2017.06.19 - Which sauna type shall I choose?
Which sauna type shall I choose?
Those who like to try all the services of thermal spas and wellness hotels can easily find themselves in a situation, where they can’t decide which sauna type to choose from the many which are available? Is it alright to try more types of sauna or not? Let’s take a closer look at the many opportunities and talk about what they can offer.
In general we can say about all sauna types that their most important effect is heating the surface of our body, by this making us sweat, starting a secretion, cleansing and detoxification process, making the circulation of blood and lymph faster. Having a sauna – that involves cooling down in a diving pool or in the air – strengthens the immune system and the heart, relaxes the muscles and reduces stress. It is very important that one must drink enough while being in the sauna, in order to compensate for the water and minerals that we lose because of the intense sweating, and it is also crucial to calculate with the fact that only a certain amount of time, neither more nor less than we need, should be spent in the sauna.
Classic Finnish sauna
The most well-known and widely used sauna type is the Finnish sauna. In most cases the stove is electric, the walls are covered with wooden panels, the temperature inside is about 80°C and the humidity level is around 30%. When the humidity level increases, the temperature feels higher, while the body perspires less and loses less water. So we need to put water on the stove if we don’t want our body to lose a lot of water. The recommended sauna time is maximum 15 minutes, which must be followed by a cooling bath or taking a cold shower. If we don’t feel like diving into the cold water, let’s just not do it because losing temperature rapidly can be dangerous, but taking a cold shower is a must because the toxins that have been released through sweat have to be removed from our skin.
Sauna’s effect also depends on how many times we return to the cabin.
If we only do 1-2 rounds, the sauna refreshes us – we should choose this option when we are ahead of performing some kind of task, for instance very often it is athletes who have a sauna to warm up their muscles. 3-4 rounds have a relaxing and regenerating effect, which is best after tiring work or having recovered from some kind of illness.
An infrared sauna uses infrared heaters and it doesn’t heat the air inside the cabin, but emits radiant heat which is absorbed by the skin. This means that the infrared sauna works at lower temperature, so it is more pleasant to stay inside. Compared with the classic type, using an infrared sauna shapes the body more and it is also more efficient in relaxing the muscles; by stimulating the flow of lymph, this sauna type works better in shaping the body. It also has a great effect on the skin, thanks to cleansing the pores and regenerating cells.
One sweats about three times more than in a traditional sauna and the infrared sauna’s detoxification potential is 20-60 times bigger than that of the Finnish sauna; what is more, in the sweat there are 3-7 times more non-water type components. Putting it briefly: its effect is similar to the Finnish sauna’s but it is stronger.
The first steam baths appeared in the Mediterranean, while the traditional sauna was invented in the Nordic countries. As a matter of fact, the two cabins have rather similar health effects, the only difference being that the temperature is lower, 40-60°C in the steam bath, while the relative humidity level may reach 80-100%. One is sweating more heavily in a sauna, while the less hot, wet steam makes us sweat slower and more easily. It is worth going into the steam bath cabin when one is in a thermal spa because they can’t be found in private houses, which more and more often have saunas installed.
The tepidariums of baths in the ancient Rome are becoming increasingly popular these days. In these rooms the temperature is between 30°C and 40°C, so the heat is just about the same as the temperature of the human body, therefore we can relax in a tepidarium for hours, having a long conversation without sweating heavily – just like the people in the Roman Empire did it. Those people can also use the tepidarium who for a certain health reason aren’t allowed to profit from the beneficial effects of the sauna.