There's no better way to melt away the stress of the day than by stepping into a sauna. The soothing heat, the gentle hum of the heater, and the quiet atmosphere can work wonders on both your mind and body.
The benefits of using a sauna like Almost Heaven Rainelle are too many to count, from improving blood circulation to clearing up your complexion.
What if we told you that you could supercharge these already impressive benefits with simple yet incredibly effective tricks?
Read on to learn about different tips to transform your time in the sauna from a standard routine into an extraordinary stress-relieving ritual.
Types of Saunas
There are several types of saunas out there, each with its unique set of features and benefits. Let's break down the main categories to help you find your perfect steamy match.
Originating from the icy lands of Finland, these saunas are the OG of the sauna world. Traditional saunas boast a wood-burning stove or electric heater that heats the sauna room to a scorching 195 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once the sauna is hot enough, you can ladle some water onto the hot rocks to fill the room with steam. This increases the humidity levels between 10–20%. Such saunas are great if you want to sweat out toxins, but they can also be a bit harsh on your skin (especially if you're not used to being in hot environments).
Also known as steam cabins or wet saunas, these saunas crank up the humidity to 100%. The combination of heat and humidity helps loosen up the mucus in your sinuses, making them more drainable. This can help reduce congestion and nasal irritation, especially during allergy season or colds.
In contrast to their Finnish counterparts, infrared saunas use radiant heat to warm the body directly. This creates a dry, comfortable environment with lower temperatures, usually around 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. These saunas can treat various health issues, including chronic pain and inflammation.
Sauna Relaxation Techniques
While saunas are relaxing, you can take your sauna experience one step further by exploring different relaxation techniques.
The following are some of the techniques that could make your sauna time more of a complete therapeutic retreat:
Drink Plenty of Water
Did you know that when you're sweating profusely, your body loses water, vital minerals, and electrolytes? Cleveland Clinic explains that these fluid imbalances can cause dehydration, dizziness, fatigue, and muscle cramps.
In worst cases, severe dehydration can even lead to heat stroke, which can be life-threatening if not treated immediately.
To avoid this, drinking plenty of water before, during, and after getting your sweat on is essential. This simple step will help prevent dehydration and maintain your body's fluid level as you enjoy the heat.
Choose the Right Temperature
Setting the right temperature for sauna relaxation is just as important as the sauna itself. If you set the temperature too high, you run the risk of getting dizzy or feeling nauseous. Too low, and you simply won't get the full benefits of heat therapy.
The trick is to start low and gradually increase the heat until you find a temperature that suits you. Generally, a good starting point is between 100 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, you can adjust it based on your body's response.
Create the Ambiance
The ambiance is absolutely essential to make your sauna experience go from good to amazing! If you're new to a sauna, starting with minimal distractions is probably best. Lay down some cozy towels on the benches, dial down those lights for a soothing feel, and leave your phone outside.
Bring some light reading material if that helps you relax, but don't get too lost in the world of words. Instead, focus on your breathing and enjoy the process. You can also enjoy some herbal tea to help further relax your mind and body.
Tune Out With Music
Sound can absolutely shape your mood in the sauna. Slide into relaxation mode with some calming tunes, instrumental sounds, or even those cool binaural beats.
You can also go old-school with the peaceful sounds of nature. Avoid anything too slow that could make you sleepy or overly upbeat, which might get your heart racing a tad too much!
Practice Mindfulness and Meditation
Saunas are already an oasis of peace, but when combined with meditation techniques, you unlock the door to even deeper tranquility and stress relief! As the heat envelops your body, it's the perfect time to let your thoughts drift away and ground your focus in the present moment.
You will gain mental clarity, and Healthline states that meditation can reduce anxiety, improve concentration, enhance self-awareness, and even promote healthy sleep patterns.
Incorporate Gentle Movements or Stretches
Another great way to level up your sauna relaxation? Add in some gentle movement or stretching. Of course, you don't want to turn your relaxing sauna time into high-intensity exercise. Still, light movements like neck rolls, arm stretches, or seated forward folds can release muscle tension and enhance the sauna session's restorative effect. If you're feeling extra ambitious, try yoga poses — just don't push yourself too hard!
While in the sauna, close your eyes and imagine a peaceful place. It could be a deserted beach, a tropical forest, or a mountain meadow. Feel the warm air caressing your skin as you breathe deeply and slowly.
Studies show that guided imagery has the power to reduce stress and promote relaxation, making your sauna session an expedition to serenity. This can be especially beneficial when you sauna in the morning.
Aromatherapy could be the secret ingredient to ramp up your sauna relaxation experience. Essential oils like ylang-ylang, Frankincense, eucalyptus, or peppermint have been praised for their calming, clarifying, or invigorating effects. Adding a few drops to your sauna bucket or a sauna diffuser will help release the oils' essences into the air, creating a holistic sensory experience.
Research suggests that aromatherapy could have potential benefits for stress relief and mood enhancement. Remember though, less is more! Begin with a small amount of essential oil that doesn't overwhelm your senses.
Try Dry Brushing
Dry brushing may be the secret weapon you've been missing in your quest for ultimate sauna relaxation. It feels great when you gently brush along your skin, and it helps slough off dead cells, unclog pores, and even stimulate the lymphatic system. The result? A healthier and more radiant skin!
Opt for a natural bristle brush and start brushing from your feet upwards, moving in gentle, circular motions toward your heart.
Practice Deep Breathing
Another game-changing sauna relaxation technique is deep breathing. Harvard Health explains that deep, mindful breathing can activate your body's relaxation response and calm your nerves. This ultimately reduces stress and helps you slip into that blissful zen state faster than ever.
The technique is simple: take slow, deep breaths from your diaphragm to expand your stomach. Hold each breath for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through pursed lips. While doing this sauna relaxation technique, focus on your breath and allow any thoughts to drift away.
The first few minutes in a sauna are usually the most uncomfortable as your body has to adjust to the heat. Deep breathing can help you get through that initial transition phase, so you can start to enjoy the sauna more quickly.
Take a Shower Afterward
Post-sauna shower is the ideal way to cap off your sweat session. When you're all done sweating it out, a cold plunge or lukewarm shower can help close your pores, reducing the chances of irritation.
The temperature variation also wakes up your circulation and helps your body temperature gently return to normal, giving your heart a break after that delightful sauna-induced heat stress.
Best Saunas For Relaxation
The following are some of the best saunas for ultimate relaxation:
Almost Heaven Watoga 4-Person Standard Barrel Sauna
The Almost Heaven Watoga 4-Person Standard Barrel Sauna forms a perfect junction of style, innovation, and impeccable craftsmanship. It's powered by a Harvia 4.5 kW electric heater that can heat the sauna to 180 degrees within an hour. You can also delay the start time by up to eight hours — perfect for those who want to enjoy their sauna more leisurely.
Constructed from 1-3/8" thick ball and socket lumber, this study sauna is available in two visually stunning variants: the dark-hued rustic cedar and the lighter-hued white fir. And for added durability, all other elements are made of sleek, rust-resistant stainless steel.
Its opposite-facing benches allow you to converse with loved ones while the LED lights lend a soft glow. You can even take your sauna relaxation by adding color-changing mood lights, a Himalayan salt panel, and an all-wooden door. To top it all off, this sauna is versatile enough to enhance any outdoor space, be it your backyard, terrace, or garden.
Health Mate Therapy Lounge Infrared Sauna
The Health Mate Therapy Lounge Infrared Sauna is crafted from sustainably sourced eucalyptus non-toxic and hypoallergenic planks. This sauna features 18 TruInfra far-infrared heaters that permeate gentle, even heat, coaxing your body into relaxation and rejuvenation.
The extended, modular benches offer ample room for you and your loved ones. The standard chromotherapy lights help balance your internal energies for ultimate sauna light therapy. At the same time, the built-in Bluetooth system keeps your favorite tunes or tranquil meditation guides only a tap away. This sauna even includes a towel rack for hanging your bath essentials.
Despite its impressive features, this sauna shines in compact spaces. Plus, it's portable, so you can easily move it anywhere!
Tips for Safe Sauna Use
Saunas are a great way to relax, but they also come with some risks and precautions you should be aware of before using them.
Here are some tips for safe sauna use:
Check with your doctor before using a sauna, especially if you have any medical conditions or are taking medications that may affect your ability to sweat or regulate your body temperature. Some people may need to avoid saunas altogether or limit their time and frequency of use.
Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your sauna session. Saunas can cause dehydration, heat stroke, fainting, or other complications. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugary drinks, as they can worsen dehydration and impair your judgment.
Bring a clean, cotton towel to sit on and a sarong or wrap to cover yourself if you are in a coed sauna. This will help keep you and the sauna clean and comfortable. Do not wear anything dirty or tight-fitting, as this can interfere with your sweating and circulation.
Do not wear jewelry or metal accessories in the sauna; they can heat up quickly and burn your skin. Also, avoid applying any lotions, oils, or perfumes before or during your sauna session, as they can clog your pores and irritate your skin.
Enter and exit the sauna quickly and quietly without letting too much heat escape. Respect the etiquette and preferences of other sauna users, such as the temperature, humidity, and conversation level. If you are uncomfortable with the conditions or the people in the sauna, you can always leave or find another one.
Stay in the sauna for no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time. You can adjust the temperature to your liking by changing your seat level or adding water to the rocks (if it is a Finnish sauna). However, do not exceed the recommended time limit or expose yourself to extreme heat, which can cause overheating, dehydration, or even death.
Cool down gradually after your sauna session. Do not take a cold shower or plunge into a pool immediately; this can shock your system and cause cardiac arrest. Instead, sit outside the sauna for a few minutes, drink some water, and then take a lukewarm shower. You can repeat the sauna cycle and cool down a few times if you wish but do not overdo it.
Is a sauna good for relaxing?
Absolutely! The warm and soothing sauna atmosphere is perfect for unwinding and relaxing. In fact, many people use their sauna as a place to meditate or just sit quietly with no distractions.
How do you stay calm in a sauna?
When in a sauna, deep breathing is your best friend. Focus on inhaling slowly, holding your breath for seconds, and exhaling even slower. This mindful breathing can help to calm your mind, even in a heated environment.
How can I maximize my sauna benefits?
To maximize sauna benefits, try integrating a few simple strategies into your routine, like aromatherapy, sauna workout, yoga or gentle stretching, and guided meditation. Also, create a consistent sauna schedule with two to three weekly sessions for optimal benefits.
How long is it best to sit in a sauna?
The length of time in a sauna depends on the individual. Generally, anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes at a time is a good starting point.
However, many sauna enthusiasts might enjoy 30 minutes to an hour, spread out into 10–15 minute sessions with short breaks to cool down in between. It's essential to listen to your body and never stay in a sauna beyond your comfort level.
How do you prepare your body for a sauna?
To prepare for a sauna, make sure you're well-hydrated before entering. Guzzle down a refreshing glass of water, an electrolyte-infused sports drink, or even some coconut water. Avoid alcohol or caffeine before your session, as they can dehydrate you.
Have a light, healthy meal at least an hour or two before your sauna appointment to nourish your body without feeling too full or heavy. Go au naturel by removing jewelry and makeup, and opt for loose, comfy clothes to let your skin breathe. Lastly, consult your doctor before hopping in a sauna, particularly if you're sick or have any pre-existing health conditions.
Why do I feel so good after a sauna?
The post-sauna euphoria is generally attributed to a combination of physiological and psychological factors. The heat stress a sauna provides can trigger the release of endorphins — the body's natural 'feel-good' chemicals — that elevates your mood.
Does sauna reduce cortisol?
Yes!Studies show that high sauna heat helps reduce cortisol levels, your body's primary stress hormone. These reduced cortisol levels reduce stress and can yield many health benefits, such as improved immune function, better sleep quality, and enhanced cognitive performance.
Sauna Relaxation: The Takeaway
While sauna heat and humidity indeed set the perfect stage for relaxation, you can take your sauna experience to new heights with some helpful additions. Practice meditation to clear your mind and uplift your spirits, gently stretch your muscles to relieve tension, or immerse yourself in a captivating book.
At MySaunaWorld, we deal with top-tier traditional and infrared saunas that come fully equipped with all the bells and whistles you could ever need. Confused between different saunas? Feel free to contact us, and our team of friendly sauna experts will help you find a suitable model at a price that suits your budget.
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