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Okay, you probably don’t need me to explain what a sauna is, as they seem to be a popular fixture in most gyms these days.  However what surprises me is that most gyms don’t bother to explain how to use a sauna and so most people are not using them properly - making them rather unpopular, or worse leading to adverse reactions.  (If you do need me to explain it’s a hot, dry room, usually heated by stones and usually made of wood.  If you want to heat the room up you can add water to the coals, but a lot of places prefer you to leave those coals well alone.)


Luckily for me, when I started using a sauna at my gym in Paris there was a detailed list of instructions to help me sauna safely and effectively... and here they are.


Used safely saunas are a great way to help with respiratory problems and great for your skin!


Number one - you NEVER go into a sauna with dry skin!  Whether you go in naked or in a swimsuit is really down to the rules of the place and your own preference.  If you go in naked it’s often a good idea to bring in a towel as those wooden benches can get hot!


So, before you go into the sauna, take a shower.  You can use shower gel if you like to wash off any dirt on your skin, and use hot or tepid or body temperature water.  Once you’re nice and clean switch the water to as cold as you can.  This will close up your pores, giving your skin a workout and making the heat of the sauna feel pretty great!  Walk into the sauna with the cold water still on your skin (don’t dry off!)


When you go into the sauna, if you’re the only person, turn the sand timer (if someone’s already running it, check the time and where the sand should be for 2-3 minutes).  Only stay in for as long as your skin is damp, and for a maximum of 3 minutes.  The heat should open up your pores and allow you to exude any impurities through your skin.  If you have any respiratory problems breathe deep!


Then it’s back into the shower - run it at body temperature or tepid, and once again wash your skin to get rid of all the icky stuff coming out through your pores.  If you like you can take it hot after that, or just go straight on to that cold shower again.


Then back into the sauna one more time - again - keep your skin wet, check the sand timer and let your body detox!


When you come out again hit the shower in the same way, using body temperature water to wash off while the pores are still open and then finish off with a refreshing cold shower!


Remember don’t go into a sauna if you are dehydrated, make sure you rehydrate afterwards, and if you start to feel dizzy or uncomfortable get out of there!


You don’t have to sit in the sauna for a long time to make it effective, as soon as you feel hot and sweaty hopefully your pores will be open and it’s done its job.  By going in twice you are opening and closing your pores and getting the most out of your sauna!

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