The comprehensive guide to safe saunas: When and how?

Saunas have played an important role in various cultures for centuries. They not only offer relaxation, but also numerous health benefits. However, a considered and responsible approach to saunas is essential in order to take full advantage of these benefits and avoid possible risks.
Health benefits of sauna bathing
© saunazeit

Health benefits of sauna bathing

Immune system and sauna

Regular sauna sessions can strengthen the immune system. The heat stimulates the production of white blood cells and improves the body’s own defenses. This helps to prevent illness and promote general health. In addition, the increased body temperature in the sauna leads to a kind of ‘artificial fever’, which activates the immune response and thus increases the effectiveness of the immune defense.

Relaxation and stress reduction

The sauna is an excellent means of reducing stress and relaxing the muscles. The heat relieves tension and promotes a feeling of calm and well-being. In addition, the calm, warming environment of the sauna helps to calm the nervous system and promote a meditative state that supports mental clarity and inner serenity. The combination of heat and calm also helps to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, which contributes to a better mood and a balanced emotional state.

Skin care and cleansing

Sweating in the sauna opens the pores of the skin, which leads to thorough cleansing and detoxification. This can improve the appearance of the skin and contribute to overall skin health. In addition, the increased blood circulation during a sauna session promotes cell renewal and contributes to firmer, more youthful skin. The combination of heat and moisture in the sauna also supports the skin’s natural oil production, resulting in better hydration and a healthy, glowing complexion.

When is sauna not recommended?

Sauna for fever and colds

It is not advisable to go to the sauna if you have a fever, a cold, or other cold symptoms. The additional stress caused by the heat can further weaken the weakened immune system. The additional increased body temperature in the sauna can lead to undesirable additional stress if you already have a fever, which has a negative effect on the recovery process. In such cases, there is also an increased risk of circulatory overload, which can lead to complications, especially in people with pre-existing health problems.

Pregnancy and sauna

Saunas should be used with caution during pregnancy. Women who used to sauna regularly before pregnancy can generally continue to do so. However, they should exercise particular caution in the first three months and always consult their doctor. Expectant mothers should pay close attention to their body temperature and well-being during sauna sessions to avoid overheating and dehydration. Even after the first trimester, it is advisable to reduce the duration and intensity of sauna visits and limit yourself to shorter, milder sauna sessions to ensure the well-being and safety of both the mother and the unborn child.

Sauna for cardiovascular diseases

People with cardiac arrhythmia or other cardiovascular diseases should seek medical advice before going to the sauna. The extreme heat can put additional strain on the cardiovascular system under certain circumstances. In the case of existing cardiovascular diseases, it may be necessary to adapt sauna habits, such as shorter sauna sessions and lower temperatures, in order to ensure well-being and safety. It is also advisable to allow sufficient time for a gentle cool-down and rest period after the sauna session to avoid abrupt circulatory strain and to support healthy circulatory regulation.

Sauna for asthma and chronic illnesses

The sauna can offer benefits for asthma patients and people with chronic illnesses, as it promotes blood circulation and self-cleansing of the mucous membranes. However, it is recommended to consult a doctor beforehand. For asthma patients and people with chronic illnesses, it is particularly important to monitor the body’s reaction to the sauna closely and to leave the sauna immediately if there are any signs of discomfort or breathing difficulties. You should also start using the sauna gradually to assess how the body reacts to the changing conditions and adjust the load accordingly.

Correct technique and precautions when taking a sauna

  • Preparation: Before entering the sauna, you should shower and cleanse your body thoroughly.
  • Warming up: Start with a mild temperature and gradually increase it.
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water before and after your sauna session to compensate for fluid loss.
  • Sauna duration: Do not stay in the sauna for longer than 8–15 minutes. Pay attention to how your body reacts to the heat.
  • Cooling down: It is important to cool down after a sauna session. A cold shower or a short dip in the cold water pool can be helpful.
  • Rest: Allow yourself a rest period after the sauna session to relax and regenerate your body.

 

David Brunner