Temperatures can be adjusted by shielding different parts of the body from the steam radiation with a towel. The perception of heat is reduced by shielding the face with a towel. To avoid dryness to the hair an additional towel or special cap is advisable. It can be very uncomfortable to sit directly in front of the heater because of the radiant heat, although the overall body temperature may be insufficient. As the body is often the coolest object in a sauna room, steam will condense into water on the skin; this should not be confused with perspiration. Kevin Loria at Business Insider.com sheds light on the health benefits of taking regular saunas:
“Taking a regular sauna is more than just a way to relax, according to a recent medical review of a number of studies published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. People who take saunas regularly have lower rates of cardiovascular disease and fewer problems with blood pressure. They also have fewer issues with lung disease, cognitive disease, and mental health, according to that review.
Something about regularly exposing yourself to hot temperatures, which gets your blood pumping much like exercise, seems to be associated with a better quality of life, according to the review.
This provides yet more evidence that it may not be good for us to spend all our time in climate-controlled spaces where the temperature rarely dips below 68 or creeps above 72 Fahrenheit.
Other research has shown that hot baths can provide health benefits similar to exercise, including reduced inflammation, improved blood sugar, and lower blood pressure. And still other studies have shown that exposure to extreme cold can help people burn fat, improve the immune system, and counteract some effects of type 2 diabetes. Those findings have led some people — notably athletes and Silicon Valley biohackers — to incorporate cold showers and ice baths into their routines.
The practice of seeking out health benefits by forcing your body to cope with hot and cold temperatures is known as “environmental conditioning” among fitness experts.
A healthy and hot tradition
Saunas are deeply embedded in Finnish culture. There, taking a sauna as a means of making the body more resilient is known as “hardening.”
A sauna — or sauna bath, as some studies describe them — refers to spending a brief period of time in a hot, dry room. According to the study, temperature at head level ranges from 80 to 100 Celsius (176 to 212 F), while temperatures tend to be lower closer to the floor. People can pour water on hot rocks to increase the room's humidity, which usually varies from 10% to 20%.
People usually spend five to 20 minutes in the sauna, according to the review, though some may spend longer periods of time. Heart rate tends to rise up to 120 to 150 beats per minute for sauna bathers, as it does during exercise, though muscles aren't activated in the same way.
Saunas are considered to be accessible to everyone and the average Finland resident takes at least one sauna a week, though some do it every day.”
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