Dear Dr. Mo: Is sauna really healthy and should I go there when I have a flu?
Dear reader: When you are in most saunas, its dry heat, which can become as high as 85° C (in some saunas, even higher), can have some intense effects on the body.
Your skin temperature spikes to about 40° C within minutes. The average person will pour out a half a liter of sweat during a short stay in a sauna.
The heart rate jumps by 30% or more, allowing the heart to approximately double the amount of blood it pumps out each minute (its minute volume).
Stress hormones ACTH and Cortisol rise substantially while Adrenalin and Noradrenaline are reduced; other changes in hormonal balances happen as well.
These effects (vigorous sweating, increased heart rate and hormonal changes) are similar to those induced by a moderate exercise, which is why saunas could be so appealing.Circulation patterns change while in sauna and most of the extra blood flow is directed to the skin, which becomes reddish; the circulation actually diverts blood away from the internal organs.
Blood pressure in saunas is always unpredictable, rising in some people but falling in others, which might be a health risk for some people with blood pressure problems. Saunas generally should not be considered as a therapeutic approach to hyper or hypotension – visit your doctor first. Continue reading