Saunas have long been used for relaxation and recovery—and by “long,” we mean since as far back as the mid-17th century. More recently, Hollywood stars have been spotted on Instagram showing off sweaty sauna selfies because of its purported pain relief and detoxification benefits.

 

Ever walk by our saunas at the club and wonder what the hype is? Here are some of the benefits of using the sauna—and how often you should heat up to get the results you want.

 

 

What is a sauna?                                                            

A sauna is a small room that we heat up to help you relax. At In-Shape, we have both saunas (which use “dry heat”) and steam rooms (which use “moist heat,” AKA steam).

 

Why use the sauna?

  • The heat in the sauna increases your circulation and promotes relaxation and stress relief.
  • Studies show that using the sauna may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
  • Although research hasn’t proven it, many athletes swear by using the sauna for relieving sore muscles and aiding in recovery. Sounds like it’s worth a try!
  • Regular sauna use (this study defined “regular” as 3-7 sauna visits per week) may help you live longer.
  • In 2016, a study suggested using the sauna may also reduce your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

 

How long should you stay in the sauna?

When you’re new to using the sauna, all sources agree: start small. It’s easy to get dehydrated in the sauna if you stay inside for too long.

  • Beginners: Don’t push it! Use the sauna for 5 to 10 minutes at a time—and listen to your body.
  • After exercising, wait at least 10 minutes before entering the sauna.
  • At most – Don’t use the sauna for more than 15-20 minutes at a time.

 

How to use the sauna safely:

  • Drink plenty of water before and after using the sauna to avoid dehydration.
  • Don’t use the sauna while you’re ill, and if you begin to feel unwell during your time in the sauna, exit immediately and allow yourself to cool down gradually.
  • Check with your doctor to see if you have a medical condition that would prevent you from using the sauna.