The Sauna – Ready, Set, Sweat!

Western culture has brainwashed far too many people into thinking that sweating is a bad thing. The intense marketing of antiperspirants continues to convince generations of consumers that perspiration is an undesirable bodily function. While no one would argue that sweat can be quite unwelcome in important social and business situations, it would be unwise not to acknowledge and understand the great necessity of perspiration and its role in human health.

Sweating is an essential function of the human body, as essential as eating and breathing. It is simply your body’s way of regulating its temperature by getting rid of excess heat. In addition to excess heat, perspiration also helps to remove waste material from your body. Skin is sometimes referred to as “the third kidney” for this very reason.

Your body gets rid of various toxins through a variety of metabolic processes, one of which is urination and another of which is perspiration. The kidneys filter waste from the blood and excrete them, along with water, as urine. Human eccrine and apocrine sweat glands produce sweat, which is composed of water, salt, organic compounds, fatty materials, urea and other waste, all of which is then excreted through the skin.

In the interest of better health, therefore, the objective should not be to block, inhibit or reduce perspiration; it should be to find ways to sweat more effectively, preferably in a controlled environment away from any threat of embarrassment.

What better environment exists for achieving such a goal than a home sauna?

The temperature in a traditional Finnish sauna typically ranges from 180 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit (80 to 95 degrees Celsius). The temperature in a far infrared sauna or heat therapy room is usually between 75 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit (24 and 57 degrees Celsius). The two types of sauna operate differently, but, at their respective temperature ranges, working up a sufficient sweat in either type should be an achievable task for even the most novice sauna bather.

Utilizing high heat to induce perspiration has numerous benefits. In addition to reducing the amount of toxins and heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, zinc, nickel and cadmium, in your body, an intense sweat bath in a sauna can help cleanse it of other impurities like nicotine, sodium, sulfuric acid and cholesterol. By improving blood circulation, regular sauna bathing can help draw the skin’s own natural nutrients to the surface, leading to improved tone, elasticity and texture. The sauna can be a great aid in the alleviation of skin ailments such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. Some European beauty specialists even claim the sauna can be quite a worthy weapon in the war against cellulite.

As beneficial as sweating in a soothing hot sauna may be, however, it is important for bathers to not become dehydrated from the experience. As well, just as you should for any new diet or exercise program, be sure to discuss your plans and expectations with your doctor before you take to the sauna or sweat bath for the first time, as he or she should be aware of any existing conditions or limitations that pertain specifically to your health.

Once you receive your doctor’s approval, find yourself a great sauna and shift those sweat glands into high gear! On your mark, get set, sweat!