Escape from heart warming | Source Weekly
aWith the arrival of winter, bringing with it cold winds and snow, there is nothing better than finding creative ways to keep warm. One of the best ways to get hot and beat the winter blues is to enjoy a hot sauna!
The word “sauna” comes from the Finnish language and means “bath”. (Fun fact: “Sauna” is the only word in the English dictionary that goes back to Finnish) The colloquial spread of the word “sauna” around the world now refers to any similar structure that heats the air space and causes profuse sweating.
Although Finland is by no means the only country in the world with a hot bath system designed for sweating and purification, its sauna tradition dates back thousands of years and is a central landmark of its culture.
Saunas were once considered sacred places, like temples, where loud noise, alcohol and violence were strictly prohibited. The sauna space was so peaceful and reverent that even Finnish women gave birth in it!
Although Bend is miles away from Finland, we share a similar cold winter climate which creates the perfect conditions for enjoying a hot sauna. Finns have been known to jump out of their saunas and roll in the snow to have a good time, which is something the braver among us here in Central Oregon can try too!
There are different types of saunas, each with strengths and potential drawbacks. While traditional Finnish-style saunas use wood-burning fires to actually heat the air to approximately 185 degrees Fahrenheit, modern infrared saunas use infrared light to penetrate the skin and directly heat the body’s core temperature.
This makes infrared saunas cheaper to build and easier to operate, because they require less heat than traditional wood-burning saunas. Overall, both methods offer potential health benefits to users.
On a personal level, many people who visit a sauna regularly report an increased sense of peace, relaxation, and better sleep. Sweating simply feels good!
From a more objective point of view, it is a scientific fact that saunas will increase your heart rate and circulation, creating a type of positive stress on the body similar to exercise.
According to Harvard Health Publications, “The average person will pour a pint of sweat during a short stint in a sauna. The pulse rate jumps by 30% or more, allowing the heart to nearly double the amount of blood it pumps every minute.”
Local gyms and recreation centers, such as Juniper Swim and Fitness and Bend Athletic Club, have saunas available to visitors, as do some local spas. However, to truly enjoy the benefits of a sauna, consider investing in a home sauna that your entire family can enjoy in your own backyard.
The average person will shed a pint of sweat during a short period in a sauna.
Relatively inexpensive infrared sauna rooms and tents costing $300-$2,000 are available online from Amazon and other websites to be shipped directly to your door and placed either outside or indoors. They usually fit one or two people at a time, and are a great choice for sauna beginners.
Otherwise, if you have enough budget and are feeling ambitious, you can invest in building a custom home that includes the traditional elements of Finnish-style saunas, such as antimicrobial cedar and large wood-burning stoves.
Sauna plans can be downloaded online from websites such as Superior Sauna & Steam. If you’re proficient with a hammer and have some prior construction experience, you can build the sauna yourself or with a team of friends. Otherwise, a reputable local contractor can build it for you based on your preferred plan.
It is important to go slow when you first start using a sauna. Set the sauna to a lower temperature and start with short sessions lasting 10 to 15 minutes, and take breaks if you feel dizzy or dizzy. Gradually increase the heat and length of the sauna to a maximum of 30 minutes as your body adjusts.
Also be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your sauna session to prevent dehydration and to maximize the effects of the complete detox. It’s also good etiquette when using a public sauna to bring a clean towel to sit on and sweat on and a second towel to dry off when you’re done.
While sauna bathing is usually safe for healthy adults, consult your healthcare practitioner before starting any new fitness regimen, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking any prescription medications, or have any specific health concerns.
Opinions also vary on whether or not children should be included in family sauna time. Young children cannot regulate core body temperature in the same way as adults, and are more likely to suffer from heat exhaustion and dehydration.
Short periods of a few minutes in a lightly heated sauna are likely fine for most children, as long as parents watch them carefully for any signs of distress, but young children should never be left alone in a sauna without adult supervision. Finns typically allow their children to sauna alone around age seven or eight, but American families may want to extend this supervised time into their tweens or teens.
Whatever your family decides, sauna bathing can be a great way to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits this winter while avoiding the cold!
(tags for translation)Bend Oregon News