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Saunas - Healthy at Any Age

by Emmanuel DeFreitas

I have always liked to say that time in the sauna is time well spent, especially if you are accompanied by family or special friends. The one thing you surely want to guarantee is that the safety and comfort of your family and guests is your utmost priority. Two crucial things to never forget are the usual caveats of no food at least one hour prior to going into the sauna, and definitely, positively, no booze. Alcohol detracts from the entire sauna experience and digestion places an enormous demand on your system as a whole. Another consideration is the possible side effects of a sauna on people in different age groups.

Children as a whole do well in saunas but since their sweat glands are not as well developed as in an adult, they do tend to prefer lower temperatures. There are at least three possible solutions. The first is to make sure the temperature is in the more tolerable range to accommodate the children. Although this may impede the preferences of the adults, it is after all, a family affair. Another possible solution would be to make sure the children are on the lowest bench where the temperature is slightly more supportable for them. The third solution would be to fire up the sauna as usual and let the children stay as long as they are contented and allow them to leave before the adults are finished.

In Finland where there is a ratio of one sauna for every five individuals, it is not unusual to see elderly people into their eighties and beyond regularly using saunas. Almost ninety percent of people over the age of eighty years of age still take saunas regularly in Finland. This statistic is a true testament to the health benefits associated with sauna use. How do you think they got to be that age in the first place?

The story for older individuals is slightly different if you do not live in Finland or have not been habituated to regular sauna use. For an older individual to start taking saunas at an advanced age may be a little more difficult. The trick is to ease into the experience of regular sauna use gradually and resist the urge to make up for lost years all at once. Again, I must stress, the safety and comfort of the individual is paramount, regardless of the age.

To quote Dr. Jonathan L. Halperin, Professor of internal medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, " Moderate sauna use is safe for most older people, but diabetics and anyone being treated for heart or circulatory conditions should check with their doctor, particularly if they are taking medications" (quoted by Dorothy Berinstein in Good Housekeeping, 1995).

The health benefits from regular sauna use are well documented. Just ask any Finn over the age of eighty. We in North America and other parts of the world where saunas are not used by a large percentage of the population have a lot of catching up to do. Today is as good a day to start as any. Enjoy your sauna.

Utopia Sauna Steam

Note: Di Vapor is not responsible for the views, opinions or advice represented in the articles on this site. You are advised to seek medical advice before following any such information.



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