1. Sweating helps with detoxification.
“There's very good research that shows that when a person is sweating, they are releasing toxins, like heavy metals and volatile organic compounds (chemicals found in certain household products, for example),” says Jeffrey Morrison, MD, founder of The Morrison Center in New York City.
Sauna blankets (like this one from HigherDOSE, available at The Shop) heat the body and help with the detoxification process similar to how traditional saunas would, Morrison says. They may also temporarily increase blood flow.
2. Eight minutes is all it takes.
“Within the first eight minutes of sweating, whatever toxins are going to come out are going to come out,” Morrison says.
3. But 19 minutes has been linked with heart benefits.
In one study, compared to men who spent 11 minutes in the sauna, the risk of sudden cardiac death was 52 percent lower for those who spent more than 19 minutes sauna bathing. (The authors note that the recommended temperature for a sauna is usually ~176 to 212-degrees F.)
4. Post-workout could be an ideal time for performance perks.
In another study, trained subjects who used a (~213 to to 226-degree F) sauna after a workout an average of three times a week for up to 30 minutes increased their V02 Max by 10 percent after three weeks. Morrison adds that saunas have been found to enhance cardiac reserve (a health indicator) which could translate to helping with V02 Max, and therefore the quality of your workouts.
5. Proper hydration is key.
That goes for before, during, and after your sauna session. While you’re inside, Morrison recommends drinking water from a glass bottle since, he says, plastic bottles can leach when heated. Afterwards, consider putting electrolytes in your water to replace lost minerals.
6. A mindfulness practice is an easy add-on.
Use your time in the sauna or with a sauna blanket to practice mindfulness or meditation. If you’re safely able to use your phone in the sauna environment, cue up a HeadStrong meditation on the Equinox+ app.