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Protecting Yourself From Sauna Burns

Posted Apr 09 2010 11:37pm


Saunas are becoming a more and more popular relaxation treat for Americans. However, because they are relatively new many people do not know how to use them properly and run the risk of burning themselves. In order to use a sauna safely and properly, it is helpful to know what you should or shouldn’t do while enjoying them. Here is a look at how can you use a sauna to relax while still protecting yourself.

Saunas can offer you a lot of health benefits. The primary design of a sauna is to help you sweat out the toxins from your body. Your body naturally releases toxins when you sweat, so sitting in a sauna helps to speed up this process. However, in order to do this, the room temperature must be much higher than normal. This naturally causes some people to become concerned about the risk of becoming burned or suffering from other health effects because of the excessive heat.

The first precaution that you should make is to verify that the sauna temperature is set appropriately. The correct temperature for a sauna is 180 degrees Fahrenheit. If you think about your oven or stove, a temperature that high would cause a burn. However, in a sauna only the heater gets that hot and then heats the air. As long as you avoid touching the heater and the room temperature is maintained you are not at risk for a burn.

Another thing that you can do to prevent burns in the sauna is to make sure that there is no metal on your body. Rings, necklaces, and other jewelry should be removed and put in a safe location before you enter the sauna. You should also inspect your bathing suit carefully – some suits will have metal zippers, rings, or decorations on them. Metal heats up much more quickly than your skin, so accidental contact with even a metal charm on your bathing suit could lead to a burn. Make sure that you store your metallic items outside of the sauna – even taking them off when you are inside and setting them next to you could cause you to accidentally burn yourself when you go to put them back on when your treatment has completed. Many spas and health centers that feature saunas will have lockers or safes where you can safely store your valuables during your stay.

Another risk of burns in the sauna come from the heater. Of course, common sense dictates that you should not touch the heater unless you are looking to get burned. The other concern from the heater itself is the steam coming off of it. Saunas need to be keep humid, so water often will be poured over rocks on top of the heater. This causes steam, which in turn raises the humidity. Use caution to always use a ladle to add water to the rocks so that you can better avoid the steam.

If you have children, do not allow them to play in or around the sauna for their own protection.

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