Saunas have been used since ancient times for purification, health and relaxation purposes. Earlier rocks were heated to create a dry heat environment or water was used along with the heated rocks to create steam. In these modern times infrared heat is used in saunas. It is an intensive heat and you must be cautious to use it properly especially if using it at home or in a gym.
If you have had any joint injury you should not use a sauna for at least forty eight hours or till the swelling has gone down. High heat may increase inflammation at the site of injury and healing will take a longer time. In case of injury it is better to put ice on it and give it rest. Place the injured part at a level higher than rest of the body.
Those suffering from diseases like heart problem or high blood pressure should not use sauna. The heat makes the heart beat faster and is potentially dangerous for these people. Saunas are also not safe for those who are suffering from infections especially of the tissues as many side effects can occur due to sauna use. Those who have diabetes, Parkinson disease, cancer, and multiple sclerosis should also avoid using a sauna.
Certain medicines such as diuretics affect the water ratio in the body by excreting it. Others like beta blockers and barbiturates interfere with the body’s process of producing sweat. Patients who are using these categories of medicines must not visit a sauna for their own safety.
You must drink plenty of water both before and after visiting a sauna. Saunas induce a lot of sweat in a short period due to the heat there. You can get dehydrated if you are not careful. Children and the elderly lose water very quickly so they must be extra cautious.
If dehydration is ignored or left untreated, then serious consequences like heat stroke develop. The body gets exhausted by heat and is unable to cool itself. Prolonged exposure to heat causes this reaction. It can prove to be fatal. The person begins to feel dizzy and nauseous, gets a headache and his heart begins to beat fast and he may faint. If you are at all uncomfortable or get any of the above symptoms, come out of the sauna immediately.
If you have any doubts consult a doctor before you visit a sauna.