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How to best utilize Sauna, Steam, and Ice Plunges

by Valentino Perrina

How to best utilize, Sauna, Steam Room & Cold Bath (cold plunge) Sauna: 

Many people alternate their use of saunas and steam rooms, or use both during the same visit to the gym. While there’s no hard and fast rule for which is best to use first, some people prefer to start with the sauna and end with the steam room. Before you enter the sauna, drink one to two glasses of water and rinse off in a shower. 

  • Warm yourself in a dry sauna for up to 10 minutes without adding humidity. ● Exit and rinse off in a second quick shower.
  • Allow your body to continue to cool down by drinking something refreshing, such as water.
  • Re-enter the sauna for another 10 minutes or so. For this second visit, you can add steam by ladling water onto the sauna rocks.
  • You can also use a traditional whisk made of tree twigs to gently beat or massage the skin. This whisk is called a vihta in Finnish. It’s often made from eucalyptus, birch, or oak. Using a vihta is thought to help reduce muscle aches and soften skin.
  • Exit and wash your body thoroughly; cool down again with a glass of water. ● Re-enter the sauna for your final visit of approximately 10 minutes. ● Cool down in a cold outdoor pool or by rolling in snow. You can also use a cool-to-cold indoor shower.
  • Lie down and relax for as long as you need to.
  • Drink at least one full glass of water, accompanied by a light snack. ● Once your body feels completely cooled down and has stopped perspiring, you can dress and exit the building.

Steam Room: 

  • Just as you would with a sauna, shower before entering a steam room. ● Sitting on a towel here is an absolute necessity, not only for reasons of etiquette, but to avoid the germs and bacteria which breed in moist heat. It’s also a good idea to wear shower shoes.
  • Limit your time in a steam room to 10 or 15 minutes.
  • Even though your skin will remain wet, you may become dehydrated in a steam room. Drink water before and after using.

Saunas provide a relaxing experience and multiple health benefits. It’s important to use a sauna safely, and to follow specific rules of etiquette. 

Saunas may be beneficial for a wide range of conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and depression. They’re not, however, appropriate for everyone. Check with your doctor before visiting a sauna, especially if you have an underlying medical condition, or are pregnant. 

Cold Bath: 

If you want to test the benefits of cold water therapy for yourself, here are some suggestions: 

  • Take warm-to-cold showers. Start with warm water and, after a few minutes, gradually drop the temperature.
  • Skip the warmup and go straight to a cold shower. This may be especially helpful if you’ve just finished working out.
  • Immerse yourself in an ice bath: Add ice to water until the temperature is between 50°F and 59°F (10°C and 15°C), and stay submerged for only 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Consider a short swim in colder waters. Be sure to follow the safety tips below

Cold water therapy, whether it’s a post-workout ice bath or a brisk shower, can benefit your health in several ways. 

It may help you: cut down on muscle soreness, cool down after a sweaty workout, get into a better mood, aid your immune system, boost your metabolism. 

Our recommended schedule:

Sauna: 15-20 minutes Steam room: 15-20 minutes Cold bath: 15 minutes