Saunas have been used for a long time both as a means for relaxation and to improve health. In a sauna volcanic rocks are heated to create a hot and dry environment. This is called a dry sauna and is beneficial in relieving pain and eliminating toxins. In a wet sauna steam is created by using water. They are useful for relaxation and inducing weight loss.
Dry sauna works in two ways:
As a result of high heat, the peripheral blood vessels dilate. This causes an increased blood flow to all parts of the body which include various organs, muscles. Arms and legs are the places where maximum pain is felt due to arthritis, sprain and stress. When more blood moves to these areas, it relieves pain.
The kidneys are also activated by the heat. They are the primary organs which eliminate waste from the body. Metals such as mercury and nickel are changed from solid form to liquid form by the kidneys. These are then removed either through urine or through the pores of the body in the form of perspiration.
Wet saunas are used for the purpose of weight loss and relaxation in the following ways:
A wet sauna makes your heart beat faster and raises the body temperature making you sweat profusely. This is equivalent to the way you sweat after strenuous exercise. Along with this if you eat a healthy diet you will lose weight. This will have to be done over a period of time at a stretch.
After exercise or game your joints and muscles get tired and tense. Your muscles relax in a wet sauna as they slowly stretch. Your joints also tend to loosen. Aches and pains are thus reduced.
The atmosphere in both types of saunas is soothing and peaceful, so the mind also relaxes.
Some precautions need to be kept in mind. They are:
- Do not drink alcohol or use drugs when using a sauna as they over heat your body.
- Do not remain in a sauna for more than twenty minutes.
- If you have a heart problem, then consult a doctor before going into a sauna. The heat may cause additional stress to your heart by making it beat faster.
- Drink plenty of water after visiting a sauna to replace the water excreted as perspiration.