I am going to a spa with some friends in a few weeks to start our New Year’s resolution (a little late due to some scheduling problems) of detoxifying and losing weight. None of us have used a steam room before so we have a few questions. What should you wear in the Steam Room, Sauna and Jacuzzi? How long should you stay in a steam room and do you shower before or after a sauna?
Beth in Boulder, Colorado
These are a general rule of spa etiquette; however, it is best to check with the specific spa for their policies.
If the steam room, sauna or Jacuzzi is co-ed, you should wear a bathing suit (spa suit) made from natural fibers and free of dyes. If the facility have separate accommodations for men and women, then generally the wearing of a bathing suit is optional. In single sexed steam room or sauna, you may go in just wrapped in a towel. While some individuals may choose to be completely disrobed during their time in the Sauna or steam room, they should always sit on a towel for their own safety and proper sanitation. The wood in saunas may get very hot and you could burn your skin, and the sanitation level of the tile or seating area that people have been sweating on is not the most sanitary for your private areas.
Reebok has answered the needs of spa customers with its Water Fitness collection, a group of suits, $70 to $80, made to withstand the rigors of aquatic exercise. This line of suits meets the criteria for a spa suit. You can wear it in chlorine Jacuzzis yet it is breathable enough for a steam room. I also like the fact that the material is anti fungal and anti bacterial. . The Xtra Life Lycra and the new Endurotex fabrics are said to extend the life of the suit by resisting chlorine, holding color, retaining shape and offering UV protection.
The fabric featured excellent breathability, stretch and support and a fast drying time. The built-in bra cups added shape and style. Most impressive, the light but supportive Silver Lining added a reassuring list of features: Silver particles woven into the lining claim to fight fungi and bacteria and minimize the acrid, chlorine odors.
Before entering any public facility (swimming pool, whirlpool, sauna ect.) visitors are expected to shower. Visitors should bring their towels with them into the sauna and wear the slippers that the spa provides. Customs regarding bathing suits in public facilities vary. Many visitors just wear a towel in the sauna and or steam room, but visitors who are uncomfortable are more than welcome to wear a swimsuit.
Guidelines for the Steam room, Shower and Sauna.
Do Not use the steam room or sauna if you are:
Pregnant or could be pregnant the sauna/steam room should be avoided throughout the pregnancy since the rising of the internal core body temperature could result in the fetus suffering ill effects
Suffer from heart disease, circulatory problems, hi or low blood pressure or from any condition which may affect your reaction to heat or any condition which makes you unsure of the advisability of using saunas also include kidney disease and diabetes for steam rooms.
If you are unsure then it is always best to consult your doctor or physician
Allow the body to return to normal temperature if you have been exercising. Undress and place belongings in a locker wear an all natural fiber swimsuit (without metal), or wrap in a towel.
Before you enter a sauna you should do a body check. Look for any metal on your body. Some bathing suits have metal zippers or rings. Also, if you are wearing any rings, necklaces or anklets, these will have to come off before you open the door of the sauna. If your bathing suit has metal on it, it would be best to change into another suit before going into the sauna. The reason for this is because metal heats up very quickly, and touching it will burn your skin.
Remove make up and enjoy a warm, cleansing shower.
Enter the sauna cabin and sit or lie on a towel, on a bench at a height that is comfortable (the higher levels will be hotter)
Relax for 8 to 10 minutes in the dry heat. This will raise the body temperature and the perspiration will cleanse the pores of the skin.
Before becoming too uncomfortable leave the sauna and immediately take a cool shower to close the pores. Be aware that sudden extreme changes in temperature induced by cold showers can cause shock Check with your physician prior to use.
Return to the sauna for a further 5-10 minutes, if you are feeling discomfort leave right away. Do not exceed 20-30 minutes To much exposure can result in nausea, dizziness and fainting.
When you are ready to complete the sauna take a final cool shower and wrap yourself in a towel.
Relax for 15-20 minutes, or until the body temperature has returned to near normal then take a warm shower before dressing.
Whilst using the sauna always drink plenty of fluids water (non-alcoholic)
If at any time in the sauna you start to feel ill or discomfort, leave the sauna immediately seek medical advice if necessary.
Be aware that:
When you enter or exit a sauna or steam room make sure the door is fully closed.
The warmest part of a sauna is diagonally opposite the stove. The higher benches are the warmest. The sauna controls should only be adjusted by spa personnel.
Contact lenses and glasses should not be worn in the sauna.
The sauna is intended to be dry heat, it should not be so dry that it is uncomfortable to nose and throat.
How often should I use a steam room or Sauna?
You should, check with your doctor to see what is best for you. However, a general rule of thumb for a person in excellent health is 3 times a week for 20 minutes. You may need to work up to this, and you should always listen to your own body, adhering to all precautions above.