Monday, January 30, 2012

Detox: The Benefits of Sauna and Steam

I believe using the sauna and steam room helps
you rid your body of toxins

The cornerstone of my healthy living routine is to take a sauna and steam everyday.  I get to the gym as early as possible so I can get at least 15 - 20 minutes in the sauna and 5 or 10 minutes in the steam room before I work out.  I believe this helps you rid of toxins.  I looked on line to see if the medical community agrees, but all I found were contradicting stories.  Some sites said it really just increases your sense of well being.  Not a bad thing, but not backing up my theory at all. 

I do a light stretch in the sauna before working out

But, think about it.  The skin is our largest organ.  It is meant to be a pathway for the elimination of toxins and waste material from our bodies.  Some sites I went to said creams, deodorants, oils, dead skin cells and the yucky like can block your pores and lock in toxins.  I have not had a problem with acne at all since I've been a daily user of the steam.  I remember when I was a teenager and had a real problem with acne, my mother bought me this steam device - you would place your face into it and steam.  It worked!  Heat from a sauna opens the pores and the sweat flushes out the bad material and toxins.

After work out Schvitz!

All the sites I went to agreed that the sauna causes your blood bessels to dialate and increase the flow of oxygen and fluids to skin cells.  Before my workout I stretch my muscles while I sauna.  I notice that during my workout I start to sweat a lot quicker when I sauna first.  I sauna after working out, too, and take a steam.  I drink tons of water before, during and after.  And I take a freezing cold shower between sauna and steam and when I'm done.  I don't shower before heading to the sauna.  It cools your body so it will take all that much longer for you to start to sweat.  I learned this tip from a Russian lady that I worked with when I first moved to NYC.  She was in her 70's and looked 50 years old.  I'm so accustomed to my daily schvitz that I get out-of-sorts when I don't get to sauna and steam.  It's part of the reason I don't miss a day at the gym - it's my pre- and post- workout treat.

I also read that in a typical sauna session one can burn 300 calories.  I've never worn my heart rate monitor in the sauna so I can't attest to this.  I don't svitz to lose weight - I do it to feel great.  When I have taken that last freezing cold shower after my schvitz, I feel like a million bucks.

It's important to moisturize after you sauna and steam.  Plus you can lose important minerals when you sweat profusely.  Stay tuned later this week - I'm going to post about supplements.


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