You have probably heard of or used a sauna because of its numerous health benefits. Certainly, saunas have been proven to be among the most rejuvenating experiences for the body and mind.
Saunas offer a natural remedy to relieve high-stress and aid in relaxation. As the temperature increases and sweating is instigated, you can clear out your pores, cleanse your skin, and calm your muscles and your mind. In a world where everyone is exposed to stressful situations, saunas could prove effective in helping you cope.
All this positivity cited, you would wonder, is there any reason not to go for wood saunas then? In this article we will look at some of the conditions or reasons why using a sauna might not be for you.
1. Sauna Risks to Consider: Effects on Your Reproductive System
Heads up to the men who are trying to conceive. With increased sauna use, you suffer the sauna risk of lower sperm count and making conception more difficult. Research has shown that effective sperm production takes place in cooler temperatures. Not to be alarmed, the effects are not permanent! But if you are trying to conceive, you should avoid sauna sessions for at least 5 weeks.
2. Sauna Risks to Consider: Unsuitable During Pregnancy
For pregnant women, it is advisable not to try out saunas during this period. While there are no conclusive facts on this precaution, avoiding regular sauna sessions is a preventive measure against complications.
Saunas have been designed to optimize a high-temperature environment. If you have not been to a sauna before, your body may not be accustomed to such heat and humidity. It could therefore affect you and the pregnancy.
Further caution is advised for women who bear high-risk pregnancies. If you have to use the sauna, seek advice from a doctor or a professional who can guarantee your safety.
3. Sauna Risks to Consider: Asthma
If you are asthmatic, we will give you reasons why you should be careful when using a sauna. But first , it’s important to note that studies have shown regular use of a sauna by asthmatics is the surest way to avoid further attacks.
The sauna mimics an environment that is dry and with low humidity. As you inhale the warm air, the muscles of the bronchi relax. These muscles are the cause of your asthma attacks when they contract and compress.
However, to reduce sauna risks, any asthmatic's first visit to the sauna should be at most five to seven minutes. Your body and muscles need to adapt to this change in temperature and humidity. Do not push too hard; instead, use short and regular visits to the sauna.
4. Sauna Risks to Consider: Recent use of Drugs or Prescribed Medication
The body is often very sensitive when under the influence of drugs or medication. Substances like these could be causing an impact on your body's ability to adapt to the changes in temperature levels.
Saunas will increase your core body temperature. Doctors have long advised that diuretics, barbiturates, and beta-blockers inhibit the body's heat loss mechanisms. If the medicine is prescribed, seek your physician's approval before using a sauna.
The danger of using saunas without your doctor's approval is you may suffer adverse effects. While this does not apply to all forms of medication, it is advisable not to throw caution to the wind.
5. Sauna Risks to Consider: Children and Elderly People
In the human life cycle, vulnerability is highest at the beginning and towards the end. The human body is different; some children and older adults can handle saunas just as well as ordinary healthy adults. Nonetheless, precautions must be taken.
Children under six are deemed too young to visit a sauna. And people above sixty-five should also be accompanied during their sauna visits. Studies have shown that people in these two age categories can develop nausea and dizziness in a sauna.
If children and the elderly use the saunas, a few tips can be recommended.
It is recommended that, with the approval of a professional, their visits should be no more than fifteen minutes to enhance sauna safety.
Children should be monitored so they don’t run or play games in the sauna - this will cause their body to heat up faster and may cause overheating.
Both children and the elderly must be reminded to hydrate properly. Before and after the sauna session, they should drink at least one glass of water.
6. Sauna Risks to Consider: People with Infectious or Contagious Diseases
In the aftermath of a global pandemic, we’ve all learned better practices for health safety.. And health safety coincides with sauna safety. If you have an infectious disease, you should avoid saunas for your well-being and that of others (if it is a public sauna).
Saunas tend to increase blood circulation in the body. It would inflict discomfort and potential health hazards if you already have a pre-existing infection.
And in a public sauna, you risk infecting other people with the disease. Such enclosed, high-temperature areas with people breathing the same air can spread contagions.
In the past decade or so, silicone breast implants have improved such that they can handle up to 200 degrees Celsius (way, way hotter than the average sauna temperature). So, is it safe to use a sauna when you have your silicone implants? Well, yes and no; we will look at the reasons.
Silicone implants are prone to leakages when exposed to excessively high-temperature environments. While the sauna does not cause a direct problem, it is highly advisable to check in with your surgeon regularly if you are an average user.
8. Sauna Risks to Consider: Orthostatic Hypotension
Orthostatic hypotension causes low blood pressure when standing up too quickly after lying down or sitting. It comes with blurred vision, dizziness, fainting, confusion, and nausea. Considering that most of the time is spent sitting in the sauna and in a high-temperature situation, standing up can cause these side effects.
If you are aware of this condition and want to use a sauna, then decrease your sauna risk, consider being accompanied by someone else. You can be assisted if there are any health complications. It is important to note that whenever you sauna alone, you are exposing yourself to more risk.
9. Sauna Risks to Consider: Too Much or Too Little Food Consumption
There is a fine line between how much food you should consume before a sauna visit. If you eat too much or too little, you will experience unpleasant effects in the sauna. Ideally, you have some time between your last meal and a sauna session.
Eating a heavy meal shortly before going to a sauna can cause nausea.
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The conditions of the sauna cause increased blood flow to deal with the rise in core body temperature. But if you have eaten a lot, most body functions will be focused on digestion, rather than adjusting to your increasing body temperature. It is, therefore, possible to experience increased dizziness.
In contrast, if you eat too little, your body will lack the calories to deal with the heat stress caused by the sauna temperatures. It will be more difficult for your body to manage the heat, and you’ll be more prone to heat strokes.
To increase your sauna safety, it is advisable to:
Eat a meal at least three hours before you go to the sauna.
Eat an acceptable quantity of food – don’t gorge yourself and don’t eat too little
Eat foods high in energy, like proteins and carbohydrates. Drink at least one eight ounce glass of water before and after the session. Staying hydrated is necessary because of the amount of water lost through sweating.
10. Sauna Risks to Consider: Recent Heart Attack
There have been a lot of misconceptions regarding saunas and heart attacks. Saunas do not cause heart attacks. Rather, they can be quite effective in reducing your risk of heart attack. Through the relaxation of your internal muscles and improved blood pressure, sauna sessions can improve your cardiovascular activity.
Yet, you should avoid a sauna session if you have had a recent heart attack episode. Saunas are preventive for heart attacks but do not serve as a recovery plan post-heart attack. That’s because you are exposing yourself to a high-temperature,
high-stress environment while your heart has not fully recovered from the previous episode. You, therefore, leave yourself more vulnerable to another attack.
Final Thoughts on Sauna Safety & Sauna Risks
Yes, saunas have big benefits for both your mind and body. Do you need clearer skin, less stress, and improved moods? Then getting a home sauna may help you accomplish all three. Besides lower stress and increased relaxation, saunas also offer deeper health benefits. If you want to avoid heart attacks or asthma episodes, saunas could provide that solution. It would assist in attaining a healthier, longer life.
Yet with all these positives, we should always consider the sauna risks and precautions that should be taken. It is always advisable to consult with a physician before sauna visits if you have any doubts. Exposure to high temperatures and humidity could negatively impact your health status if not properly advised.
Some of the potential sauna risks are of particular concern for those with:
Heart disease and other complications
Young children and older folks
If you fall within these categories, always seek a professional opinion.