A dry sauna can be a soothing way to relax or sweat out some stress. Dry saunas are heated rooms that raise the body’s temperature, causing you to sweat and relax. But there are certain things you should be aware of before stepping into the sauna in order to keep yourself safe and healthy.
Avoid Alcohol and Medication
Consuming too much alcohol or taking certain prescription medications may inhibit your body from producing sweat, which can lead to your body overheating, Harvard Medical School reports. Avoid consuming large amounts of alcohol, and check with your doctor about prescription medications you may be taking before you decide to spend any amount of time in a sauna.
Saunas can be dangerous for people suffering from certain chronic diseases as well as people in poor physical condition, such as the obese, according to the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine. Chronic diseases and conditions such as obesity can make it more difficult for the body to regulate its internal temperature, causing the body to overheat and leading to a dangerous increase in core temperature. Talk with your doctor before using a sauna if you suffer from a chronic illness or are in poor physical shape. People with a history of high blood pressure or other heart disease also should be wary before stepping in the sauna, as the high temperatures can cause an accelerated heart rate.
Due to the nature of saunas causing you to sweat, it’s advisable to drink plenty of water before and after your sauna session, Harvard Medical School notes. Drink between two and four glasses of water immediately after you leave the sauna in order to replenish your body’s water supply and prevent dehydration. Too little water in your body’s system can lead to electrolyte imbalance.
Don’t stay in the sauna for an extended period of time. Being in that heat for too long can cause your body temperature to rise to unsafe levels, so limit your session to 15 or 20 minutes at the most. If you begin to feel nauseated, dizzy or otherwise unwell, leave the sauna immediately. These could be signs that your body is overheating, becoming dehydrated or exhausted. Never visit a sauna if you feel sick in any way. Take your time cooling down afterward, and avoid going out into the cold air immediately after leaving the sauna, as rapid changes in temperature can be harmful to your body.
James Patterson specializes in health and wellness topics, having written and produced material for the National Institutes of Health, the President's Cancer Panel and an Inc. 500 Hall of Fame company. He is also a former sportswriter with writing experience in basketball, baseball, softball, golf and other popular sports.