Why do you need a sauna: benefits, harm, how and when to steam properly, useful tips

The healing effect of baths and saunas was known back in the Middle Ages. In addition to hygiene purposes, they were used to treat various diseases, ranging from mild colds to disorders of the cardiovascular system.

In the 21st century, people still visit steam rooms. This is a great way to relax, have a good time and cleanse the body. Adherents consider going to a bathhouse or sauna the best relaxation for soul and body. Opponents, on the contrary, view it as a serious health risk.

How does a sauna affect thermoregulation?

The body's thermoregulation system is considered one of the most important in the human body. It is responsible for stabilizing a person’s temperature depending on various factors. The heat exchange of a healthy person consists of constant processes of generating, receiving and releasing heat, thereby ensuring a constant temperature.

When the ambient temperature rises, the body launches mechanisms to remove excess heat through sweat, which is produced by skin cells. The amount of sweat produced is determined by a number of factors, in particular humidity and ambient temperature. Most people with a temperature of 37 can go to the bathhouse, but it is better to consult your doctor.

Going to the sauna before training?

Definitely not! And the reasons here are obvious:

  • After warming up, the muscles relax, which does not fit in with subsequent physical activity.
  • The release of endorphin (the pleasure hormone) will be in vain if you continue to strain yourself.
  • Finally, what are you going to do with lactic acid in your muscles?
  • To maintain health and increase positive emotions from playing sports, it is strongly recommended not to change the order (sequence) of procedures.
  • First the barbell, then the steam room - that’s the only way!

The effect of sauna on the central nervous system

According to many studies, it has become clear that if you spend 10 minutes in a steam room, the benefits of a sauna are manifested in improved motor functions and coordination. But if the stay is increased to 20 minutes, these indicators become worse. The rate of normalization of various indicators is determined by the duration of stay in the steam room and the type of rest. The normalization process can be accelerated, for example, by adopting contrast procedures.

It is worth remembering the influence of the sauna on the psyche. The procedures themselves, their organization, the interior and other influences can affect the mood and general well-being.

Visiting rules

To make the sauna healthy, you should follow the basic rules and recommendations. You should not eat heavily before the procedure; it is better to plan your meals several hours before such a rest. Alcoholic drinks are also contraindicated. Alcohol before, during or after a visit can negate all the positive effects. Hair should be covered with a towel or a special felt or woolen hat. The skin should be rubbed with natural oils - this is good protection against high temperatures.

Why a sauna is good for the heart and blood vessels

As the ambient temperature rises, the work of the cardiovascular system increases. Again, benefits after a sauna for the heart and blood vessels are possible if you spend a short time in it. If you spend more time in the sauna, you will experience negative symptoms such as dizziness and increased heart rate.

Studies have shown that at such moments, the blood vessels of the brain are filled higher than usual, and blood circulation also increases. Harm from a sauna can be avoided if you spend a clearly measured period of time in it.

If the procedures are carried out correctly, the parameters of the cardiac and vascular systems are normalized within 15-20 minutes after their completion. To speed up the recovery of the body, you can resort to contrast procedures, such as a contrast or warm shower, or a dip in the pool. It is important to know whether a sauna after the gym is beneficial or harmful?

However, it is worth remembering that cold procedures put additional stress on the heart, especially for children, unprepared people or those suffering from diseases of the cardiovascular system. Also, do not forget that contrast procedures can cause hypothermia or cause colds.

Sauna after the gym: benefit or harm?

Visitors to gyms and fitness classes are often encouraged to use the sauna immediately after a workout. This is due to the fact that there is an opinion about the undeniable benefits of this procedure after playing sports.

However, each person must make their own choice. Scientists have proven that the sauna has a negative effect on muscle growth. Elevated temperatures simply do not allow them to develop to their full potential. But this does not mean that visiting the sauna will harm the body. Under certain conditions, it will contribute to the following processes:

  • Thanks to the strong blood flow, muscles are renewed faster.
  • Muscle pain is significantly reduced.
  • Toxins are removed.
  • The sauna removes the products of natural metabolism from the body.
  • The sauna helps you relax and relieve muscle tension.
  • Calories are burned, and in significant quantities.
  • A natural flow of oxygen into the body is created.

The benefits of a sauna after a workout will only be noticeable if certain rules are followed.

What is the effect of a sauna on the body's metabolic processes?

Due to the effect of high temperature on the body, a person’s metabolic processes intensify immediately after the start of bath procedures, but after some time they return to normal. At the same time, oxygen consumption is normalized, and excessive production of carbon dioxide is observed for a long time after the procedures.

However, repeated adoption of bath procedures no longer affects metabolic processes. This suggests that if you want to lose excess body weight through frequent visits to baths and saunas, the desired result will most likely not be achieved.

Combination of therapeutic factors

The sauna goes well with physiotherapy such as manual therapy, therapeutic massage, infrared and ultraviolet radiation.

In conclusion of the article, I would like to repeat that a dry-air bath, or sauna, is undoubtedly a very useful procedure in many cases, but in a number of pathologies this kind of thermal effects are categorically contraindicated. If you have any acute or chronic diseases, please check with your doctor whether you are allowed to use the sauna - this way you will not cause harm to your body.

How does a sauna affect the skin?

As the ambient temperature increases, the skin temperature also increases. In addition, blood flow increases in it. During the first 2 minutes of being in the sauna, the temperature of the skin increases, but after this, due to the inclusion of mechanisms for regulating body temperature and sweat production, these indicators decrease.

When discussing the dangers and benefits of a sauna, it is worth considering that when you are in such places, the skin temperature can reach 41-42 °C or more. This causes the blood vessels in the skin to dilate, increasing blood flow and increasing skin permeability. The outer layer of the skin becomes softer, the skin becomes more sensitive, it breathes better, and its immune and biological qualities improve. Also, such procedures contribute to the normal flow of oxidative mechanisms in the skin.

We can conclude that all of the above effects on the skin only improve its functioning. In part, this has a positive effect on the functioning of many internal organs, helps to harden the body and minimizes the possibility of developing colds.

Oh sport, you are the world

A few words should be said about where we actually started. About sports, about how a sauna is useful for men, but what else, and how a sauna is useful for women, in the light of high sporting achievements.

Sports medicine states that a cycle of 10-12 bath procedures in a dry-air sauna with a total duration of 80-100 minutes once a week is guaranteed:

  • Reduce muscle fatigue syndrome;
  • Relax and tone muscle tissue, to some extent regenerate muscle fibers with signs of microtrauma;
  • Increase adaptive abilities, especially in an unusual environment;
  • They give a boost of energy and increase motivation on a psycho-emotional level;
  • They provide the opportunity to quickly lose non-critical excess weight within the limits of weight categories.

Contraindications for a sauna in a sports environment, as a rule, differ little from the generally accepted ones.

Dependence of the digestive system on bath procedures

When the body is exposed to high temperatures, there is a slight outflow of blood from the internal organs. For this reason, the volume of gastric juice decreases, but the concentration increases. In this regard, eating during bath procedures is not recommended. Protein foods are the worst digestible foods in saunas. Fats are absorbed a little better, which can negatively affect the stomach and liver. To reduce the negative effects of fats, it is recommended to drink more fluids.

A dry sauna helps reduce body weight, usually due to the body's consumption of moisture and energy.

The number of kilograms lost is determined by the following factors:

  • duration of stay in the steam room;
  • temperature and humidity indicators;
  • characteristics of the body, in particular, whether the person is healthy;
  • body fitness.

Weight loss can be regulated; for this, you can drink different volumes of liquid while taking a sauna, or use a different approach to the procedures.

As a rule, based on a person’s body weight, one can draw a partial conclusion about his physical health. It is no secret that each person has his own normal mass limits, and, accordingly, dangerous limits that negatively affect the functioning of many internal organs will also be different. It is also a fact that people suffering from excessive body weight are more likely than others to suffer from cardiovascular diseases.

At the moment, various specialists have presented many useful recommendations for normalizing body weight. In particular, bathing and sports activities are in the forefront, second only to diet in terms of effectiveness.

To understand the benefits and harms of a dry sauna, it is recommended, firstly, to take into account the state of your health, and, secondly, the fact that accelerating the process of losing excess weight can negatively affect your health (more details: “Benefits of a sauna for the human body - the whole truth").

Experts advise losing no more than 2% of your body weight in a short period of time. In adolescents, such rapid weight loss can cause the development of abnormalities in a still growing body, disrupting metabolism and the functioning of the kidneys and heart.

To lose body weight more effectively, it is better to supplement the procedures with a massage, which is carried out before bath procedures. The massage should be aimed at the back, legs and places on the body with maximum deposits.

If you don't want to study at all

Sometimes it happens that a person does not want not only to go to the sauna, but also to play sports. In this case, the following manipulations will help:

  • Change your training program.
  • Try a different gym a few times.
  • Conduct several classes with the participation of a personal trainer.
  • Watch some motivational films.
  • Go to a training session with a friend, try yourself as a trainer.
  • Give yourself a full day off, during which you will neither work nor play sports.

If you exercise too often, sooner or later your body will resist it, so your desire will disappear.

Thus, a sauna after a workout is a great way to relax and relieve stress. But sometimes it has the opposite effect. Therefore, it is important to know how the steam room affects the body, how the state of health changes under the influence of high temperatures. Sometimes it is better to refrain from going to the sauna. The best option for you would be to consult with a doctor and trainer before making a decision about visiting the steam room.

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