Are you sweating bullets about stepping into a sauna, because you’re not quite sure what you’re doing? Or do you find yourself staring at the rocks, wondering how long you should be in there or how much water to add? We’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll let you in on how to sauna like a pro, so you can get the most out of your experience and leave feeling refreshed, invigorated, and ready to take on the day.
Sauna bathing is a popular practice around the world, known for its many health benefits. Regular sauna use can promote relaxation, improve circulation, and even boost immunity. Here are the expert tips on how to sauna; empowering you to get the most out of the experience before, during, and after your sessions.
How to sauna: Before entering
Step 1 – Drink Plenty of Water
Saunas are designed to make you sweat, so it’s important to avoid dehydration. Before entering the sauna, drink at least one full glass of water.
Step 2 – Curing: Turn Up the Heat!
Whether in a public or home sauna, you’ll want to ensure it’s hot enough before entering. The process of heating a sauna to temperature before use is called curing. A properly cured sauna should be heated to around 170-190°F (75-90°C) and have a humidity level of around 10-20%.
Step 3 – Shower
Hygiene is vital in saunas, regardless of whether you’re in a public or private one. Before entering, be sure to shower, especially if you’ve worked out beforehand.
Step 4 – Read the Room
If you’re lucky enough to own a home sauna, you can skip this step. For the rest of us, it’s best to check in the room first. You can look out for things like whether or not the room is too crowded or if people are wearing bathing suits or not. Every public sauna has its own etiquette on attire, so make sure you follow your local sauna guidelines.
Step 5 – Take a Towel
Whether in a public place or not, a towel is a must! Not only does it soak up any sweat as you sauna bathe, keeping the sauna benches clean, but it also acts as a comfortable cushion and protects you from burning your skin.
How to sauna: During
Step 6 – Be Mindful of Others
Many people use a sauna for rest and relaxation. That means that in many public saunas, it’s frowned upon to have a conversation. If you’re in a crowded sauna, be mindful of giving others plenty of space.
Step 7 – Watch the Clock
If you’re new to sauna bathing, it’s important to take it slow. Start with a shorter session, around 5-10 minutes, and gradually work your way up to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the time and listen to your body. If you start to feel uncomfortable or lightheaded, exit the sauna immediately.
Step 8 – Try a Sauna Whisk
Sauna whisks, also known as sauna whips, are used to whip your skin during a sauna session. This is done to promote better circulation and clear your skin further. Sauna whisks are typically made from birch or eucalyptus branches and can be purchased at speciality sauna supply stores or online. Note that some public saunas may not allow the use of sauna whisks, so be sure to check before bringing one in.
How to sauna: After your session
Step 9 – Cool Down… at your own pace
After you’ve enjoyed your sauna, it’s important to cool down. For some this involves a ritualistic plunge in an ice cold pool. But for many cooling down gradually is preferred. There’s no need to flex with taking a Sauna. You can cool down gradually by taking a seat and enjoying a cool beverage for 5 minutes. Doing this means you’ll be less likely to experience a dizzy spell or experience drastic changes to your blood pressure.
Step 10 – Take a shower
A cool shower after your sauna session is the perfect way to invigorate your skin by rinsing away any sweat, dirt and impurities.
Step 11 – Rest and hydrate
After your sauna, your body needs to rest and rehydrate. Relax for at least 10-15 minutes and drink plenty of water or a hydrating beverage like coconut water to replenish your fluids.
Step 12 – Repeat if necessary
If you want to continue your sauna experience, repeat the process for another round. But be sure to wait at least 15-20 minutes after your first sauna before going in for another round.
Remember, safety should always come first, so listen to your body and don’t overdo it. Saunas are meant to be enjoyed in moderation, so if you start to feel unwell or dizzy, it’s time to step out and take a break.
By following these simple steps, you can elevate your sauna experience and reap the many benefits of sauna bathing. Remember to stay hydrated, practice good hygiene, and be mindful of others. With a little practice and patience, you’ll be sauna-ing like a pro in no time!
Top tips on making the most of your home sauna
- Use essential oils: Adding a few drops of essential oils to the water you pour over the rocks in the sauna can enhance the experience and provide additional health benefits. Eucalyptus oil, for example, can help clear the sinuses and promote relaxation.
- Stretch: The heat and humidity of a sauna can help loosen up your muscles and make stretching easier. Take advantage of this by incorporating some gentle stretching exercises into your sauna routine.
- Sauna accessories: Consider investing in accessories like a sauna hat, which can help regulate body temperature and protect your hair from the heat, or a sauna pillow for added comfort during your session.