'Why do you need a sauna when it's a bloody sauna outside!?'
Ahhh that classic Aussie one liner i hear every single time the temperature outside is above 25 degrees. The new year always brings hot temperatures and after a 40 degree day in Melbourne over the weekend where i heard this line about 5 times - even from people who own an iHealth Sauna - i thought i should actually detail the reasons why you DO need a sauna when it is hot outside...even when it is 40 degrees.
At the bottom are also some suggestions you can try to feel amazing after a summer sauna session.
Why use sauna when it is hot?
- Sun Heat has many more properties than Infrared Heat - The sun gives of all wavelengths of light. Ranging from Gamma Rays through Ultra Violet, Infrared, X-Rays and beyond. Our infrared saunas only use a very specific band of light from the sun's full spectrum. This band of light is 7 - 10 nm or microns. So yes, if your skin is in contact with the sun, you are receiving far infrared heat. Unfortunately, if you were to stay in the sun long enough for the infrared heat to have the same effect it does in a concentrated infrared sauna, other frequencies of sunlight such as ultra violet will have done a lot of damage to your skin... this is not ideal. Get in the sauna.
- Not all heat is equal - Standing outside when it is 35 degrees is quite different to standing in an infrared sauna that is 35 degrees. Due to the infrared sauna's ability to heat your body directly and not the air, your body will be heated more deeply when at 35 degrees in an infrared sauna compared with 35 degrees outside where it is only the contact with the hot air that is heating you. If you're going to be 35 degrees, you might as well get the infrared benefit too. Get in the sauna.
- Sun can't remove toxins like a sauna can - In Australia it's always hot around Christmas and new year. What do we all do around Christmas and new year? Eat and drink more than we would like and exercise less then we would like. This means we have a build up of toxins! Let's sweat them out. Get in the sauna.
- Change in temp - Yes it may be 40 degrees outside. But once you have been in a sauna at 55 or 60 degrees for 30 minutes, that 15 - 20 degrees difference in temperature feels quite drastic to the body. Try using your sauna a little hotter than usual when it is hot outside. When you come out of your sauna have a really quick rinse in a cool shower and enjoy that cool feeling. You'll be surprised how refreshed you feel. Get in the sauna now.
- When it's hot you exercise less - Who goes for a run when it is 40 degrees in central NSW or country WA?? No-one does. You're not going to get that daily 30 minutes of exercise sitting on the couch enjoying the air-conditioning. Use your sauna on those days for a light workout for the body. Get in the sauna.
What else can you do to make your sauna session especially refreshing on those hot days?
- Although i recommend drinking room temperature water whilst in the sauna, drink some chilled water with some cucumber after the sauna session to really accentuate the change in temperature to the body.
- Jump in the pool afterward
- Eat some cooling and hydrating fruits like watermelon, cucumber or cantaloupe.
- Enjoy some cold-brewed peppermint tea. Cold brewing takes several hours so you need to plan in advance, yet it's something great to keep in the fridge throughout summer and is really refreshing and energising after a sauna session on a hot day or just anytime during summer.
So what are you waiting for! Give it a try next time there is a hot day and you might just be surprised.