Sauna Dos and Don’ts: avoid these mistakes

sauna dos and don'ts
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Sauna Dos and Don’ts

Whether it’s the freezing middle of the winter or a pleasant beginning of the summer, sauna is one of the most popular activities to relax all year round. No wonder why – apart from being a great reason for a family or group of friends to gather, it also offers a wide range of benefits for health and beauty. While those might be the primary reasons for some and others go to sauna simply to relax, there are several things to keep in mind to make your visit as pleasant and beneficial as possible. Simple tips on what is recommended and what is not in sauna are important to remember not only for the beginners but for long time sauna visitors as well. So what are the main sauna dos and don’ts?

People, who have been going to sauna regularly, might be very assured of themselves that there is nothing for them to take precaution about. That is wrong – only several moments of negligence can cause injuries or impaired health.

It is important to remember that sauna after all is an environment, very unnatural to the human body and thus might be dangerous. There is a number of tips to keep in mind when visiting sauna: prepare in a shower, stay in the heat for a reasonable amount of time, not to drink alcohol, wear a hat and so on. All of them are covered below, so start reading!

Sauna Dos: To Ensure a Pleasant Environment

Take a shower

Always take a shower before entering sauna. Not only will you ensure proper hygiene for yourself and other sauna visitors but also will prepare your skin for the steaming. Getting rid of sweat, toxins or cosmetic layer will leave your skin smooth and open.

Bring your personal items

Most of the saunas have special preparation rooms or areas before going to the actual heat. Bring those personal items that make your visit more comfortable: your own towel, shower gel or shampoo, slippers to walk inside and a sauna hat. Depending on whether you go to your friend’s or a public sauna, those things might or might not be provided, so it’s always a good idea to have the equipment of your own.

Have comfortable clothes

Have loose and comfortable clothes prepared which you will put on after sauna. The heat and constant change between cold and hot will leave you feeling relaxed and indolent, almost a bit tired. Squeezing yourself into tight jeans of formal clothes after a good sauna visit can be the worst idea you can offer yourself. Linen or cotton clothes will feel the most comfortable to your skin after the sauna.

Bring a towel

If you are a beginner to sauna or if you find the surfaces too hot, bring a towel which you can sit on. Not only will it feel more comfortable but might be also useful for hygiene purposes.

Always wear a hat

Always wear a special hat in sauna. Like we have written before, the head tends to heat faster than the rest of the body. Having in mind that the temperature in sauna can reach more than 100 °C depending on its type, you can experience overheat very soon. Hat in sauna ensures the proper temperature for the head and also protects hair from possible damage – that is particularly relevant for people with bleached or chemically treated hair which is much more brittle and sensitive to the temperature changes. You can find a wide variety of special sauna hats made out of wool to buy online or in the specialized shops. If you happen to forget to bring one or simply don‘t feel like spending money, a towel wrapped around the head can always help.

Drink water or herbal teas

No doubts that heat in sauna causes sweating. The more heat room visits you have in one evening, the more liquids you lose. Therefore, it is very important to maintain the balance by drinking herbal teas or water during the breaks. Note that you shouldn’t wait until you start feeling thirsty.

If you have planned a visit to a steamed sauna, take advantage of it and pamper your skin with masks. The heat and steam combination is exactly what many cosmetologists recommend before putting on facial masks or oils. Steam opens the pores and whatever you put on the skin will be absorbed much more efficiently. Masks with natural ingredients, such as herbal oils or clay, can be your skin’s saver. Remove the mask after you leave the heat room and wash it away with cool water. If you plan to go to the steaming room several times that day, leave the mask for the last visit.

Sauna Don’ts: Take Care of Your Health

Never stay too long

Never stay in the heating room if you are feeling uncomfortable! That is particularly relevant for people who are new to sauna. It is not uncommon that newbies believe that they need to “suffer” in the heat in order to achieve the desired “effect” (whatever they imagine it is).

Another notorious situation is a group of buddies who tease a certain person because of its inability to stand the heat (especially, if they have tasted alcohol – that’s another non-recommended combination). They also might “dare” each other to stay as long as possible. Keep in mind, that these are very dangerous games. Each person’s body and its capabilities are different, and they react to the changes of temperature differently, too. Spend no more than 10-15 minutes during the first visits to sauna and leave immediately if you start to feel dizzy, get a headache or a heart beating too fast. Believe us, none of your buddies would like to see you collapsing!

Don’t drink alcohol

We have already provided a separate article on this because we couldn’t stress the importance more – don’t drink alcohol when going to sauna. Even though in some cultures it might seem like an inevitable attribute (especially in countryside or during the big meetings), drinking alcohol in sauna can cause severe health impairments.

Not only does it increase the probability of injuries in sauna (you can easily sprain an ankle or severely hit the head by falling) but it also can cause heart failure if a person overestimates its ability to stay in sauna. A number of injuries and deaths in sauna are reported every year in the countries where sauna is extensively popular, for example, in Finland or Russia. You probably have heard it and it‘s quite a popular myth that sauna can detoxify the body from the alcohol that you have been drinking. In fact, going to sauna after drinking only increases the risk of heart problems and extends the hangover phase. All in all, if you feel you must drink better leave for after you have been done with sauna for that day.

Don’t go to sauna when you are full

Don’t have a big lunch or dinner before going to sauna. Huge heat is a big challenge for the organism and it will use its energy to cope with it in the first place. Your heart pumps faster and the body starts sweating in order to cool itself down. If you have taken in a decent portion of food, a part of your blood system inevitably will be devoted for digesting. You cannot take the heat very well or even to start to feel sick because the digestion is not going very well. However, going to sauna hungry is not the best option, either. Most specialists recommend having lunch or dinner 1-2 hours before going to sauna. And, of course, no alcohol!

No smartphones

Don’t bring your smartphone with you to sauna. The majority of people go to sauna to relax and not to be disturbed. But who says that nobody can find sitting there quietly a bit boring? However, don’t be tempted to bring your smartphone with you. High heat and water can cause irreversible damages to your phone. The heat can even melt the subtle inner hardware parts in the phone. Even though it might look as perfect as always from outside. You’d better leave it outside in the changing area or if you feel you cannot live without it, then better turn the sauna down.

Take your glasses or contact lenses out

Don’t wear contact lenses if possible. Dripping water and steam can increase the risk of infections that can lead to severe eye diseases. The best choice for those with poor eyesight is to wear daily lenses which you can throw away after visiting the sauna. Thus you will ensure that you haven’t caught any microorganisms that will remain in the lenses. Read more about it here: can I go to sauna with contact lenses?

Conclusion

Sauna can be a perfect weekend or evening activity when it’s taken with care and consideration. Even though there might be a certain risk in visiting sauna and people can be affected differently, precautions considerably decrease the risk of any injuries. The main “dos” in sauna include: taking a shower, preparing your own comfortable clothes and towels, wearing a sauna hat and drinking enough water. Not using alcohol and not sitting too long in sauna is the key thing not to do in sauna. Other than that, what can we say: enjoy!

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