T he traditional sauna and its benefits are well renowned, yet the inconveniences it brings (high heat inside the room, the need to fuel the heater, etc.) soon got its fans to switch to an infrared model. Indubitably, it is easier to sit 15 minutes in a room that doesn’t need to reach 170 degrees to make you sweat. Instead, what most people were amazed to find out is that even the best infrared sauna doesn’t heat more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and this is because the technology is different. More precisely, these models direct the heat to your body, the FAR infrared radiation penetrating the skin and warming the muscles, so only 20% of the heat goes into the air.
Saunas that use IR technology are considered safer due to the small temperatures, yet there are still some categories of people who should use them with care or even avoid them. Below, we present the situations in which it would be better to choose an alternative to the sauna.
One nice feature IR sauna has is its short heating time. In most cases, you just turn it on, wait 5 minutes, and you are ready to step in. In a minute, you will feel the warmth entering your body from all sides, and it is a great idea to wear as fewer clothes as possible since they can block some of the heat. During the session, the following changes take place in your body:
While most people can just step in and enjoy an invigorating sauna session, in some specific cases the doctor’s advice is required. Here are the categories that should avoid sauna treatment or reduce their exposure to the minimum:
If you have ruled out the aspects we have mentioned above and decided that you will enjoy a nice sauna session at the SPA or at home in your portable sauna, here are some additional guidelines of what you should avoid doing just before. By following them, you will not only be able to enjoy the therapy to its fullest, but you will avoid getting sick during or after it.
Mixing alcohol with heat is a bad idea, according to this clinical trial published in the Annals of Clinical Research. If you have a big quantity of alcohol in your blood when entering the sauna, your body may not be able to maintain a stable blood pressure, which can lead to you fainting or developing arrhythmia. In rare cases, heart attacks were recorded. The risk is real, so if you have been partying hard, it is better to go to sleep.
The explanation is simple: after you have eaten, your body is directing a lot of its efforts toward digesting your food, but when you are in the sauna with your internal temperature on the rise, your body needs to direct some of its energy to keep you cool. The result? Your digestion is affected, and you may end up with stomach cramps and dizziness. If you have just had a big meal, make sure to leave at least 2 hours between it and the sauna session.
If you are planning on relaxing in the sauna right after running a marathon (or simply going to the gym), this may not be the best idea. Your body is already overheated, and you have lost water. Let your body cool off and drink a lot of water to restore the balance. Alkaline water is considered to have the best hydration properties, so it can help you prepare for the sauna faster. However, if you experience dizziness or nausea, which are associated with severe dehydration, move your sauna moment to another day.
Heat therapy has a lot of benefits and is the only way some people get relief from pain caused by certain conditions. Nevertheless, the sauna increases your internal temperature and triggers a response in your body, so you should treat it with care. Talk to your doctor if you are in one of the situations we have described above and follow our advice of not drinking or eating before exposing your body to heat. Remember to drink a lot of water, which will help keep your body hydrated. Also, if you feel dizzy, too hot, nauseous, have palpitations, or have a headache while you are in the heated room, it is time to get out and cool off.