Are saunas really good for you?

When you go to the gym or spa, there's likely an option to use the sauna at the facility. The prospect of spending a lengthy amount of time just sitting and sweating might not sound appealing at first, but more studies are pointing to the benefits of sweating and saunas. Let's take a close look to determine if saunas are really good for you and the benefits they can provide.

Sauna 2.0 becomes the cool trend

At this year's Global Wellness Summit, Sauna 2.0 made a splash with more elaborate rituals to infuse hot air with aromatherapy and fun. Party saunas have made their way into Europe and the U.S. Los Angeles in particular is leveraging infrared saunas to heat you from within, aiding in the processes to detox, destress and burn calories, according to the Los Angeles Times. Some locations even offer your own sauna in the form of an infrared-heated sleeping bag and a TV to watch during your session. Saunas are becoming a cooler trend that's spreading across the nation to make sweating a more pleasant and fun experience.

"The sauna's heat will also make you more alert, less perceptive to pain and give you a feeling of elation."

The benefits you can see

There are certainly benefits that should be expected from visiting a sauna. Relaxation is one of the major reasons that saunas have become more popular. Healthline noted that heat relaxes your muscles, which can often be tense after a long day. Your body's reaction to the sauna's heat will also make you more alert, less perceptive to pain and give you a feeling of elation. Practicing meditation while in the sauna could help soothe the body and mind for a long-lasting effect to your mood. Feeling the soreness melt away along with improving stiffness and fatigue will be the main benefits of visiting a sauna.

Risks people might take

While saunas can provide some advantages, it can place others at risk. Harvard Health Publishing noted that the heat makes your heart work harder, with pulse rates jumping by 30 percent or more. A study of sauna safety conducted with 16 patients with well-documented heart disease equated the effects of a 15 minute sauna with a standard treadmill stress test. Those with heart conditions and other disease should discuss going to a sauna with their doctors beforehand.

In general, healthy people and individuals with heart conditions alike must observe sauna safety tips to protect themselves while still reaping the advantages of the experience. Individuals should avoid alcohol before and after their sauna experience and drink two to four glasses of water after each sauna. Spend only 15 to 20 minutes per session and allow yourself to cool down gradually afterward. This will alleviate circulatory stress and keep the sauna a safe and enjoyable experience.

As saunas become the next big thing promoted by spas, gyms and celebrities, doctors should advise their patients on the true benefits and risks involved. Giving individuals the tools they need will help take the advantages of saunas while protecting themselves.