The Level 11 Spa: Saunas Aren’t Just For Pampering
17 January 2019
With the ubiquity of health and wellness in contemporary culture, we see saunas in virtually every fitness center and spa. And if you’re like many people, you tend to walk right past them and think, “that sauna looks nice and rustic, but sitting in that dry heat isn’t for me!” Please read on to learn more about why you should fit some quality sauna time into your busy schedule.
The word sauna is a Finnish word which refers to the traditional Finnish bath or bathhouse. And while saunas were common across Europe through the Middle Ages, the fear of disease diminished the sauna culture across much of the continent. They have remained an essential part of Finnish culture, so even today you’ll find saunas built into almost every home.
From a functional perspective, saunas are quite simple; they use stoves called kiuas to heat up a pile of rocks, which in turn warm the air inside the sauna. The rocks are typically unweathered quarried rock such as peridotite or basalt, which have the ability to withstand very high temperatures without cracking or exploding, absorb the heat, and continue to radiate it throughout the surrounding air. To increase the intensity of heat inside the sauna, water is poured onto the rocks, which generates more steam and in turn increases the level of heat. And of course part of the magic of a sauna is regulating the temperature — which is ideal at 176˚ Fahrenheit — by periodically dousing the rocks with water.
How can anyone stand that kind of heat? Lack of moisture. Moist heat feels hotter because the moisture in the air restricts the sweat from evaporating and cooling your body. In contrast, the dryness of the heat in a sauna keeps the high temperature bearable, and the wood interior, including the seating, remains cool at high temperatures, and helps to absorb some of the steam. The use of a fragrant wood, typically cedar, also provides a beautifully aromatic experience while simultaneously enhancing decor.
Health and Lifestyle Benefits
Just 15 minutes in a sauna is long enough for the steam and high heat to cause you to perspire. Many people think of this as sweating out “impurities” or toxins in the body, but this is not the case. Sweating in a sauna releases no more toxins then sweating normally. Exposure to the dry heat of a sauna for a limited duration helps exercise the bodies blood vessels, which in turn helps the heart function properly. This is what makes you feel refreshed when exiting a sauna.
Research has shown that 30 minutes in a sauna can lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, which can reduce the risk of vascular diseases such as high blood pressure. Blood flow is increased to the skin, which causes the heart to beat faster to regulate the additional circulation. These conditions simulate a state in the body similar to a fever, which increases metabolism, white blood cell count and lymphatic drainage. In addition to the vascular benefits, saunas are great for opening pores and cleaning the skin, as well as helping with dry skin conditions. The dryness of the heat can also help to open clogged respiratory passages.
The Level 11 Spa at 1000M features a state-of-the-art sauna, plus a steam room for a wet heat experience. Other amenities of the spa include Hot and Cold plunge pools for controlled hydrotherapy, Ice therapy for cryotherapy routines, as well as a Virtual Meditation lounge. Visit our features page to learn more about the Level 11 Spa experience.