Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

About Dry Sauna

Post the tiring sessions at your workplace or at the gym, the idea of a dry sauna bathing always is a tempting option. In between our busy schedule and other activities, it is important to devote some time to ourselves to relax and rejuvenate. Dry saunas are the perfect tool to help us do the same. Dry sauna bathing aids to open up the pores, allowing our body to sweat and in the process ensures that we feel calm and refreshed.

What is Sauna?

The word sauna is a Finnish word referring to the traditional Finnish bath. A sauna is basically a closed space-a room or some such, which is specially designed to enable people to experience dry or wet heat sessions that make them perspire their toxins out of the body.

Types Of Sauna

There are several types of sauna and they are:

  • Wood burning Sauna (Traditional).
  • Finnish sauna.
  • Electrically heated sauna.
  • Smoke sauna.
  • Steam sauna- Steam room.
  • Infrared sauna- Heat therapy room.

What is the Difference Between Dry Sauna & Wet Sauna?

The elementary difference between dry sauna and wet sauna is that the steam is absent in dry sauna; whereas steam is present in wet sauna.

Is There Any Difference In Saunas, Steam Rooms & Infrared Rooms?

Saunas and steam rooms are often reckoned to be similar, but they are actually pretty different. Steam rooms which are often in conjunction with a shower, have a hot mist that is created using a steam generator.

Again, infrared rooms are also called saunas, but that is not true. They do not fit the definition of a sauna. In infrared rooms, heat is generated from the infrared portion of the light spectrum, hence the name.

What Are The Benefits Of Dry Sauna?

What Are The Benefits Of Dry Sauna?

There are several benefits of dry sauna bathing. Truth be spoken, nothing is more rejuvenating and refreshing than allowing yourself to sweat out now and then. Our body responds really well to gentle and persistent heat. A dry sauna bath has similar effect as that of exercising because it increases the heart rate and has many health benefits such as:

Pain Relief: A dry sauna bath helps to ease pain due to increased circulation. People suffering from arthritis are advised to take dry sauna baths. Dry sauna also helps in increasing flexibility and relieving sore muscles.

Positive Effects on Heart: A survey was conducted by the University of Eastern Finland on 2300 men for around two decades where the participants were divided into three groups depending on the frequency of the sauna baths they take per week. Now sauna bath is a very popular activity in Finland and encouraged by many. Fourteen minutes were spent on an average per visit by the participants. Towards the end of the survey, it was observed that men who took a dry sauna bath once a week had the highest chances of suffering from fatal cardiovascular-related diseases; whereas those who dry sauna bathe two to three times a week were far less at risk for cardiovascular events. And finally the third group with an average of four to six dry sauna visits a week, were at the bottom of the risk scale to suffer from cardiac death. Despite promising surveys, much research is still required to confirm whether dry sauna actually plays a role in reducing deaths due to cardiovascular diseases.

Weight Reduction: It is a well known fact that a higher metabolism rate effectively helps in weight reduction. Most envy those who have a fast metabolism, which allows them to eat without needing to keep a check on the amount of food intake, because it results in negligible or zero weight gain. Dry sauna does the trick for you, as it increases your metabolism leading to more burning of fat and weight loss.

Detoxification: We know dry sauna makes us sweat profusely by laying the pores bare open. The sweat that is released carries with it toxins, which via sweating gets removed from your body.

Reduction in Stress Levels: In today's world where people are always required to be alert and perpetually on the run for success, stress is a given factor. Stress is your body's way of making you aware that it senses an impending danger or threat. Stress, if not dealt with, can have a detrimental effect on one's well being. Stress often results in depression, mood swings, sleeplessness, feeling of loneliness, chest pain among other things. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that we deal stress at the earliest. Harvard Medical School has declared that saunas induce relaxation for its users and is an effective method of dealing with stress. Dry saunas were ideally created to help people de-stress and relax.

Relief from Breathing Problems: People suffering from breathing problems like asthma are likely to find relief from several symptoms of respiratory problems by using dry sauna.

Better Sleep: Since dry sauna helps in de-stressing, it also aids in inducing deep sleep in the process. Dry sauna helps in ensuring a steady decrease in endorphins, which is instrumental in facilitating sleep. Several dry sauna bathers have claimed that they have slept more peacefully and deeply post a dry sauna bath.

Lesser Illnesses: The heat that you are exposed to in a dry sauna speeds up the production of white blood cells in your body, which in turn combats diseases and destroys organisms which cause illness. Moreover, dry sauna baths also helps in clearing sinus congestion from allergies and colds.

Anti-Aging Effects: Several dry sauna bathers have claimed that sauna baths actually are a very good anti-aging agent and helps them look younger and fresher. As we age, dead skin cells accumulate on the pores. Dry sauna baths facilitate blood flow to the skin thus opening the skin pores and ergo helps new and fresh skin to grow.

Better Hair: Dry saunas also make your hair look good. The sebaceous glands on your scalp are activated during a dry sauna bath. As a result of this, there is release of certain compounds which naturally moisturize your hair.

What is the Proper Way To Use A Dry Sauna?

The following instructions will help you to enjoy your dry sauna experience better.

Always Hydrate Yourself Before A Dry Sauna: Since dry sauna is a heat session, it is important to hydrate yourself before entering it. Temperatures rise as high as 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Hence it is suggested to carry a bottle of water inside with you because you will be sweating profusely and might tend to get dehydrated during your dry sauna session.

Practice Good Hygiene When Using Dry Sauna: Take a shower and clean yourself before entering the dry sauna bath to wash off the dirt from your body. Towels always come handy, hence carry two. Wear a pair of sandals to dry sauna if you wish to. You can lay a towel on the floor and lie down in order to completely relax during your dry sauna session. Use the second towel to wipe off your sweat.

Additional Tips in Dry Sauna: Do not stay in the dry sauna for longer than 15 to 20 minutes. Remember to stay hydrated. Take a warm shower after you leave dry sauna to wash off the remaining sweat from your body and cool your body down. Drink at least two to four glasses of water again after you leave dry sauna to stay hydrated.

What are the Health Risks of Dry Sauna?

It is recommended that you confirm with your doctor that you have no medical conditions that could have a negative effect from the heat in dry sauna. It is very important to drink lots of water during the sauna bath. The following are the health risks of dry sauna:

Blood Pressure Issues: Once you leave the dry sauna, it is advised to take a warm shower and avoid cold water because this sudden switch in temperature from warm to cold may cause blood pressure to rise. A dry sauna bath can also cause the opposite to happen, i.e. cause the blood pressure to fall. People who have had a heart attack or are suffering from cardiovascular diseases MUST consult their doctors first before trying sauna.

Dehydration: People suffering from kidney diseases may dehydrate very quickly during dry sauna; hence drinking water continuously is essential during the time spent in dry sauna.

Dizziness from High Temperature: The high temperature may also cause people to feel uneasy and dizzy. In such cases the person should immediately leave the sauna.

Some Useful Tips for Dry Sauna Use

  • Avoid alcohol before a dry sauna bath and after leaving it. Alcohol increases the risk of dehydrating at a faster rate, arrhythmia, hypotension, and can even cause sudden death.
  • Do not spend longer than 20 minutes in a sauna. For beginners, it is advised to use a dry sauna for only 5 or 10 minutes till they get habituated to it.
  • People should refrain from using dry sauna if they are not fit. Pregnant women should definitely consult their doctors before dry sauna use.
  • Always drink lots of water.

Conclusion

Dry saunas are an effective way of diminishing your stress and staying healthy. Dry sauna bathing not only de-stresses you, but also has several health benefits. Human beings tend to downplay the importance of relieving stress, but it determines how well you can function. If you are perfectly de-stressed and relaxed, it will propel you to step into a new day with lot of vigor and zeal!

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: November 22, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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