In a sauna, an electric or wood stove provides dry heat that can reach up to 185 degrees Fahrenheit. After a tough exercise session or a long day at work, a few moments in the sauna feel like a luxurious indulgence. Saunas aren't just relaxing -- dry heat may have other benefits for your body.
Benefits of Saunas
Some people believe that saunas can help the body expel toxins, such as heavy metals and chemicals in food. Sweating in the sauna opens pores, but it doesn't release toxins, according to Columbia Health. Others maintain that sweating in the sauna aids in weight loss. The body can burn up to 300 calories in one sauna session, notes Susan Smith Jones, author of "Health Bliss." This is the equivalent of one hour of moderate weight training or a 2- to 3-mile jog.
In the sauna, skin temperature can reach 104 degrees Fahrenheit in just a few minutes. The pulse rate increases by 30 percent or more, and the body loses up to 1 quart of sweat in 20 minutes. Staying in the sauna for too long may cause nausea and fatigue. Spend no more than 15 to 20 minutes in the sauna, recommends Harvard Health Publications. After a session, drink a few glasses of water to cool down. Avoid the sauna if you have a heart condition, including unstable angina, advanced heart failure, poorly controlled blood pressure or abnormal heart rhythms. People under the influence of alcohol, tranquilizers or other mind-altering drugs should not use saunas.