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Monthly Archives: November 2013

  • Hot Yoga in Your Home Sauna

    Hot Yoga in Your Home Sauna Natarajasana by Nina Mel, Yoga Teacher courtesy of Kennguru.


    Saunas are not the one-use facilities they may appear to be. They provide a great place to sit and relax, but they can also be a great place to exercise. There are many ways to do this, but one of the most popular is doing hot yoga in your home sauna.

    What is Hot Yoga?

    Hot yoga is a style of yoga exercise performed in hot and humid conditions, feasibly to simulate the climate of yoga's country of origin, India. The heat increases the flexibility of the muscles, which aids in achieving the various yoga poses. There are several different types of hot yoga, including Bikram Yoga, Forrest Yoga, Power Yoga, and Tribalance Yoga. Each type has a slightly different approach and philosophy, but all use varying amounts of heat in the environment.

    What Does This Have to Do With Saunas?

    Practitioners of Hot Yoga typically attend classes in heated studios with the instructor and other students. However, many people find they are able to replicate the hot, humid conditions necessary for hot yoga in the privacy of their own home saunas. This gives them increased privacy, convenience in when they exercise, and the convenience of not having to leave home. This can be a great option for people with schedules that don't allow time for classes, individuals with disabilities that would be better served by a customized environment, introverts or individuals with social anxiety issues, or parents who'd like to exercise while keeping an eye on the kids.

    How to Do Hot Yoga in Your Home Sauna

    1. Take some yoga classes. This is really important, and the foundation for moving forward. Yoga poses are very precise, and performing them incorrectly is pointless at best, and a potential for injury at worst. If you cannot attend classes, yoga instructors will sometimes provide private lessons in your home. Once you can comfortably and confidently perform the poses with little to no instruction, you are ready for the next step.
    2. Buy a sauna. Or, if you already own one, prepare it for this particular use. You will need plenty of space to spread out and stretch, so a larger sauna is better than a smaller one. Look into options like our pre-built sauna kits--these are easy to customize to fit any space, and are pretty affordable when looking to get maximum space for your dollar. When purchasing the sauna or customizing it for exercise, make sure to consider the amount of floor space available, whether not it has or needs hand rails for your balance, and the placement/type of heater. A traditional stone-heater sauna will let you control the humidity, but many professionals recommend infrared heaters for hot yoga at home.
    3. Fine tune the set up. Try it out. Play with different temperature-to-humidity values. Invest in a good yoga mat. Cheaper mats may not be able to stand up to higher temperatures and can become slick with moisture, posing a serious safety hazard. Have your yoga instructor inspect the set up and monitor your first session. They may have ideas for how to utilize other aspects of the sauna, such as the benches and backrests, in your yoga routine. Find your limit for how long and hard you can exercise and respect it, setting a timer if necessary to avoid over-exertion.

    Be Safe

    If your health is compromised in any way due to pregnancy, illness, or disease, always check with your doctor before taking on a new work out routine or exposing yourself to extreme temperatures and humidity. Hot yoga and sauna use are not for everyone. It's important to respect your own limits. Certain prescription medications are also not compatible with increased temperatures. Always have plenty of water available to avoid dehydration, and if at all possible make sure someone knows where you are when you are using the sauna. Keep your phone right outside the sauna door in case there is a health emergency. Exit the sauna immediately if you begin to feel dizzy or nauseated.


  • Sauna Care and Maintenance Made Easy

    Sauna Care and Maintenance Made Easy

    It was a long day at work and your back muscles are twisted up like the Gordian Knot. You step into your home sauna and AAAaaahhhh ... . All better. Except--sniff--what is that--sniff--what is that funky smell?

    Alas, sometimes even our happy place needs a bit of a clean. Luckily, it's easier than you might think with just a little elbow grease and a few low-priced products.

    Simple Sauna Care

    Regular maintenance is not too involved and you really don't need any special tools. You can use a broom and vacuum for basic cleaning, as well as do a quick clean up of the floors and benches with a damp rag. Keep a stack of towels outside the sauna door to use for sitting on while using the sauna and for quick wipe downs. This will protect the wood from body oils, which can trap dirt and skin cells and discolor the wood. For extra care with the sauna bench, avoid washing those towels in harsh detergents. Your skin and the sauna wood will thank you!

    Protecting the Sauna Wood

    Protecting the sauna wood should be one of your highest priorities. Start by treating your sauna benches, backrests, and other areas with sauna bench wood oil. If you use your sauna frequently, a weekly schedule for doing this will ensure it is done regularly. You can clean less if you use it less. For spot cleaning, use a mild detergent such as dish washing soap (not the dishwasher kind) and mix with water. Use a sponge to liberally wash the wood on the floor and benches. You can also keep this solution in a spray bottle for ease of use. After you have washed the wood, rinse with a little clean water and towel dry the wood surfaces.

    If the wood develops discoloration from excessive use, you can use light-grade sand paper (Very Fine or Fine grade) to gently sand the surface. This can give your sauna a refreshed look.

    Tend to the Heater

    You will also need to maintain your sauna heater. If your sauna uses a wood-burning heater, you will need to frequently remove the ash build-up. You should also periodically check the exhaust pipe to make sure there is no creosote build-up. This can be a major fire hazard, so don't skip this!

    If you are running off an electric heater, the maintenance is much easier, as all you have to do is occasionally wipe off the heater to keep dust build-up under control.

    Finally, if your sauna heater has sauna stones, you need to examine them frequently to make sure none have cracked. Any cracked stones should be removed and replaced.

    Saunasandstuff.com has many cleaning supplies and sauna products to keep your sauna in great shape. Your happy place should also be a clean place.

    Here are some products you might be interested in:

    *More on the Gordian Knot: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordian_Knot*Detergent types: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/detergents#.UoZ_-43QHhU
    *More on sauna care and maintenance: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/sauna-care-and-maintenance-tips#.UoaE5I3QHhU

  • Sweat Therapy in Your Sauna

    Sweat Therapy in Your Sauna

    We know that saunas are really good for our health, but why? What is all that heat and sweating doing for our body?

    Besides the benefit of heat on tense and sore muscles, sweat therapy is the primary benefit of using a sauna. Sweat therapy has been around for thousands of years for both physical and mental health reasons. Technically, sweat therapy is the combination of group counseling/psychotherapy with group sweating. Group sweating is a beneficially social interaction. However, you can still experience the benefits of sweat therapy without a therapist or group.

    The skin is our largest organ and sweating is the most effective way to remove toxins from the body. Saunas have been used for millenium as a proven tool effective in cleansing, relaxation, and for boosting ones general health. Sweating helps the body detoxify while strengthening its immune system. Sweat practices are similar to exercise as they cause the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. Coupled with meditation or the guidance of a therapist, and sauna use can benefit your entire being from inside out.

    Infrared saunas are most often used for sweat therapy as the air temperature remains much lower than in a traditional sauna, so the individual feels generally more comfortable. Sweating often begins before the person feels very hot at all and the sweating is more profuse than in a traditional sauna without the same degree of discomfort. This may make meditation or group conversation much easier.

    In a group sweat therapy session, everyone works together as a unit to deal with the heat by offering towels and water to each other and showing concern for each member's comfort in the heat. These gestures of altruism become an established part of the group's culture and translate outside the group into an increased empathy with other people. Alone, you can achieve similar results by meditating or using visualization techniques. Visualize yourself surrounded by sympathetic and caring souls. Imagine yourself receiving their care and kindness and yourself returning the same.

    When using your sauna for sweat therapy, always drink plenty of water and do not stay in the sauna for more than 20 minutes at a time. If you are still looking for a sauna for your home, contact us and we can set you up with a model that suits your home and budget. We also have aromatherapy and light therapy(1) products that can aid you in your therapy sessions.

    (1) available on many models
  • When Should You Limit Sauna Use?

    When should you limit sauna use?

    When is it a good idea to limit sauna use? Never! We wish that was the answer, but alas, there are times when you will need to limit your time in the sauna. For the sake of your safety and your health, we've listed below some situations that may require limited sauna time. As always, it is best to consult your doctor.

    Pregnancy - According to the Organization of Teratology Information Services (OTIS), a body temperature of 101º F and above are dangerous during pregnancy (CAUTION: linked article contains graphic images). Studies have shown an increased risk of birth defects in babies of women who had elevated body temperatures during the first trimester of pregnancy.
    The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states that becoming overheated in a sauna is not recommended during pregnancy. Before choosing to use a sauna during pregnancy, it is best to seek the advice of your health care provider.

    Heart Conditions – If you have unstable angina pectoris, poorly controlled blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, advanced heart failure, recent myocardial infarction, and severe aortic stenosis, you should speak with your doctor before using a sauna. Blood vessels dilate when exposed to heat and this can cause blood pressure to fall--a highly dangerous situation for those with heart conditions. Saunas can sometimes help to improve some conditions when used properly, but always work with a doctor prior to embarking on regular sauna use.

    Certain Medications - There are a number of medications that can affect the body’s normal response to heat either by inhibiting sweating or by otherwise interfering with normal physiology. For example, some medications used for psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia or the use of stimulant medications for conditions like ADD or excessive sleeping also increase the health risks from heat exposure. If you are on any of these medications, always read the informational sheets provided by your pharmacist concerning your specific medications warnings and side effects, and please speak with your doctor before sauna use.

    Alcohol or Drug Use - If you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, do not use a sauna as the effects on your cardiovascular system can be increased beyond safe levels. An intoxicated person may not perceive how much time has passed in the heat, or may not notice the early symptoms of over-heating, such as feeling light-headed or nauseated. There is also the risk of falling asleep, which could be fatal in a sauna.

    Too Young - Until puberty, kids can’t regulate their body temperature through sweat production as efficiently as adults can. This means that children under twelve or so are more vulnerable to the heat effects of the sauna. For this and other reasons, kids should not follow the same guidelines of sauna use as their parents. They should limit their time and make sure they drink plenty of water after they leave.

    In order to make sauna use a safe and relaxing experience, remember to keep your sauna temperature to no higher than 194°F (The maximum allowed sauna temperature in Canada and the United States is 194°F) and be sure to accurately monitor the temperature and lower it as needed. Also, limit your stay to no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time. As you are exiting, cool down gradually after use and avoid going rapidly from a hot to a cold environment.

    You should also try to drink 2 to 4 glasses of cool water after each session to re-hydrate your body. Also, never take a sauna session if you are ill, and if you find yourself feeling unwell while in a sauna, head for the door.

    Here at Saunasandstuff.com, we want every sauna experience to be safe, fun, and healthy. Take all necessary safety precautions and Happy Sweating!

    *Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth Third Ed. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, CH. 5.

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