The benefits of home saunas
PUBLISHED: 11:56 21 October 2014 | UPDATED: 17:11 21 May 2015
GC Spas and Sauna, part of a family firm who have been selling saunas in Barnstaple, North Devon for over 30 years, looks at the benefits of sauna bathing.
With a history going back over a thousand years, the sauna is one of the longest established natural remedies for all the aches and pains, stresses and strains that seem to accumulate in your life.
Sauna bathing has a well-proven heritage regarding its ability to promote good health and well-being but it’s no surprise that the sauna itself has continually evolved to fit in with people’s changing lifestyles.
A modern, Tylö sauna is a beautifully designed piece of bathroom furniture in wood, glass and metal. Tylö have also led the latest developments in Soft Sauna and in combining steam showers and steam bathing with the traditional sauna.
A traditional sauna is a hotter and drier heat, somewhere between 80°C and 100°C with about 20% humidity. A steam room or steam shower is cooler at 35°C to 45°C but has almost 100% humidity. A Soft Sauna sits between the two in terms of both temperature and humidity.
The home sauna is no longer found hiding in the garage or the basement or exiled to the garden in its own cabin. The sauna is taking pride of place in luxurious bathroom installations in homes all over Devon.
But there is still an air of mystery about the sauna so we’ve put together a list of questions that people most often ask about this wonderfully relaxing and health-giving pastime.
How long should I stay in a sauna for?
If you are new to saunas then you should take a little time to get your body used to the experience. Your first sauna session should be only about 10 minutes and you should sit on one of the lower benches where it will be a little cooler. (Saunas usually have two sets of benches, one higher and therefore hotter than the other so that people who enjoy slightly different temperatures can bathe together.) When the 10 minutes is up, get out and take a cool shower before returning for another 10 minutes.
As you become accustomed to using saunas you can extend these sessions to 15 minutes and perhaps return to the sauna three times before taking a final shower.
Both Soft Sauna and steam bathing are cooler and, of course, much more humid, so it is easier for your body to get used to the experience but the above times still represent a good guide to how long you should bathe for.
Should I take a sauna before or after exercise?
Many people enjoy including a sauna or steam bathing session with some form of exercise. That might be after a workout at the gym, after a game of golf or tennis or even after a good long walk or even an hours gardening.
Taking a sauna before exercising will certainly loosen your muscles and raise your metabolism but it can also relax you that bit too much.
If you take a sauna after you have exercised, the heat will keep your metabolism raised. It will help you sweat out any toxins in your body including lactic acid from your muscles and it will help guard against any aches and pains on the following day.
The other benefit is that a sauna will help you relax and so, if you have already done your exercise, then after the sauna you will be able to sit back and enjoy the warm, soporific glow that floods through your body.
How do I get the best from my steam room or steam shower?
Steam and sauna bathing are very similar, the obvious difference being that steam is much more humid and rather cooler.
What that can mean is that steam bathing is particularly beneficial in easing the symptoms of asthma, bronchitis and similar, breathing related conditions.
It is also perhaps true that many women enjoy the luxuriousness of clouds of swirling steam a little more than the fiercer heat of the sauna.
To get the best from a steam bathing session you should make sure that you have enough time to fully relax and you won’t have any interruptions – so turn that phone off!
Drink a glass of water to make sure that you are fully hydrated and then take a shower to get rid of surface dirt and oils and make the detoxifying process of the steam bathing more efficient.
A 10 to 15 minute session should be sufficient. You might want to take a cooler or even cold shower and then go back for a similar length of time. The change from heat to cold increases the benefits on your circulation.
After your steam bathing session you should take another drink and relax in some loose clothing to let your body cool down.
How much does it cost to run a sauna or steam room?
Both your home sauna and your home steam shower cost very little to run.
Neither uses any chemicals and a steam shower uses very little water. It doesn’t take much water to generate a lot of steam.
An hour’s sauna bathing will cost you somewhere between £1.50 and £2.00. A steam shower’s running costs are about the same.
Neither sauna nor steam room need much maintenance other than being kept clean. The sauna heater or the steam generator should have a service visit every couple of years but both are very simple and there is very little to go wrong.
What are the health benefits of sauna?
A sauna can help relieve stress. Saunas will flush toxins out of your system and it will ease aches and pains in muscles and joints and can help ease the symptoms of arthritis.
Saunas will help keep your cardiovascular system healthy and it will help you fight illness and boost your immune system. They will also help you sleep better and there is some research that suggests it can help with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
Saunas can help ease menstrual cramps and it can also be beneficial to women during the menopause.
Steam rooms and steam showers are particularly helpful to people who suffer from some breathing disorders.
Both sauna and steam bathing will make you look healthier giving your skin a clean and fresh glow.
What more do I need to know?
Your sauna or steam room will soon prove to be a great investment in your well being and in your lifestyle.
We have a range of sauna and steam rooms at our showroom in Barnstaple on the Roundswell Commercial Park and our staff will be happy to answer your questions and advise you on the particular one that will suit you best.
Or, if you want to know a little more about us first, take a look at our website www.gcspas.co.uk