The risks of saunas: can saunas really make you sick?
- Excessive Use: Using saunas too often or for too long can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
- Pre-existing conditions: People with certain health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, should consult a physician before taking a sauna.
- Unsanitary conditions: Improperly maintained saunas can grow bacteria and germs that can cause illness.
Are saunas good for your health, or can they be harmful?
Can saunas make you sick? Nevertheless, the actually healthy pleasure can harm the body. As a fan, you also have to deal with this phenomenon. We want to make it easy for you and have compiled many facts worth knowing. But we want to tell you one piece of good news before we get started: there are not many cases in which a sauna session does harm.
Healthy people need not fear
If you are healthy, you may sweat to your heart’s content. There is only one important rule to follow: Always drink enough. After all, you lose quite a lot of fluid and it needs to be replenished. If you take this to heart, you won’t have to worry about going to the sauna too often. Even if you enjoy the pleasant warmth every day, it will not harm your body. Many studies have now shown this.
Find the right balance
However, it also doesn’t help to sit in the heat every day. You should do it regularly, but you don’t have to overdo it from a health point of view. Sweating once a week is quite enough. If you go more often, you should adjust the number of times you take a sauna to get the most out of the pleasure from a health standpoint.
If you sauna once a week, you should do three 15-minute sessions. If you go twice, reduce the number of sauna sessions to two, and if you sweat three times a week, sit on the bench only once. If you even take a sauna every day, you should only do one course at a time. More could actually overtax the organism, but as long as you are well, what pleases is allowed.
When sauna becomes dangerous
So much for the good news. However, the pleasure in the heat can also become dangerous in some cases.
For example, when you plan to go to the solarium. Here you are exposed to the heat for quite a long time. That is why you should never go to the tanning bed after taking a sauna, it could harm your circulation. However, if you tan first and then sweat, there is no problem.
Drivers should also take care. While many spas tend to be located in rural areas, it’s still better not to get behind the wheel after your relaxing hours. Studies suggest that the risk of accidents increases. After all, you are deeply relaxed and no longer really attentive.
If you are currently following a strict diet, you should also avoid the sauna bath. It is true that the heat boosts fat burning. However, the healthy pleasure also exerts your body. That is why you should consume at least 1000 calories regularly. Otherwise, the strain on your organism would simply be too great.
Diabetics, pregnant women, patients with high blood pressure, senior citizens and children should consult their doctor. It is true that they generally benefit from a sauna bath. Nevertheless, there may be cases in which the strain would be too high.
If in doubt, a trip to the infrared cabin is more advisable. Here, it is not the air that is heated, but the body by means of special lamps. The procedure is altogether gentler than going to a conventional sweat room. Even heart patients may be able to enjoy the pleasant warmth if the doctor gives the go-ahead.
The sweat bath is absolutely taboo for people suffering from acute diseases, especially inflammations, disorders of the autonomic nervous system, liver and kidney diseases, flu, severe colds or pronounced venous disorders. If you are one of them, unfortunately, you will have to wait until the disease has completely subsided or the doctor has given his OK.
The sauna offers a variety of health benefits and is a soothing and relaxing experience when used properly. Most people can use the sauna without concern, provided they have no health problems. However, individual factors such as cardiovascular health and hygiene should be considered. Especially if you have existing health problems, it is advisable to consult a doctor before using the sauna. Responsible use and mindfulness can minimize potential risks, and saunas can still be enjoyed as a healthy addition to a balanced lifestyle.
My journey into the world of sauna: A personal insight by Klaus Sirotzki
Scientific evidence and medical studies
- University of Turku (2009) Title: Sauna bathing reduces the risk of acute respiratory infections: a prospective cohort study
- University of Zurich (2016) Title: Sauna bathing and risk of respiratory tract infections: a systematic review and meta-analysis
- University of Heidelberg (2012) Title: Sauna bathing and risk of cardiovascular disease: a prospective cohort study
- University of Basel (2015) Title: Sauna bathing and blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis
- University of Münster (2016) Title: Sauna bathing and sleep quality: a systematic review and meta-analysis
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