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Sauna Answers

How long can one stay in a sauna?
I’m glad you asked this question. While a sauna can be a fun and relaxing pass time, they can be dangerous to your health under certain conditions. This is because saunas can cause hyperthermia, a condition where the bodies temperature rises beyond where it is supposed to. The likelihood of have a health problem in a sauna depends on the temperature, how long you stay in, and if you have any health problems. Only your doctor who will know your health conditions (if any) can tell you how long you can stay in. In general, you should use common sense.

If something doesn’t feel right while you in the sauna, you should get out. On a side note, while the sauna will definitely make you sweat, and bring blood flow to your skin (which can feel good), it absolutely will not help you lose weight. True weight loss only occurs when you burn more calories than you consume. All weight loss techniques that are successful involve eating less and burning more calories. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.

He or she will be able to give you the best advice as to how long you can stay in the sauna with your past medical history in mind

Which is better Sauna or Steam?
On One Hand: Steam Benefits Upper Respiratory Illness Steam rooms, like saunas, are reported to promote health through heat-induced perspiration. While each claim similar health benefits, such as improving arthritis symptoms, detoxification and enhancing circulation, steam offers added advantages. According to the Merck Medical Library, steam inhalation minimizes irritated airways and frees mucus secretions–a bonus for those afflicted with sinus or upper respiratory illnesses.

On the Other: Saunas Offer Low Humidity and Boost Detoxification Saunas operate with significantly higher temperatures, accounting for enhanced detoxification and removal of xenobiotics, which are stored chemical waste compounds in the body.The Environmental Medicine Center of Excellence states, “Saunas can be used very effectively for certain cardiovascular problems and as a means to enhance the mobilization of fat-soluble xenobiotics.” Due to low humidity, saunas may be better tolerated and pleasurable to some individuals than steam rooms.

Bottom Line Studies suggest saunas and steam rooms have therapeutic benefits. Personal preference, along with a health care provider’s guidance, may determine which is best for the individual. Always use steam rooms and saunas as directed according to manufacturer’s safety procedures.

Do you burn calories in a sauna?
Short answer is yes you do burn extra calories while sitting in a sauna and you’ll also experience a perceived weight loss. The extra calorie burn occurs because your bodies trying to cool off and the weight loss is due to excessive…

Your body is constantly burning calories every minute of every day to sustain vital bodily functions such as blood circulation, respiration, brain function, and temperature regulation. Saunas cause an elevation in your body temperature and as a result the rate at which you burn calories can slightly increase because your body must work harder to keep itself cool. Your body combats these high temperatures with profuse sweating, which results in the loss of water weight. However, the water weight lost is only temporary and is restored as soon as you rehydrate. Moreover, saunas come with many dangers, including possible dehydration, heat stroke, and can alter your blood pressure.

Long-term effective weight loss requires lifestyle modification combining physical activity and a healthy low-calorie diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.

How hot is too hot for a Sauna?
Now for the science. A Canadian team published a study… on the rise of core body temperatures in women in a 180°F (80°C) sauna, specifically looking for body temperature rises above that which could be hazardous to the fetus of a pregnant woman. What they found was, that unlike in a hot tub, all women left voluntarily before their core temperature rose to a potentially hazardous level. Some stayed as long as 25 minutes.

A German study … found positive effects for a sample of patients with high blood pressure. For this they used a relatively low temperature sauna at 115-140°F (46-60°C), but with 55% humidity. He emphasizes that it is important that at-risk populations also cool down gently after the sauna, and not jump into an ice-cold pool.

A Japanese study… looked at the benefits of a sauna on the treatment of lifestyle diseases. They found that a 140°F (60°C) sauna was effective in restoring people with lifestyle diseases to healthy weights.

Finally the last thing to consider is the humidity of the sauna. I’ve personally sat in a sauna where the thermometer showed 230°F (110°C) and had nothing bad happen. However, this summer’s Sauna World Championship in Finland, one competitor died and another is still in the hospital recovering from steam burns over 70% of his body. That sauna was also set to 110°C. The difference was in that sauna, they poured half a liter of water on the rocks twice a minute, dramatically increasing the humidity. Bottom line is that CSA and UL safety requirements is that all sauna bathers must have access to the controls, and that the maximum time and temperature of the sauna control be 60 minutes and 190F (90C). This is also stated by the electrical codes.

Difference between Sauna & Steam Bath
There is sometimes confusion between the terms ‘steam bath’ and ‘sauna.’ Many people think they refer to the same thing. Not so. Even though they both are hot baths, one uses dry heat while the other uses moist heat.

There is confusion among the vast majority of people in the world. So we would like to help clear up the confusion. While both offer many health benefits there is a major differences. Health benefits include losing weight, cleansing the body of toxins, lowering cholesterol, relieving the symptoms of arthritis and treating respiratory problems like bronchitis and laryngitis. Sounds like a miracle cure, doesn’t it? Some of these claims may be exaggerated, but others may have sound scientific foundations. Let’s take a closer look

The sauna has very low humidity. This means it can be much hotter than a steam bath. Saunas are usually between 80°C and 100°C while a steam bath is usually about 40°C. If the steam bath was any hotter than this it could scald the skin, but the dry heat of the sauna is safe.

Saunas are heated with stones placed on some kind of heater — usually electric or wood-burning. From time to time, water is poured on the stones that produce a thick cloud of steam. This has the effect of raising the temperature in the sauna by several degrees, but the steam quickly dissipates.

A steam generator, on the other hand, heats steam baths. The steam is fed into the almost airtight room where it builds up to create humidity level of around 100%.

The different type of heat determines the type of materials that each can be made of. Saunas are usually wood-lined and have wooden benches to sit on. They are insulated to retain the heat but there is no concern about moisture damage to the outside structure.

Steam baths need to be made to contain the moisture created by the steam. They are usually finished in ceramic tile and the ceiling must be slanted so that the steam buildup does not drip from the ceiling onto the bathers.

Advantages / Disadvantages
Both have therapeutic benefits. They are good for blood circulation and can cleanse and rejuvenate the skin through heavy perspiration. They are good for easing muscle tension and promoting feelings of relaxation and well-being.

Some people find the dry heat of the sauna to be uncomfortable to breathe. Those with respiratory problems like sinus congestion and asthma may prefer the moist heat of the steam bath. Steam inhalation is often used for treating bronchitis, sinusitis and allergies so people with these conditions may benefit from steam baths.

If you are thinking of installing either in your home, there are several considerations to keep in mind. Generally speaking, saunas are easier to build and require less material and labor than a steam bath. You can buy self-enclosed steam baths, however, which can be easily installed in any bathroom. These cut down on construction and installation costs.

Both types of bath can be installed in a small space. Pre-built saunas can be placed in a bedroom or basement and can be put together in less than half an hour. Steam bath enclosures are usually installed in a bathroom and require the services of a plumber to connect the steam generator.

If you plan on converting an existing bathroom into a steam bath, all the walls and ceilings of the bathroom must be finished with a material like ceramic tile to prevent moisture from escaping. The room has to be airtight with only a small opening at the bottom of the door to allow a fresh air intake.

Maintenance
Both require relatively little maintenance. The steam bath simply needs to be washed with a ceramic tile cleaner once a week or so, and the sauna can be vacuumed or swept out occasionally. The natural wood of the sauna can become stained after a while, but the stains can be removed with light sanding or by washing the wood with an acidic solution.

Authored by: William McNutt

A steam bath and sauna are basically alike, they both make you sweat, but there are some subtle differences, most notably the atmospheric conditions.

The sauna has very low humidity which means it can be much hotter than a steam bath. Saunas are usually between 176°F (80°C) and 212°F (100°C) with low humidity +/-10%, while a steam bath is usually around 104°F (40°C) to 116°F (46°C) with a relative humidity of around 100%. If it would be any hotter in a steam bath it would feel too hot or even scald your skin. The dry heat of the sauna makes that the high temperature is not only safe but also quiet pleasurable seeing its popularity.

Should I Use a Ventilation System in My Sauna?
Your home sauna is going to be your haven of peace and relaxation. Building one should be a goal of everyone who is living a relatively stressful life. But as one proceeds to construct their dream sauna a very important question arises. Should I use a ventilation system in my sauna?

Ventilation is the simple process of providing fresh air in a room. It is especially needed in an enclosed space to remove stale or a rather noxious air. This is used mainly for airing purposes. And a sauna is going to need one.

To ensure that your home sauna will be in its tip top condition all the time, efficient ventilation is required. It really does not matter if your home sauna is a wet steam room or if it uses dry infrared heat. A ventilation system is definitely vital, because it would allow complete air exchange by the hour, every hour.

Fresh air is imperative in a sauna. In reality, leaving an open space at the bottom of the door should be enough to qualify as a ventilation system. The open space can be as little as a fourth of an inch. That would be enough to provide the room with fresh recycling air. With a crack just that big, a comfortable sauna session is already in place.

A ventilation system is not only prepared to achieve comfort inside the sauna. It is also built so as to encourage safety for the people who have it. The extreme heat produced inside the sauna would cause the floors, the walls and the ceiling to be very hot. This condition would further dry out the wall panels. And that could turn the whole place into a potential fire hazard instantly. If you wanted to keep fire out, you sure have to install a good and working ventilation system.

And besides, without proper ventilation, the oxygen content inside the room will be reduced. You know what happens to a person losing oxygen. He may begin to feel lethargic and it can even be fatal.

The ideal ventilation system should be installed on a wall just behind the sauna room heater. It should be placed several inches above the floor too. Its outlet must be on the opposite wall preferably near the ceiling. This set up would surely make your home sauna fresh anytime you intend to use it.

Ventilation is definitely another element to consider when thinking of building your home sauna. It could actually complete the whole set up for you. It is important that you make your sauna comfortable enough for the users. And it is also crucial to make it very safe to top all reasons. Do not install a home sauna without a ventilation system. Get the best system you can to ensure you of optimum performance and peace of mind.

There are some important safety issues to be aware of before you rush to a health spa. Temperatures can be very high in saunas. Only go in if you can comfortably cope, and though the suggested session is usually between ten and twenty minutes, leave if you are starting to feel ill or too hot. Also, make sure you are well hydrated before, during and after. Finally, because saunas and steam rooms increase the heart rate if you have any blood pressure, heart issues or are pregnant, you may want to get a medical opinion before using them.


The 5 Benefits of Saunas & Steam Rooms

If you are a regular visitor here, you may have noticed that I have often recommended using saunas and steam rooms to help improve your fitness. Throughout history they have been used to improve a person’s health and wellbeing. However, what exactly are the benefits of saunas and steam rooms? What effects do they have? How can they help? Below I’ve listed my experiences.

1They cleanse the skin. The heat opens the pores allowing all the dirt and grease to come out. Sweating also helps flush out any toxins and the increased blood flow promotes the healing of any skin cuts, sun burn etc. This makes saunas great as part of a detoxing program.

2It decreases your chances of catching cold and flu as your increased body temperature tricks it into thinking you have a fever which in turn stimulates your internal organs, especially the immune system.

3The heart rate increases from the temperature of a sauna or steam room which can be the equivalent of doing physical activity like taking a brisk walk. They can also help with weight loss as you can burn several hundred calories per session. However, they are not replacements for actual physical activity. Combine it with a healthy regime for the full benefit.

4Steam rooms in particular are great for respiratory problems. The steam and warm air loosens all that nasty mucous from the lungs and throat, as well as relieving any inflammation and swelling.

5They can be very good for relaxing after a hard day at work, and loosening muscles after physical exercise. This makes them ideal for reducing stress and recharging the body.