Here’s Why I Sauna—and Why You Should Too

  One year ago, I used a sauna for the first time at my local YMCA. It may sound a little off-putting — the idea of sitting in your own sweat around half-naked people, and I’m not going to lie, I was a little skeptical at first too. It wasn’t until my best friend and I went to the locker room after our workout one day and discovered these heated, wood-lined rooms labelled “Sauna Room” and “Steam Room” that our curiosity got the best of us. Since then, we’ve been hooked. But what’s so great about the sauna anyways? 

  1. 1. They Flush Toxins

    Kellyn Simpkin-Strong Girl Back One Arm

        Saunas are an easy and enjoyable way to detox. Essentially, heat allows toxins such as Mercury, Lead, Aluminum, and Cadmium to be flushed out through perspiration. 

        Toxins can stress the body, but sweat will reduce this stress by relaxing those tense muscles. Meanwhile, the heat will remove the toxins that are beneath the skin’s surface. Believe it or not, sweating it out is a good thing! 

  2. 2. Skincare Benefits

    Skincare morning routine

        When your skin is exposed to the heat of the sauna and you begin to sweat, your pores open up which starts a natural cleaning process. The ultimate goal is to remove excess oil and makeup that may remain on your skin. After leaving the sauna, I highly recommend taking a cold shower or even splashing your face with cold water to close up your pores and wash away the toxic sweats that remain on your skin. The cold temperature shrinks the pores before they close, which can protect against acne! 

        As we age, our collagen production declines. By sweating, we are removing dead skin from our bodies which conveniently increases the production of collagen. Sweating through your pores is a great way to filter out impurities, helping you achieve a more dewy and youthful appearance.

  3. 3. Fuel for the Body and Mind

    White and purple flower on wood table

        Saunas increase your blood flow which not only helps body functioning, but brain functioning as well. This can lead to an improvement in sleep, mood, and even a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety.

        The high temperatures in saunas cause your brain to release “feel-good” endorphins and this little dark room provides an atmosphere of total relaxation. Whether it’s an upcoming exam or a tough workload, being a college student adds a lot of stress to our daily lives. I use the sauna to my advantage because it provides a quiet environment to relax and de-stress. I know it sounds hard, but believe me, it’s possible!

  4. 4. Post-Workout Benefits

    Woman running with a sunset in the background

        One of the best times to go in the sauna is after a strenuous workout. Did you know that we have a sauna in the Marino Center at Northeastern? I absolutely love it and I always use it after working out at the gym. 

        According to Mario Sarno, a fitness director at Rittenhouse Square Fitness Club, saunas can help “relax and loosen muscles to prevent soreness, as well as alleviate deep muscle pain and achy joints”. Blood vessels begin to dilate when your body temperature rises from exposure to heat. This increase in blood circulation will ultimately promote a natural healing process in your body so you don’t feel as sore the next day!

        Plus, if you’re feeling up to it (and in the rare case the weather is nice), stretching in the sauna can help save you some time!

First time using the sauna?

Here are some quick tips and advice!

Before entering the sauna, it is important to take some precautions. 

  • The sauna in Northeastern’s Marino Center will be around 160-180℉, so you want to make sure you are well-hydrated before entering. I usually drink half of my water bottle before I enter the sauna and save the rest for during the sauna session. 

  • Avid sauna users spend around 15-20 minutes inside, but if it’s your first time, I’d recommend 10-15 minutes.

  • Avoid alcohol or any recreational drugs before and after sauna use.

  • If you feel unwell or dizzy, leave the sauna immediately. You don’t want to fall asleep or faint in a heated room! 

  • Sit up straight for better results. Stretching can also alleviate soreness in muscles.

  • Splashing cold water on your face after using the sauna is an efficient way to cool down and rinse away body toxins. 

  • I recommend going in with just a towel, so your skin is directly exposed to the heat, but wearing your work out clothes is totally fine! Whatever makes you feel comfortable!