoying a sauna helps boost the skin's circulation by removing dirt, oils and lotions that may clog pores. Allowing your skin to breathe and sweat freely will increase the sauna experience and help give your skin a healthy glow. And don't forget to shower off and moisturize afterward.
- Do stay hydrated. You can lose up to a pint of sweat during a short sauna session, so hydration is essential. Aim to drink 2 – 4 glasses of water after your sauna replenish the moisture you've lost during your sauna session.
- Do use a sauna hat. Yes, that's really a thing! A sauna hat insulates the head but also keeps it cool. A traditional sauna hat is made of linen and cotton and soaked in water to keep the head cool and protect it from the heat. An added benefit -- the sauna hat offers protection for the hair from heat – which many hairstylists recommend, especially after coloring.
- Do mist often. Depending on how dry you like your heat, another way to add moisture into the sauna and onto your skin is with a spray mist bottle. A few mists throughout your session – which feels great with cool, fresh water in your mister – can add some needed hydration to your skin. A few drops of essential oils in the mister can add even more hydration and a calming scent into the air.
- Do clear your mind. To achieve the best sauna experience possible try to relax and unwind. Listening to music, meditating, relaxing conversations with friends or family, or even reading a book are all great ways to use your sauna time as a reset from hectic, day-to-day life. This is your time to unwind and do something good for your mind and body, so use it wisely!
Proceed with caution:
- Don’t consume alcohol while taking a sauna bath. Alcohol itself is dehydrating, so combined with the natural dehydration that occurs with a sauna session, you're at serious risk for dangerous dehydration or even heat stroke. Dizziness and fainting are caused by severe dehydration, which can result in a severe injury while inside a sauna.
- Don’t forget some medications can change the body's response to heat. For example, diuretics, which are used to treat high blood pressure, can easily cause people to become dehydrated. It's important to ask your doctor if the medications you're taking cause a change in the body's normal response to heat.
- Don’t overextend a sauna session. Saunas come with timers for a reason, so you should make sure you use them to prevent dehydration. When first starting to use a sauna, keep sessions between 10 – 15 minutes. You can gradually increase sessions to the suggested maximum time of 20 – 30 minutes.
With these tips you should be able to maximize your sauna time and stay safe doing so. Happy Sauna-ing!