One of my absolute favorite things about growing up here in Colorado was whenever we went up to stay in the mountains at the condo my family owned, we always got to go to the indoor pool that also had a dry sauna. Naturally, my favorite part as a child was the pool, but as I got older, I began to favor the dry sauna more and more due to its great health benefits. My dad decided that he really wanted easy access to a sauna, and ended up building one down in the mechanical room of our basement. I honestly believe that was one of the best decisions we could’ve made as a family. I remember being extremely excited, and couldn’t wait for my dad and brother to finish it. I could finally get my great health benefits of using a dry sauna back! Saunas were also a huge part of my dad’s life growing up whenever he went back to visit family in North Dakota; it more than likely has to do with the fact that my dad’s side of the family are all Norwegians. So, it didn’t come as a surprise when my dad’s side of the family came over to stay with us a few summers back, and used the sauna as if it were going out of style. I, just like my family, love dry saunas, and there are some great health benefits that come with using one.
1. Pain and Sore Muscles
Taking a dry sauna can really help you out after a tough workout. This great health benefit can aid in loosening up tight or sore muscles due to the high temperature inside. I recommend sitting in a dry sauna for at least 20 to 30 minutes to feel the full benefit that it can have on your muscles. And trust me when I say, that you’ll feel tons better as soon as you step out. I would always use my sauna to help with any soreness that I experienced after working out when I lived with with my parents during my college years; hey, it’s a lot cheaper if you live with your folks, plus, I didn’t mind it. I would lay down on the top bench, and let the high heat do its work. At times, I could literally feel the soreness and tension leave my body, and I always felt so rejuvenated afterward. Sometimes I’d find it quite difficult to leave the sauna, as I just wanted to stay in there forever. Dry saunas aren’t only good for muscle soreness, but can help you with pain as well. I’m talking about physical injuries here, but make sure you don’t have any open wounds before going into a dry sauna! I’ve had a bum ankle for years now, and whenever it flared up and got super painful after working a long retail shift, I’d always go down into the sauna to help ease the pain. It’d usually do the trick for me, and by the next day, my ankle would be feeling so much better with virtually no pain. Dry saunas are a true blessing when it comes down to dealing with muscle soreness and pain.
2. Great Way to Detox
Another great health benefit of taking a dry sauna is that your body now has a chance to detox itself. By detox I mean that your body can sweat out any impurities that are present. As humans we all have toxins in our bodies from the food we eat to the products we use; this is especially prevalent in the United States. Sitting in a dry sauna for at least 30 minutes, and building up the temperature in our bodies can help in getting rid of toxins through sweating. The best way to truly detox your body while in a dry sauna is to get your body temperature high enough, then quickly jump out into a cold shower, or cold water/snow if you’re in an outdoor sauna, and hurry right back into the hot sauna. The shock of the temperature change will cause your body to just start pouring out sweat, and I know it sounds super gross, but it is so good for you! I do this every now-and-then when I go back over to use my parent’s dry sauna, especially if I’ve recently traveled somewhere. Because whenever I go on vacation, I usually tend to eat very poorly, and don’t exercise as often as I would at home. Your body will thank you after a good detox, but always remember to drink plenty of water to replenish yourself. Got to get rid of those toxins somehow, and using a dry sauna to do so is one of the best and healthiest ways!
3. Help with Cold and Flu
This is actually the main reason my dad built the dry sauna in the first place. It was my sophomore year of college, and I was living in downtown Denver, unfortunately, I got very sick with Mono in December, and then I got it again at the end of May. I’ll tell you right now that having Mono twice in the same year absolutely sucks! I’m so thankful that he went through with building the sauna, and I felt like I got better that much faster after daily use for about a week or so. Every time since having that second bout of Mono, I would always take a sauna whenever I felt a cold or the like coming on. For this reason, taking a dry sauna is a great health benefit that can very well help you in battling your cold or flu by sweating it out. Plus, you just feel so cozy inside the sauna, and nothing feels better when you’re just starting to come down with something than sitting in a hot room, especially during the winter months. It’s so simple to just lay down on one of the benches, and use your towel as a head support; it’s truly one of the most relaxing ways to enjoy a dry sauna. So, the next time you feel a cold or something along those lines coming on, definitely try and take a dry sauna with a towel over your head. The towel will help you to sweat that much more, and can aid in helping you to breath a bit better. With a dry sauna, you’ll be on the road to recovery in no time!
4. Aid with Allergies
If you’re like me, and find yourself constantly plagued be year round allergies, one of the best solutions to combatting the annoyingness that comes with them is to hop in a dry sauna! This great health benefit offers a natural way in treating allergies without having to take allergy medication. I stopped taking allergy meds a couple years back, and took a more natural path in treating my allergies, which included taking a dry sauna as often as I could. By doing so, it cleared up my nasal passages, especially when I would add some water to the rocks to create a nice hot steam. This is true if you suffer from bad congestion; the steam will aid in opening up your airways, and help you to breath better. Taking a dry sauna can also help your breathing if you have asthma! I do also highly recommend using an essential oil while you’re in the sauna (just be sure if it’s a public sauna that it’s ok with the staff). My favorite one to use for those days where my allergies are just beyond horrible is eucalyptus, as it helps in reducing inflammation in my nasal passages. I usually just put a few drops either in the water bucket, and pour some water over the rocks, or right onto the rocks themselves. You can have a most lovely recess from your allergies when you take a dry sauna.
5. Stress and Anxiety
Unfortunately, many of us in the world suffer from the woes of stress and anxiety, and I found that one of the best ways to help cope with those awful feelings is by taking a sauna. This great health benefit helps in promoting feelings of relaxation, and can aid in melting the major stress of the day away. While taking a sauna, you can also use deep breathing techniques to aid in calming down your mind, while simultaneously releasing the tension from your body. If the dry sauna is large enough, try some light stretching as well to help your body let go of your stress. I find that leaning up against one of the walls, with your eyes closed while breathing deeply, helps to clear your mind of anything that may be making you feel anxious. Also, I do recommend using essential oils when you’re trying to unwind; particularly, lavender. Lavender is one of the best scents that you can use to help calm the mind. I remember using my sauna religiously the spring semester of my junior year because I had all journalism and history courses, which entailed much writing, not to mention studying. I was so overwhelmed during most of the time of that semester that I took as many trips down to the sauna as I could. I can honestly say that it did help my mental state greatly, and made it so I could focus on my work. If you’re one of those people who do suffer from stress and anxiety, and don’t want to turn to medications, then taking a dry sauna often can considerably benefit you in the long run.