Did you know that in 2021, the United States spa and wellness industry generated $18.1 billion in revenue? That’s a staggering 49% increase from the previous year’s $12.1 billion. The number of spa visits also increased in 2021 to 173 million from 124 million in 2021.
Saunas, in turn, are among the most popular body rejuvenation services offered by spas. After all, they provide a means to relax and unwind, which are both necessary for optimal health.
Interestingly, many sauna myths still exist despite their use dating back to around 2000 B.C.
To that end, we created this guide on the most common misconceptions about saunas. Read on to discover what they are and the truth behind them.
Saunas Are Just Luxurious Ways to Sweat
Home Saunas indeed make you sweat; after all, these rooms are hot, with temperatures ranging from 150°F to 195°F (65°C to 90°C). The body, in turn, usually starts to sweat once its internal temperature exceeds 98.6ºF (37ºC). It does so to ensure it remains comfortable and doesn’t overheat.
It’s what happens to your body as you sit in a sauna sweating that may benefit your health.
When you’re in a sauna, a process called mild hyperthermia occurs in your body. It’s behind the sweating, the body’s thermoregulatory response to heat. The cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, and stress systems participate in this response.
According to experts, that may be a factor behind the long life of people who frequently use saunas. For example, men who use the sauna 2 to 3 times a week had lower odds of cardiovascular disease mortality. They had a 27% lower risk than men who only reported using saunas once a week.
The above doesn’t imply that sauna use replaces physical activity. However, it’s an ideal additional option for people who can’t perform heavy workouts. These may include folks with mobility issues or who are recovering from injuries.
All Types of Saunas Use Dry Heat
However, traditional Finnish saunas indeed use dry heat. Still, the relative humidity in these rooms can be between 10% and 20%, so they’re not completely dry.
Other saunas, such as the Turkish-style ones, have higher humidity levels.
People With Hypertension Can’t Use Saunas
Hypertension is when the pressure against the body’s blood vessels is too high. Also known as high blood pressure, hypertension affects about 47% of U.S. adults.
A sauna can increase a person’s B.P. in minutes, so many think it’s unsafe for people with hypertension.
People with high blood pressure can still use saunas as long as their condition is under control. Folks with uncontrolled hypertension are those who should first check with their doctors. Once they start to medicate and bring their B.P. down, they may be fit to use saunas.
Also, it’s vital to note that frequent use of saunas lowers the risk of elevated blood pressure. That’s because even if they cause a spike in blood pressure, the rest period after their use leads to lower B.P. rates.
For the same reason, people with low blood pressure should be careful when using saunas. After all, their blood pressure may further fall after their sauna session.
People with low B.P. may still enjoy saunas, but it may be better and safer to shorten their sessions. It’s also wise to have someone accompany them.
It’s Okay to Drink Alcohol Before
No, it’s not because alcohol can raise your body’s temperature. As a result, it can make you sweat more than usual. It can also lead to dehydration since it’s a diuretic.
Remember: You can lose up to a pint of body fluids during a sauna session. That’s also why you should drink at least two glasses of water before and after each sauna visit. More, if you’ve exercised or hit the gym before your session.
However, if you add alcohol to the mix, you can lose much more body fluids while sitting in a sauna. Alcohol, plus the sauna’s heat, can dramatically boost the sweat your body releases.
As a diuretic, alcohol can make you lose more body fluids by causing you to urinate more. Such can happen before, during, and after a sauna session. Thus, you may experience dehydration if you mix alcohol with sauna use.
Besides, if you’re going to a spa, the facility may not permit you to enter if you have alcohol in your system. One reason is that they don’t want to be liable if you faint due to alcohol-induced dehydration.
If you sit in a sauna with alcohol in your system, it takes much less time for you to become dehydrated. And the faster you become dehydrated, the sooner you may faint.
Another reason a spa may not let you enter the sauna while intoxicated is that other guests are there to relax. They can’t do that if they smell alcohol through your sweat.
Only the Rich Can Afford Saunas
The types of spas you go to dictate the price, but many offer sauna services that cost between $35 and $50 per session. But if you were to build a sauna in your home, expect to pay between $3,000 and $6,000. That’s undoubtedly a good chunk of money, but it’s still something even average folks in the U.S. can afford.
To put things in perspective, the average U.S. consumer spent $3,030 on food away from home in 2021. On top of that is the $554 they spent on alcoholic drinks, $1,754 on apparel, and $3,568 on entertainment. Together, these expenditures on “wants” alone amount to an astounding $8,906.
So if you can spend that much money on wants, you can afford sauna services or even a home sauna. But if $3,000 to $6,000 is still high, you can opt for an infrared sauna blanket. With this, you can enjoy the same benefits of a sauna for a fraction of the cost, according to the folks at Heat Healer.
Stop Believing These Common Sauna Myths
Now that you know the most common sauna myths that exist today, it’s time to stop believing them. Instead, why not spread the truth about them, such as how sauna prices can be affordable? Better yet, tell your friends and family that their use can benefit most people’s health.
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