Ahh, the spa: massages, manis and pedis, oh my.
There’s nothing quite as luxuriating as spending the day at your favourite spa. But in between facials and deep tissue massages, saunas sometimes tend to get overlooked on the spa menu.
Now you might say that with the hot weather these days, just stepping outside is all the sauna you’ll need, but there’s actually a bit more to it than just plain old heat. Saunas have actually been around for over one thousand years and is an ancient Finnish word which best translates to English as ‘bath’ or ‘bathhouse’.
Saunas have quite a number of health benefits and are one of the best ways to detox and get rid of impurities in your skin which aids in overall skin care. That in itself is one great reason to start making frequent trips to the sauna.
Here are five more:
Saunas help to recover from workouts
Nowadays, a lot of gyms have a sauna and there are plenty of good reasons for this.
Saunas are highly effective ways to recover from workouts. The metabolic wastes are eliminated while sweating in a sauna.
The blood flow to tired and strained muscles increases through the sauna, helping them to recover quickly and feel relaxed much quicker.
Boost your mental health
While you can’t exactly sweat your stress away, saunas can be a relaxing escape for many people, says American therapist Kathryn Smerling, Ph.D. “They are warm, quiet, enclosed, and make you feel safe and relaxed in the way you would if you were nesting,” she said.
One Psychosomatic Medicine even found that daily sauna sessions improved ratings of relaxation in patients with depression. A brief escape from the world for a moment of peace and quiet will have a positive effect on your mental health and stress levels she said. It’s the reason why she regularly prescribes sauna usage to her patients who like and can tolerate the heat.in
“If you choose to the sauna, don’t go in with any judgments or expectations,” she says. “You won’t leave the sauna a new person, and the benefits may hardly be noticeable at first for some, but over time, they can have a real impact on your mental health.”
Saunas are huge stress fighters. Thanks to sugar, coffee, lack of sleep, stressed adrenals, and toxic chemical exposure, many of us are stuck in the sympathetic or “fight or flight” state. Saunas encourage our bodies to go into the parasympathetic state, which allows us to de-stress, digest, rest, and heal.
They help improve circulation and oxygenation
When you sit in a hot sauna, your body temperature begins to rise. This causes your blood vessels to dilate, which increases blood flow and overall circulation. Blood brings nutrients and oxygen to all body tissues and helps them heal. Studies show that infrared therapy recharges mitochondria, so it’s reaching us at a cellular level and is a great practice for increasing energy and stamina.
They aid with weight loss
To be clear, saunas will only help you lose water weight—not body fat. During a sauna bath, the heart rate increases substantially due to the dry heat. Scientific calibrations suggest that a 20-minute session at around 76 degrees Celcius burns over 500 calories. The body’s metabolism speeds up similar to the way it does from physical exercise and is a great method to maintain weight.
They help you look younger
One of the vital organs of our body, our skin, also needs regular exercise and saunas are a great way to exercise skin.
As we grow older, more of the dead cells accumulate onto our skin pores, as the skin becomes less elastic.
A few sessions in the sauna improve blood flow to our skin, which aids the growth of new skin and also removes all the dead cells that were building up previously. What’s more, the oils–which are natural moisturizers and antibiotics in our skin–are mobilised through saunas. This helps us to look younger in a significant way.
We’ve listed just a few of the saunas located across Trinidad and Tobago. Which sauna do you frequent?
Spa Euphoria (Port of Spain)
The Beauty and Body Spa (Port of Spain)
Day Spa By Tricia Aveda (Port of Spain)
Utopia Body Therapy (San Fernando)
Glorious Bodies, Glorious Minds (Trincity & Arima)
Healing Hands Salon & Spa (Tobago)
The Face & Body Clinic Limited (Tobago)