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Saunas Turn Up the Heat on Health Benefits

Aura Sauna Studio
Aura Sauna Studio

There’s nothing quite like a quick sweat session in a sauna. Whether you’re trying out a traditional sauna or an infrared sauna, both types provide many health benefits for adults.

Spending time in a sauna flushes out the body’s toxins. Sauna usage nourishes the skin by opening up the pores. This hot experience will also leave you with even more health advantages such as feeling more relaxed, improving circulation and relieving sore muscles.

Traditional Saunas

Research suggested that heat exposure improves mitochondria output, which can have very positive effects on energy levels, cell regeneration and longevity.

Christopher Durso, DPT, personal training development manager at Wexford’s Oxford Athletic Club, recommended starting with 5 to 10 minute sessions in a traditional sauna heated to approximately 160 degrees. Once this feels comfortable, increase the timing by 5 minutes as tolerated, but try not to exceed 25 to 30 minutes in one session. Using this type of sauna may have individuals sweating faster at first, so take a break outside of the room when needed.

Durso added using a sauna has positive effects on cell regeneration, which slows down the aging process. Further, research showed a positive association between frequent sauna usage and a decreased risk for cardiovascular diseases. Blood pressure can be reduced while blood flow improves.

The release of endorphins from sauna usage gives some people “feel-good” neurotransmitters, boosting the mood and energy of one’s physical and mental health. Durso advised to consult with your health practitioner before starting any new health regimens.

Infrared Saunas

Infrared saunas are a modern twist on traditional saunas. They operate with light to create warm air, and the ambient temperature may be more comfortable for some users. While infrared saunas use a lower temperature than a steamy traditional sauna, they still provide therapeutic benefits. Infrared saunas enhance the detox process by penetrating the light deeper into the body to reach the tissues and muscles effectively.

Located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, AURA Sauna Studio offers 45 minute infrared sauna sessions and includes six sauna suites that are heated up to 140 degrees. The infrared sauna is safe to use every day, and many customers visit the studio monthly or even weekly.

Chromotheraphy produces different color lights within an infrared sauna to create positive change within your body as a meditative aid. Each color used in chromotherapy has unique health benefits. AURA Sauna Studio offers 16 different colors such as:

  • Sky Blue: Increases intuition and sensitivity, and relaxes your sensation of stress.

  • Yellow and Red: Brings forth warmth, energy and stimulation. This color enhances metabolism and energizes heart and blood circulation.

  • Tangerine: Strengthens the body and activates internal tissues.

  • Light Green: Acts as a relaxant and fights depression. Regulates pituitary gland and calms the nervous system.

AURA provides cold, wet eucalyptus towels at the end of your session to wipe the toxins and sweat off of your body. The studio recommends drying off again completely to prevent any toxins from seeping back into the skin.

Stay Hydrated

Experts say to continue to drink water to rehydrate your body after a session. Aim to consume at least 8 to 16 ounces of water immediately after exiting the sauna, and continue drinking water throughout the day to replace lost fluids. Guests are encouraged to bring a plastic or metal water bottle into the sauna and drink from it throughout their session.

“The amount of water needed before entering an infrared sauna can vary depending on factors such as body size, metabolism, activity level, and environmental conditions,” said Laura Early, owner of AURA. “Everyone should drink at least 8oz of water before the session. Some people may need more water to stay adequately hydrated.”

“Drink electrolytes, as well, in order to stay well hydrated. I personally recommend a scoop of salt-based electrolyte powder immediately upon walking in,” Durso added.

Rather than taking a shower when you get home, allow your body temperature to cool off at its own pace, which will allow for continued calorie burn.

Remember to wear loose-fitting clothes, a swimsuit or just wrap yourself in a towel for maximum breathability.

The sauna is a great tool to add to your wellness toolkit.


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