Hardworking moms just like you need to relax once in a while. When you think of relaxation, perhaps you imagine the spa. Many spas nowadays offer more than just massages; they also offer treatments like sauna and steam. These facilities use wet and/or dry heat that causes the body to perspire and release toxins. Bathing in sauna and steam is also a great way to relax the muscles and the mind, as well as improve blood circulation and refresh the skin cells. But if you have no experience with sauna and steam before, you must take important safety measures before starting up. Here are some tips on how to use a sauna and steam bath properly:
1. Make sure you are qualified to use the facility
Sauna baths are not for everyone. If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant, don’t step in a sauna bath as high temperatures can harm the fetus. Sauna baths are also not advisable for children since their skin is still sensitive and may have lesser tolerance to heat. Those who suffer from heart disease, high or low blood pressure, circulatory problems, diabetes or any health condition must consult a physician first before trying the sauna.
2. Drink water before the bathing session
In a steam or sauna bath, you will lose a lot of body water through perspiration. It’s best to drink 1-2 glasses of water, any sports drink with electrolytes, or natural tea before bathing to avoid dehydration. Do not drink alcohol or coffee before steaming because it can cause drowsiness while you’re in there. You should also refrain from eating before entering the room, and you must wait at least an hour after a major meal before going into the steam room. It is because blood circulation changes when you’re subjected to heat, which can affect digestion.
Before you enter a steam or sauna room, cleanse your body through a shower to remove any dirt, oils, makeup, chemicals, perfumes and antiperspirants that are on your skin or hair. If there are chemicals left, the scents – when combined with the heat – can negatively affect other people in the sauna room with you, and the chemicals can travel into your bloodstream through your sweat. Dry yourself with a towel after, because if you leave a film of water in your body, it can slow down the heating process.
4. Wear less (or nothing at all)
In a sauna bath, less is more. Change out of your clothes – even your underwear – into something that you’ll wear dedicatedly for the sauna. You can wear a towel or a swimsuit on the sauna, depending on the spa policy of your personal preferences. Just remember high temperatures combines with the body can affect the color and stretchiness of your garment, so if you choose to wear a swimsuit, wear an older one. Bring rubber flip-flops or sandals to protect your bare feet, and a towel to protect the skin as you sit in the hot seating area. Avoid swimsuits with metal pieces like the zipper as these can burn your body when it heats up. Take off all your jewelry, glasses and contact lenses before taking the sauna. However, wearing nothing but a towel or a bathrobe is the best choice of all.
5. Dry heat yourself
Let the sauna reach your desired temperature before you step inside. Most sauna rooms are heated at a standard of 165 °F in around 30 minutes and 190 °F in an hour. But you can start around 150 °F. Step inside between 5-15 minutes to immerse yourself in the heat. If you feel like you can’t tolerate the heat, you can ask a spa employee to lower the temperature. If you’re beginning to feel faint, nauseated or palpitating, exit the room immediately.
6. Cool down
After sitting in your sauna, go out for a bit and bring your temperature back down. When you leave the room, you can feel the warmth throughout your body and have sweat pouring out of your skin. You can either wrap yourself in a new towel or robe, taking a shower or going for a dip in the pool. Just make sure that you spend 10-15 minutes letting your body adjust to the cooler temperature before going to the pool or shower so as not to shock your body.
7. Go back to the sauna
One trip to the heat is never enough. Get back for your “wet” sauna round – this time, make use of the bucket of water and ladle provided. Sprinkle some water over the sauna stones to create steam, then let the humidity disperse.
8. Cool down again and rest
After 10-15 minutes, cool down again to equalize your body temperature. You can drink water, get a body scrub or massage, or simply sit in the lounge area of the spa.
You may want to go back to the sauna room again for a third round if you want. For most people, two to three rounds are enough, but you can repeat it as often as you like. Just be mindful of your comfort zone and listen to your body. Don’t stay in the sauna room for too long, and continue to rehydrate before, during and after the sauna process.
10. Finish up
After your final round in the sauna, you should take more time for the cool down. Let your sweating stop. You may take a cool shower to help your pores close, or a full shower with soap and shampoo if you want to be fresh and fragrant before you dress up again. And that’s how you do a sauna bath.