It’s official – sauna season is here!! Not only is the cozy warmth of the infrared sauna relaxing, but infrared sauna heat also has many amazing benefits like detoxification, pain relief, heart health, weight loss, and more. Learn more about the benefits of infrared sauna HERE.
We’ve got three hot tips to help you get the most benefits out of your sauna sessions this fall.
1. Hydrate to Help Detoxification
Hydration and detoxification are closely intertwined in the context of infrared sauna sessions. Hydration is essential for sweating, which is one of your body’s natural detox mechanisms. When you sweat in the sauna, some of the toxins released come out in your sweat and the remainder are pulled into your blood stream where your stimulated circulation system efficiently clears them from your body. This is why it’s really important to drink lots of water during and after your sauna session.
To prepare for a sauna session, it’s advisable to drink a glass of water or a hydrating beverage about 30 minutes to an hour before you start. This ensures that you’re adequately hydrated when you enter the sauna.
After your sauna session, rehydration is essential to replace the fluids lost through sweating. Opt for water, herbal teas, or electrolyte-rich drinks to replenish your body’s fluid balance. Consuming fruits and vegetables with high water content, like watermelon and cucumbers, can also aid in rehydration.
Want to know more about sauna and detoxification? We’ve got a great blog post that explains sauna and detox. Check it out HERE.
2. Balance Your Electrolytes
Electrolytes are essential minerals that help regulate various physiological processes in your body, including nerve function, muscle contractions, and maintaining proper fluid balance. Common electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, and phosphate.
It’s important to recognize that the loss of electrolytes through sweating is a natural and necessary process. However, excessive sweating without proper replenishment of fluids and electrolytes can lead to dehydration, muscle cramps, weakness, and even heat-related illnesses.
Maintaining the right balance of electrolytes is critical for overall health, and it becomes especially important after sweating, as sweat is one of the ways the body loses these minerals.
Yes, you can get electrolytes through popular sports drinks. However, choose these carefully as some are full of sugar and other chemicals that aren’t helpful. You can obtain these electrolytes from a variety of foods like the following examples:
- Table salt (sodium chloride)
- Pickles and pickled vegetables
- Oranges and orange juice
- Potatoes (especially sweet potatoes)
- Spinach and other leafy greens
- Beans and lentils
- Tomatoes and tomato products (e.g., tomato sauce)
- Dairy products (e.g., milk, yogurt, cheese)
- Leafy greens (e.g., kale, collard greens, bok choy)
- Fortified plant-based milk alternatives (e.g., almond milk, soy milk)
- Canned fish with bones (e.g., salmon, sardines)
- Nuts and seeds (e.g., almonds, pumpkin seeds)
- Leafy greens (e.g., spinach, Swiss chard)
- Whole grains (e.g., brown rice, oats)
- Legumes (e.g., beans, lentils)
- Dark chocolate (in moderation)
- Table salt (sodium chloride) also provides chloride
- Seaweed and sea vegetables
- Chloride is often found alongside sodium in various foods
- Dairy products
- Meat and poultry
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
While it’s essential to consume foods rich in electrolytes, excessive intake of certain electrolytes (e.g., sodium) can lead to health issues like high blood pressure. Therefore, it’s wise to maintain a balanced diet and be mindful of your electrolyte intake, especially if you have specific dietary or medical concerns.
3. Embrace Contrasts with Cold Showers
One of the most effective ways to enhance your sauna experience is by incorporating cold showers intermittently. We have a shower in our sauna that is perfect for this. After spending a few minutes in the sauna, step out and take a cold shower. The sudden change in temperature can provide numerous benefits:
a. Improved Circulation: Alternating between hot and cold stimulates blood flow, promoting better circulation throughout your body. This can help reduce muscle tension and improve recovery.
b. Enhanced Endorphin Release: Cold exposure triggers the release of endorphins, which can boost your mood and reduce stress.
c. Revitalized Skin: The contrast between hot and cold can help improve the appearance of your skin by tightening pores and increasing skin elasticity.
d. Increased Metabolism: This thermal contrast can also boost your metabolism temporarily, helping with weight management.
Remember to keep the cold showers brief, lasting only 30 seconds to a minute, and always finish with a cold shower to close your pores.
By following these three tips, you can elevate your sauna experience, promote relaxation, and reap the full spectrum of health benefits that saunas have to offer. So, the next time you step into the sauna, be sure to stay hydrated, re-hydrate carefully, and embrace the invigorating contrasts of heat and cold for a truly refreshing and rejuvenating experience.