Sauna and sweat seem like two inseparable concepts, so it can be quite weird to emerge from a sauna session without being drenched from head to toe, as your fellow sauna bathers seem to be.
Is this unthinkable? Is it cause for alarm? What should you do in such a case?
Read on to know more.
Sweating is a cooling measure that our bodies take to regulate the core temperature when external temperatures are too high, you’ve physically exerted yourself, or as a reaction to high amounts of stress.
Sweat glands are of two types in the human body—eccrine and apocrine. The former is what helps regulate the body’s temperature. When these glands get a whiff of rising temperatures, they release sweat and cool down the body.
Generally, in a sauna, sweating occurs within the first 15 or 20 minutes. If you’re one of those folks who doesn’t break a sweat (literally!) in the sauna, here are a few possible reasons why.
Each person sweats differently, with men sweating more and more easily than women. In some cases, the lack of sweating can be set right through various measures (including training yourself to sweat!), whereas in other cases, it could be a serious medical condition that requires attention.
We cover all of these reasons below:
- The Sauna Itself: Maybe you haven’t set the temperature right on the stove. Or maybe the thermostat isn’t functioning properly. Or maybe you didn’t preheat your sauna sufficiently.
The point is that failing to set up your sauna properly before the session could be the reason behind your lack of sweating.
- Body Temperature Before Entering the Sauna: If you were cold before you entered the sauna, you’re going to take much longer to warm up than the average 15-20 minutes.
- Age: The amount that we sweat decreases as we grow older, so this simple reason could be the cause behind your lack of sweating.
- Medical Issues: There are various medical conditions that could cause reduced sweating or a lack of it, such as diabetes, damage to the skin or nerves (especially the autonomic nerves), specific medicines, and hypohidrosis.
- Damp Skin: When there’s already water on your skin when you enter the sauna, your body isn’t going to see the need to produce more water to cool you off. Especially in dry saunas, where the heat is dry and there’s no steam, your skin will optimally heat up only when it’s completely dry.
- Dehydration: If you’re dehydrated, your body isn’t going to have enough water to spare for sweating. Hydrating sufficiently is vital before a sauna session.
Sometimes, it could also be that your body becomes used to heat stress from your sauna sessions, and hence, starts to sweat in lesser amounts over time. However, for some folks, the opposite could also be true, with sweating increasing as the regularity of your sauna sessions increases.
One of the main reasons that people spend time in a sauna is to sweat it out!
Sweating in the sauna is an indication that your body is heating up, which in turn means that your heart rate is increasing, your blood is circulating better, and vasodilation is taking place. All of these also benefit your skin and heart health.
Additionally, sweating in the sauna helps release toxins from your body, but it should be noted that this is only surface-level detoxification; your kidneys and liver are the real MVPs when it comes to detoxification.
However, that’s still a good thing, with the same benefits that a good exercise session can get you.
As mentioned earlier, unless it’s due to health and medical reasons, it’s completely normal to not sweat in a sauna.
Your sweating is impacted by various factors, as we saw above, so you may sweat more on certain days than others. Just because you aren’t sweating profusely, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t reaping the benefits of your sauna session though.
Sweating is one of the main points of a sauna, so it makes sense to want to induce more sweat if you feel you aren’t sweating sufficiently, and make the most of your sauna session.
Here are a few tips to get the sweat pouring!
Ensure that your stove and the sauna temperature are at the right levels and that all parts of your sauna are functioning properly.
For more intense heat, preheat your sauna sufficiently.
Always enter your sauna completely dry. If you shower before your sauna session, ensure that you dry off completely.
A hot shower before your sauna session may help you sweat more, as the shower will have already increased your core temperature by the time you step into the sauna.
- Hydrate sufficiently before you step into the sauna so that your body has sufficient water reserves to call on internally when it needs to sweat.
- There are products that can help you sweat. A sweat amplification cream, like the Sunlighten Pure Sweat, may help you sweat more in the sauna.
- It may come as a surprise, but you can train your body to sweat! Regular sauna usage may train your body to respond to the heat stress by sweating. As mentioned earlier, many folks find that as they increase the frequency of their sauna sessions, their sweat response also improves.
It’s important to note that sometimes, even if you don’t feel like it, you’re already sweating in the sauna. The dry interiors of the sauna could be causing your sweat to evaporate, so even on days when you feel like you aren’t sweating, you very well could be.
If you feel like you aren’t sweating sufficiently, even with all the sweat-amplifying measures above, visit a doctor. It is always recommended that you start regular sauna bathing only after checking with your doctor and the same applies to insufficient sweating.
However, bear in mind that though one of the points of a sauna is sweating, the more important point is to relax. So unless you have a medical condition that needs attention, focus on the relaxing part instead of calculating your gains based on the amount you sweat!