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Question
Posted by: S | 2008/02/04

Sauna Story ?

I train hard, both weights & cardio & enjoy the occassional sauna as it does feel good to relax in them. But what is the actual "story" with saunas - do they help relax the muscles, get rid of toxins in the sweat etc etc & how should they be used ? ie obviously you need to drink alot more fluid, should you alternate sessions in the sauna with cold showers ???? or are they just overheating the body unnecessarily ??

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi S

Honestly, I don't know that there is much to the sauna, other than that fact that it might help the body adapt to the heat a little. It does this through the cardiovascular responses it stimulates, and so likely there is some adaptation. But the theory of clearing out toxins and so forth, I'm not sure. Don't know if that's ever been tested and published as research. My opinion is that if you enjoy the sauna, then no problem, keep doing it simply for the benefits you perceive. And as for teh hot-cold, that's believed to have benefits for athletes in competition, to promote recovery. They use ice-baths, and then heat packs, and that might have some benefit. Again, it's a little sketchy as far as evidence goes. But I don't see any danger to hot, cold, treatments. You do need to just be aware that some people, if they have susceptible hearts, can get into cardiac problems doing this. So pay attention to symptoms, if you feel dizzy, short of breath, chest or arm pain etc, get out right away.

Good luck

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Our users say:
Posted by: SmallPaul | 2008/02/05

Hey S. I'm no expert but from what I've read, if there are any benefits to saunas or steam rooms, a steam room is probably twice as good for you as a sauna.

Reply to SmallPaul

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