LITTLE KNOWN TWEAKS FOR MAXIMIZING YOUR SAUNA EXPERIENCE
There's no denying that saunas are the ultimate gateway to relaxation. They are also an incredible source of detoxification, improving circulation, relieving pain, and enhancing mood.
Did you know that small changes like incorporating soothing essential oils, using exfoliators, or wrapping yourself in a towel can significantly improve your sauna experience?
Yes, these seemingly small sauna tweaks can enhance your comfort level, improve your relaxation time, and even amplify health benefits tenfold.
Read on to learn about these lesser-known tips and tricks for maximizing your sauna experience to get the most out of your steamy sessions.
Little Known Sauna Tweaks to Enhance Your Sauna Experience
The following are some of the best, little-known sauna tweaks that can give you an even deeper relaxation experience, and they're all very easy to integrate into your routine:
With its unique ability to relax the mind and body, aromatherapy has been used for centuries to treat various ailments. It only makes sense that it would be an ideal addition to your sauna experience!
Healthline notes that essential oils can help relieve stress and anxiety, boost mood and energy levels, and even improve sleep quality when combined with soothing sauna heat.
The trick is to use the right essential oils during sauna aromatherapy. Studies show that certain essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, and ginger have compounds with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and analgesic effects.
Other essential oils like peppermint and menthol have decongestant properties, which can benefit people with respiratory problems, stuffy sinuses, and congestion.
You can also apply essential oils topically during your sauna session, focusing on pulse points or areas where you desire the benefits of the oil. Make sure to dilute it with a carrier oil like jojoba or sweet almond. A standard dilution ratio for general use on the body is 2-3% (2-3 drops of essential oil per teaspoon or 5 mL of carrier oil).
You should also perform a patch test first, as some essential oils may irritate your skin. Apply a small amount of the diluted oil to a small skin patch, such as the inner forearm, and wait 24 hours to check for adverse reactions or sensitivities.
From pushing through pain and fatigue to easing your mind and elevating your mood, there's nothing that some good music can't fix. Why not let your favorite tunes keep you company during your sauna session?
Research has shown that listening to music while exercising can help you exercise longer, reduce perceived effort and improve endurance by up to 15%. This can be especially helpful if you want to get a sauna workout.
To listen to music while taking a sauna bath, you can use the following:
Sauna-proof headphones: These are specially designed to withstand the heat and moisture of the sauna. They are usually wireless and have a long battery life. Though, they can be expensive and hard to find.
A portable speaker: You can bring this speaker into the sauna and place it outside the door or on a shelf. It should be water-resistant and have a good sound quality. However, it may not be loud enough to overcome the noise of the sauna heater or the steam.
A sauna speaker system: This is a speaker system that is installed inside the sauna. It's typically made of durable materials that handle high temperatures and humidity. The Golden Designs Bellagio infrared sauna has a great music system with Bluetooth capability and two dynamic speakers.
Your smartphone: This is the simplest option but also the riskiest. You can use your phone to play music and place it in a plastic bag inside the sauna. However, your smartphone may overheat or get wet, potentially damaging your phone.
Perform Stretching Exercises
If you plan on performing a sauna workout, try doing some light stretching exercises once you enter your steamy sanctuary. According to a 2012 study published in the Physical Therapy in Sport Journal, heat can help loosen your joints and muscles, improving flexibility and reducing the chances of injury. This can be especially beneficial for people with stiff or sore muscles or limited mobility.
Research also shows that stretching can raise your body temperature, which helps prepare you for exercise and push your body to its limits.
That doesn't mean you should perform jumps or rapid-fire movements that could cause your heart rate to spike too quickly in the heated space.
Instead, focus on dynamic stretches, like arm circles and leg swings, that allow you to gently move your muscles through their full range of motion. This will help you perform fluid and controlled movements during your sweat session, ensuring a more effective and safe workout experience.
Incorporating Breathing Exercises or Meditation
While sauna heat alone can be a beneficial place to relax your mind and de-stress, combining it with breathing exercises or guided meditation can elevate your sauna experience to a whole new level.
As noted by the Mayo Clinic, meditation can help you focus on the present moment, induce mental calmness, reduce anxiety, and increase your patience and tolerance. Similarly, spending time in a sauna has been shown to raise your body temperature while lowering your cortisol levels—the primary stress hormone.
Practicing mindfulness meditation during your sauna session can help you enter a state of deep relaxation. Slidell Memorial Hospital explains that the heat triggers the release of endorphins, aka "feel-good hormones," in your brain that can promote happiness and well-being.
Concentrating on your breath as you meditate rather than getting caught up in your thoughts is key. This simple technique will help you gain control of your mind and deal with emotional distress. Once the session ends, you will feel refreshed and rejuvenated, with a heightened sense of well-being.
Using Sauna Accessories like Brushes, Loofahs, or Stones for Exfoliation
While many people know the numerous health benefits of saunas, including relaxation and detoxification, a lesser-known tweak is using sauna accessories like brushes, loofahs, or stones to enhance your experience.
Healthline explains that exfoliating your skin with a brush or loofah can help remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, and improve circulation. This process leaves your skin feeling smoother and more radiant, and aids detoxification by allowing your body to sweat more efficiently.
Moreover, exfoliating in a sauna can help your skin better absorb any post-sauna skincare products you may use, such as moisturizers or serums.
Another useful accessory to consider is a massage stone or roller. These tools can massage your muscles and relieve tension while you're in the sauna. Research shows that heat from the sauna can help loosen tight muscles, making it easier to work out any knots or tension areas.
Try massaging your shoulders or upper back with a massage stone or roller when working up a sweat. This simple technique has been shown to improve blood flow and encourage lymphatic drainage, aiding muscle recovery and overall relaxation.
Reading a Book or Magazine
Another lesser-known tweak to enhance your sauna experience is bringing a book or magazine. The tranquil atmosphere of the sauna encourages relaxation and concentration, making it an ideal setting to catch up on your favorite magazine or a new book. This can be particularly beneficial for those who find it difficult to set aside time for reading in their routine lives.
Reading will also help you stay in the sauna longer, as it keeps your mind engaged and helps the time pass quicker. This can result in increased exposure to the health benefits of the sauna, like detoxification, improved circulation, and stress relief.
However, it's essential to remember that sauna heat and humidity may not be suitable for e-readers. Opt for books or magazines with durable pages that can withstand the sauna environment.
Wear a Sauna Hat or a Towel
When preparing for your sweat session, try donning a hat or wearing a towel before hopping in the sauna. This simple tip can greatly affect how much heat you take in.
Since the head is one of the most heat-sensitive parts of the body, wearing a sauna hat can help regulate your body temperature and prevent overheating. This allows you to stay in the sauna longer and reap maximum therapeutic effects without discomfort or risk.
Wearing a towel will also help absorb any extra sweat dripping down your face and neck. You can also place it on the burning hot sauna bench to minimize irritation and reduce the risk of injuries.
Using the Sauna Vents
A sauna vent is an overlooked feature that can greatly impact your overall sauna experience. Saunas are typically hot and humid places. Over time, these conditions cause the air inside the sauna to become stale and stagnant.
Excessive humidity can also have several adverse effects on human health. NBC News notes excessive humidity can cause dehydration, muscle cramps, fatigue, and lethargy. In rare cases, it can also make it difficult to breathe properly, which can be potentially fatal.
The solution? It's simple; adjust the vents for proper sauna ventilation. If you find the sauna too hot or stuffy, open the vents slightly to allow more fresh air to enter. This will help maintain adequate sauna temperature and humidity levels, allowing you to breathe deeply and relax your lungs.
The added benefit of breathing deeply is that it helps oxygenate your blood and improve circulation, which can help make you feel even more refreshed post sauna session.
If you prefer a more intense heat, consider closing the vents to help trap the warmth inside. Since each person's comfort level in a sauna may vary, it's essential to experiment with different vent positions to find what works best for you.
Tips for Staying Safe and Comfortable in a Sauna
If you're new to the world of saunas or just want to make the most of your sweat session, here are some sauna etiquettes to keep you safe and comfortable:
Drink plenty of water or electrolyte-rich drinks before, during, and after your sauna session to replenish fluids lost through sweating and prevent dehydration.
Start with a 10-15-minute session and gradually increase the duration as your body acclimates to the heat. Avoid staying in the sauna for more than 40 minutes. This overexposure can lead to dehydration and heat stroke, potentially fatal if not treated immediately.
Pay attention to your body during the sauna session. If you start feeling dizzy, lightheaded, irritable, or nauseous, exit the sauna immediately and let your body cool down.
Consult your doctor before using a sauna if you have any medical conditions, including heart problems, high blood pressure, or respiratory issues, as the heat and humidity may exacerbate these conditions.
Refrain from consuming alcohol before your sauna session. Research shows that consuming alcohol can impair your body's ability to regulate temperature and increase the risk of dehydration.
After using the sauna, allow your body to cool down slowly. Consider resting in a cooler area or taking a lukewarm shower. Avoid jumping into cold water immediately after leaving the sauna, as this can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure and shock your system.
If you're using a personal sauna, clean it after use to prevent bacterial accumulation. Additionally, always sit on a towel to maintain proper hygiene.
What Is the Best Practice After a Sauna?
Once your sweat session ends, try resting in a cool room for a few minutes to allow your body temperature to return to normal. You can also take a cold shower or dip into a cold plunge pool to help close your pores and tighten your skin. Don't directly jump in a cold shower; allow your body to cool down first.
If you're feeling dehydrated, drinking a glass of water or a sports drink can help replenish your electrolytes. You can also eat something light, like fruit or yogurt.
How Long Should I Stay in the Sauna for Maximum Gains?
How long you should stay in a sauna will vary depending on several factors, including individual preferences, heat tolerance, and experience level. If you're new to saunas, experts recommend starting with shorter sessions of 10 to 15 minutes and gradually increasing the duration as your body gets accustomed to the heat.
For more experienced sauna users, you can stay in the sauna for up to 40 minutes per session with frequent breaks.
How Do You Fully Enjoy a Sauna?
To enjoy your sauna experience, find a comfortable temperature and humidity level that best suits your needs. Typically, the ideal temperature for your sauna should be around 150 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
Try sitting or lying on a towel or wooden bench and take slow, deep breaths to help your body adjust to the heat. You can also add essential oils, like lavender, ylang-ylang, or frankincense, to help enhance your sauna experience.
Consider playing some tranquil music or reading a book to pass the time. You can also invite a friend or loved one for a sauna session and engage in light conversation. A personal favorite of our is challenging yourself or your sauna companion to simple games like riddles, word puzzles, or even a tic-tac-toe game using a sauna-safe board and marker.
How Do You Maximize a Dry Sauna?
To get the most out of your dry sauna experience, you can do a couple of things. For starters, make sure that you're well-hydrated before entering, as your body will lose fluids through sweating. Next, start by spending no more than 5 to 15 minutes in the sauna. You can always increase your duration as your body gets used to it.
Try exfoliating your skin gently. Use a loofah or a soft brush to remove dead skin cells and promote a healthier complexion.
You can also try performing light stretching exercises in the sauna to improve flexibility and circulation. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, try some yoga poses or meditation.
Little Known Tweaks for Maximizing Your Sauna Experience: Conclusion
From playing soothing tunes and using aromatic oils to adjusting sauna vents and breathing exercises, these lesser-known tweaks will surely enhance your sauna experience.
If you want an at-home sauna, check out MySaunaWorld's traditional and infrared sauna collection. For more information or queries, feel free to contact us, and our friendly staff will gladly assist you.
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