The sauna, with its undeniable benefits for health and well-being, has been popular for centuries. However, as with many things, the key lies in moderation. Exceeding certain limits or ignoring specific contraindications can have negative effects on our health. In this article, we will examine exactly when the sauna can become harmful, what are the side effects of too frequent sauna use, and who, due to their health condition, should avoid this form of relaxation.
Benefits of Using a Sauna
The sauna is a known place for relaxation and rejuvenation. With regular use, the sauna can bring many benefits to our health. First and foremost, it improves blood circulation, cleanses the skin, helps combat stress and tension, and also supports the immune system. But always remember that the key to using the sauna is moderation.
You can read more about the benefits of sauna use in our previous article – Benefits of sauna use for health.
When can the sauna be harmful?
The sauna can become harmful when we exceed the principles of moderation and safety. In extreme cases, too frequent use of the sauna or too long sessions can lead to serious health problems.
The first factor that can make a sauna harmful is dehydration. The sauna is a place of high temperature, leading to intense sweating. If we do not replenish fluids adequately, we may experience symptoms of dehydration, such as headaches, weakness, and even nausea.
Another factor is the sauna’s impact on blood pressure. While in the sauna, our blood vessels dilate, which lowers blood pressure. For some people, especially those with existing blood pressure problems, this can be problematic. Rapid temperature changes, such as those between the hot sauna and cold shower, can also lead to sharp changes in blood pressure.
Another potential issue is overheating. Long periods in high temperature can lead to hyperthermia, a state in which body temperature becomes dangerously high.
Finally, the sauna can become harmful if you use it despite existing health contraindications, such as severe heart disease, certain skin diseases, pregnancy, or acute infections.
The key is always to listen to your body and use the sauna in a responsible and safe manner. Before you start using the sauna, it’s worth consulting with a doctor, especially if you have any chronic diseases.
Side Effects of Too Frequent Sauna Use
While moderate sauna use can bring many health benefits, too frequent or prolonged sauna sessions can lead to a number of negative side effects.
- Dehydration: As previously mentioned, sauna leads to intense sweating, which, if not adequately balanced with fluid intake, can lead to dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration can include dry skin, headaches, feeling of weakness or even nausea and dizziness.
- Blood pressure issues: Too frequent sauna use can lead to blood pressure problems. Individuals suffering from hypertension or hypotension may experience a worsening of their condition.
- Overheating: Prolonged exposure to high temperatures, especially when frequently using a sauna, can lead to body overheating, which in turn can lead to conditions such as hyperthermia.
- Electrolyte problem: Intense sweating can lead not only to dehydration, but also to loss of important electrolytes, which are crucial for the proper functioning of the body.
All these problems can be serious if they are ignored or not properly treated. Therefore, it is so important to always remember moderation and safety when using a sauna. If you have any doubts, always consult a doctor.
Who Should Not Use a Sauna?
There are certain groups of people who should be cautious in using a sauna or should completely avoid it due to potential health risks.
- People with blood pressure problems. Sauna can lead to a decrease in blood pressure and acceleration of the heart rate, which can pose a risk for people with hypertension or in the third stage of the WHO hypertension disease classification.
- People with mental disorders or severe nervous disorders. Sauna can lead to increased stress and tension, which can exacerbate the symptoms of these diseases.
- People with chronic inflammatory states. Sauna can exacerbate the symptoms of these conditions.
- People with cancer diseases. Sauna can lead to increased metabolism and blood flow, which can accelerate the growth and reproduction of cancer cells.
- People with heart failure, hyperthyroidism, ulcers, acute myocardial infarction. These conditions can worsen as a result of thermal stress and increased circulatory load caused by using a sauna.
- People with infectious and parasitic diseases, open form of tuberculosis, epilepsy, and other diseases. Using a sauna can lead to exacerbation of symptoms and intensification of the disease.
- People with fears or negative attitudes towards sauna. For these people, using a sauna can lead to increased stress and tension.
- People with diseases associated with elevated body temperature, advanced chronic diseases, vessel damage due to atherosclerosis, high blood pressure above 200 mm Hg with organic changes in internal organs. These conditions can represent absolute contraindications to using a sauna.
Remember, these are just general recommendations and each case is individual. Always consult a doctor before you start using a sauna, especially if you have any chronic diseases or have doubts.
A sauna is a place that has been valued for centuries for the benefits it brings to health and well-being. However, as with many things, the key to reaping the benefits of a sauna lies in moderation. Exceeding certain limits, ignoring contraindications, or using a sauna too frequently can lead to negative effects on our health. Therefore, it is so important to always remember moderation and safety when using a sauna. Always consult a doctor if you have any chronic conditions or have any doubts about using a sauna. Sauna use should be enjoyable and beneficial for health, but only when done properly and safely.