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Sauna/Steam and weight loss?

Read this tonight

"Although weight loss due to perspiration (water loss) is quickly regained, sending more blood to the capillaries and converting fats and carbohydrates results in as much as 600 calories burned during one short sauna session.

A single sauna session will burn as many calories as you would during rowing for 30 minutes. Weight loss occurs because body fat becomes water-soluble at 43ºC and the body can sweat it out."

Wed. Jul 27, 9:09pm

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This makes all the sense in the world. I'd love to do this... but I can barely spend 2 minutes in a Sauna or Steam bath. For whatever reason, it makes me uncomfortable. I'd welcome any tips on getting used to it.

Thursday, July 28, 2005, 7:55 AM

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Well the one thing that is certain is that Sauna really gives your internal organs a workout, and that the detox benefits are probably very good. I always feel great after a Sauna.

Thursday, July 28, 2005, 8:13 AM

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I took a Sauna yesterdaif nothing else it will warm you up.

Friday, February 16, 2007, 9:30 AM

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I totally believe this.

I love the sauna and after I take a sauna I already feel thinner and much healthier. I also notice that I don't want to eat very much on the day I take a sauna.

Plus, it gives you REALLY great skin. It opens up your pores and you sweat out all the junk that was stored up in there.

Saunas are the best things in winter - it really gives you that glow you usually only get during the summertime!

Friday, February 16, 2007, 10:54 AM

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sweat lodges are awesome, too!

Friday, February 16, 2007, 11:15 AM

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I'm not the usual spam alarmist, but the site mentione by 10:01 REEKS.

The link takes you to a site with nothing about saunas and insidiously pushes a weight loss drug. It looks like a very doctorly, clinical, trustworthy source of unbiased information, but every page pushes a prescription drug called Proactol. And the weight loss pill review, you'll notice it's the only drug with TM all over it. Very flawed, and very unwelcome.

Saturday, March 24, 2007, 10:25 PM

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how long is a short session to burn 600 calories??

Sunday, March 25, 2007, 10:53 AM

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Be aware that the OP's link is referring to infrared saunas which are different than steam rooms or traditional dry heat saunas. Infrared heat uses light energy to heat you. This means that the air temperature isn't as hot in an infra red sauna as others, but it will increase your temperature. Moreover, infrared saunas *according to literature* deliver heat deeper into you than other saunas.

Infrared saunas *apparently* burn 600 calories in a 30 min session. This however cannot be translated to mean that 30 min in a steam room/sweatlodge/dry sauna will burn 600 calories.

(And as a disclaimer, I'm only saying what I've been told as I sell the saunas, but I don't own one- I use a dry sauna at the pool where I swim)

Sunday, March 25, 2007, 4:40 PM

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I love an old school sweat lodge. We made a sweat lodge last year in N. Wisc. and it was so fun and miserable :) I loved it!

Sunday, March 25, 2007, 8:00 PM

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Me too. I love the sauna. Too bad I feel to fat to go in.

Monday, March 26, 2007, 3:44 PM

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whoever says a sauna melts fat out the sweat glands is full of hooey. Sweat glands secrete water and some electrolytes, and maybe pheromones (in the armpits and groin). I did look up in Pubmed about whether there is scientific evidence for the benefits of saunas and it does get the circulation and blood flow going (for thermoregulation - trying to get rid of the heat, the heart pumps blood to the skin). There are beneficial effects to the lining of the blood vessels (endothelium) and some vasodilator activity is increased, among other things. So I was quite impressed. Has anyone tried the FIR kinds (that are pretty cheap if you want a home version) compared to the regular steam kind? As to the person who can only stand a couple of minutes in the heat, you need to acclimate yourself slowly maybe increasing it by a minute until you can stand it for 15 minutes. This may take you a couple of weeks. Otherwise, people can faint because all the blood goes to the skin. Be sure to drink water, because it is water that you are losing. You can get dehydrated if you sweat too much.

Monday, March 26, 2007, 8:53 PM

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I think it's a crock. If it really worked, why would anyone diet and exercise to loose weight???

Sure, you can loose tons of weight if you sit in a sauna, but not because you are burning calories; it's because you are sweating and loosing tons of water.

I'll say it again - it's a crock.

Even if it wasn't a crock, it's not a replacement for the benfits of exercise and a healthy diet.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007, 2:22 PM

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Our methods of eliminating toxins in the body are few. We are limited to the feces, the urine, perspiration and respiration. When the liver, kidneys and lungs have been damaged by chronic exposure to environmental toxins our ability to rid our bodies of toxins becomes severely limited. Through various methods we can cleanse the liver and kidneys, which will help address future toxins, but we are still left with the fat-stored (lipophilic) toxins and heavy metals stored in connective tissue and the brain. Today, studies show that most of us have between 400 and 800 chemical residues stored in the fat cells of our bodies. These chemicals and heavy metals make up the "total toxic burden." When our bodies exceed the limit that we can excrete, we begin to store these toxins. This bioaccumulation seriously compromises our physiological and psychological health and leads to chronic disease. Perspiration is recognized by health practitioners worldwide as perhaps the most effective method of removing both difficult chemical and heavy metal toxins from the body. The combination of "resonant absorption" and low heat makes this the detox method of choice for chronically ill patients as well as those that are well and wish to stay that way by reducing their "toxic burden".

Perspiration comes from small sweat glands. These are small organs located in the skin. Due to certain stimuli, nervous or humoral they will secrete sweat which in turn helps with thermal regulation. There are two main types of sweat glands eccrine glands and apocrine glands. The eccrine glands are controlled by the sympathetic chain. As part of the physiological regulation of body temperature, the skin will begin to sweat almost precisely at 37°C and the perspiration will increase rapidly with increasing skin temperature. A man of average weight throws off through the skin during 24 hours about 18 ounces of water, 300 grains of solid matter, and 400 grains of carbonic acid gas. Ordinarily, this constant exhalation is not apparent, and the excretion is then termed insensible perspiration.

The cooling effect of perspiration evaporation makes use of the very large heat of vaporization of water. This heat of vaporization is 540 calories/gm at the boiling point, but is even larger, 580 cal/gm, at the normal skin temperature. Even when one is unaware of perspiration, physiology texts quote an amount of about 600 grams per day of "insensate loss" of moisture from the skin. Guyton reports that a normal maximum perspiration rate is about 1.5 liters/hour, but that after 4 to 6 weeks of acclimatization in a tropical climate, it can reach 3.5 liters/hr! You would have to just sit around drinking constantly, just to keep from getting dehydrated! That maximum rate corresponds to a maximum cooling power of almost 2.4 kilowatts!

A 30 minute sauna creates approximately the same amount of perspiration as a 10 kilometer run. As your body increases sweat production to cool itself, your heart works harder to boost circulation, thus improving your cardiovascular system. Your immune system is also strengthened because when your body temperature is raised, your systems fight this "artificial fever". Sweating helps detoxify your body, by removing the accumulation of potentially carcinogenic heavy metals as well as alcohol, nicotine, sodium and cholesterol. Profuse perspiration also deeply cleanses the skin, creating beautiful and improved tone, texture, and color. A single sauna session will burn as many calories as you would during rowing for 30 minutes. Weight loss occurs because body fat becomes water-soluble at 43ºC and the body can sweat it out.

Steam vs. Sauna

Hippocrates, the founder of modern medicine wrote more than two thousand years ago "Give me the power to create a fever, and I shall cure any disease." During a fever the functioning of the immune system is stimulated, whilst the growth of bacteria and virus is forced to slow down. Fever is the body's defense against bacteria, microbes and consequent infection. This beneficial side effect triggers the production of white blood cells (leukocytes) by your bone marrow and killer T cells by your thymus. The result is immune system improvement. The production of white blood cells, the primary agents of the immune system, is increased, as is the rate of their release into the blood stream. The generation of antibodies speeds up, as does the production of interferon, an anti viral protein that also has powerful healing properties.

So what does this mean in terms of having a steam or sauna bath? Simple, steam and sauna baths produce the desired temperature rise in the body similar to a fever by a process called hyperthermia. However, there is a distinct difference between steam and sauna. The steam, which is condensed vapor formed by heating water, is wet and humid in nature. While the sauna is partially dry, where water is splashed on heated stones to raise the humidity level to as much as 40%. Without that the hot dry air of the sauna can irritate and burn the mucus membranes.

Steam bathing whether it is dry (sauna) or wet (steam) has been considered as one of the simplest ways to rid the body of toxins. As the pores in the skin open up millions of sweat glands start to excrete, the body rids itself of metabolic and other waste products. Sweat contains almost the same elements as urine and for this reason, the skin is sometimes called the third kidney. It is estimated that as much as 30% of bodily wastes are eliminated by way of perspiration.

The effectiveness of hyperthermia directly correlates with the ability to eliminate heat loss during a steam bath. As the body's temperature begins to rise, the body's natural response is to perspire so that the evaporation of the perspiration will cool the body. In a sauna heat, undesirable cooling undermines hyperthermia by the natural evaporation process and allows toxin filled perspiration to dry on the skin. However, in a steam bath, evaporation is not possible and therefore it allows little or no loss of valuable body heat. You still perspire as heavily, it just does not evaporate and dry on the skin. The higher moisture level actually causes condensation on the body to become the primary heat transfer mechanism additionally heating the body. The powerful cleansing and healing process of hyperthermia does not take place until the body reaches 101° F- 103° F. This is accomplished quicker and more effectively in a steam bath than a sauna and only requires 10 to 15 minutes.

Another benefit of steam bathing is that it has a stimulating effect on the cardiovascular system. The pulse rate increases from 75 beats per minute (average) to between 100 - 150 beats per minute during a 15 - 20 minute session. This increases blood circulation but not blood pressure, since the heat causes the tiny blood vessels in the skin to expand, accommodating the increased blood flow.

Steam bathing and thus steam inhalation is an effective treatment in respiratory conditions and is highly recommended for the treatment of the common cold, sinusitis, bronchitis, allergies and asthma.

1. Steam relieves inflammation and congestion of the upper respiratory membranes.

2. Steam relieves throat irritation by moistening the air.

3. Steam relieves spasmodic breathing (asthma, croup).

4. Steam loosens secretions and stimulates discharges of mucous from the throat and lungs.

5. Steam relaxes muscles and relieves coughing.

6. Steam keeps the mucous membranes from excessive drying.

Thursday, April 05, 2007, 4:37 PM

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Weight Control

Detoxifying the body helps in weight loss. People who have unsuccessfully tried many diets often find success with far infrared saunas because they are able eliminate chemicals stored in the fat cells. This makes weight loss much easier.

A Sauna assists in weight loss in three significant ways:

1. It effectively reduces heavy metals which have been directly related to metabolic imbalances in the body causing poor digestion and weight gain.

2. It decreases fat stored (lipophilic) toxins. Often weight loss cannot be accomplished unless these toxins are first removed.

3. Although weight loss due to perspiration (water loss) is quickly regained, sending more blood to the capillaries and converting fats and carbohydrates results in as much as 600 calories burned during one short sauna session.

Thursday, April 05, 2007, 4:37 PM

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Dr Weil on sauna and your health

Dr Weil on sauna and your health

I've heard totally varied opinions on the benefits/hazards of saunas and steam baths. What's your opinion?

To me, the benefits far outweigh any hazards. If you're in reasonable health, the benefits of a sauna or steam bath are great. If you have high blood pressure or heart disease, saunas may be good for you, but you'll want to be cautious; check with your physician first, and go easy. And with either of these conditions, it's not a good idea to jump right into cold water afterward, as Finns always do.

When you take a sauna, the heat pumps up blood circulation near the skin and stimulates sweating. The Finns say a proper sauna elicits about a quart of sweat per hour. I generally encourage sweating. It helps the body rid itself of unwanted materials and improves general circulation. In medieval times, healers relied on saunas to cure illnesses, and priests used their heat to chase away evil spirits.

In the United States there's a lot of concern about pregnant women taking steam baths or saunas. A study published four years ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association found some association between neural-tube defects and heat exposure from saunas, hot tubs, and fever during the first three months of pregnancy. (Neural-tube defects include anencephaly and spina bifida, both disastrous abnormalities.) The biggest problem was hot tubs, which pregnant women should approach cautiously.

Interestingly, though, in Finland it's not uncommon for doctors to give the OK on saunas from conception all the way up to the day of delivery - and there, neural-tube defects are very low. In fact, in Finland saunas were once a traditional place for childbirth. It's worth noting that Finnish women tend to stay in the sauna for six to twelve minutes, and they shorten that time during pregnancy. Also, saunas raise the body's core temperature insignificantly compared to hot tubs.

Finnish saunas also tend to be different from most US versions - unless these are run by Scandinavians. In Finland, saunas are usually heated by a wood stove. First there's a dry phase that can get hotter than 200° F. Then the participants splash water on the stove and spend some time in the steam. Many US saunas employ an electric stove, which you can't put water on. So you're just exposed to dry heat, which I find irritating to my respiratory passages. Some saunas in health clubs are set to a lukewarm temperature. Turn up the heat.

Even if you're in a very hot steam bath or sauna, it's mostly the temperature of the surface of your body that goes up. As it increases, blood vessels dilate, and circulation in the skin climbs. As resistance to blood flow through your veins and capillaries drops, your blood pressure goes down. Then your heartbeat increases to keep blood pressure normal.

Finns always follow a sauna with a plunge into cold water. I find this incredibly refreshing and enjoyable, and healthy as well. Then you relax afterwards.

The main risk of a sauna is staying in too long and fainting from overheating. People who are most susceptible to this are those with heart disease or who have been using drugs or alcohol. It really isn't a good idea to combine drinking or other drugs with a sauna or hot tub. Children should not use saunas without supervision.

Also, be sure you drink plenty of water, to replace the water you're losing.

By the way, the correct pronunciation is sow-na, not saw-na.

Thursday, April 05, 2007, 4:45 PM

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Wikipedia Entry on Sauna Health

During a 10-20 minute sauna session, the heart rate increases by 50-75%. The increased cardiac load is the equivalent to a brisk walk. There is a nominal effect on blood pressure because the heat also causes blood vessels in skin to expand to accommodate increased blood flow.

Blood vessels become more flexible [1] and there is increased circulation to the extremities. During a sauna, blood flow to the skin increases to as high as 50-70% of cardiac output (compared to the standard 5-10%). This is due to the blood vessels in the skin's surface expanding to accommodate the increased blood flow, a process known as vasodilation. This increased blood flow brings important nutrients to subcutaneous and surface tissue, promoting cellular activity and growth.[citation needed] It is especially beneficial to areas of the skin which normally suffer from poor circulation. Along with nourishing the skin, the high temperatures also cause the skin's 2 million eccrine glands to excrete sweat to cool down the skin and blood capillaries. Research has shown that sweat is much more effective than water at emulsifying fat located in the skin's sebaceous glands, and thus at removing the sebum and bacteria lodged in the fat.[citation needed] The vasodilation caused by the high temperatures also allows essential fluids to be transported to the skin's surface. This enhances the development of collagen, giving the skin a continued elasticity and wrinkle-free complexion.

Steambaths and saunas induce perspiring to provide a comprehensive cleansing of the skin and sweat glands. Skin is the largest organ in the body. 30% of body wastes are passed through the skin.[citation needed] Profuse sweating enhances the detoxifying capacity of the skin by opening pores and flushing impurities from the body.[citation needed]

When taking a sauna, skin temperature rises to 40°C (104°F) and internal body temperature rises to about 38°C (100.4°F). Exposure to the high heat creates an artificial fever state, a process known as hyperthermia. Fever is part of the body’s natural healing process. Fever stimulates the immune system, resulting in increased production of disease fighting white blood cells, antibodies and interferon (an anti viral protein with cancer fighting capability).[citation needed]

Steam inhalation is an excellent treatment for many respiratory problems. For example, the moist air in saunas can relieve throat irritation. Steam also loosens secretions and can stimulate discharge of mucous from the lungs and throat, giving relief to sufferers of bronchitis. Finally steam can also aid sinusitis by relieving congestion and inflammation of the upper respiratory mucous membranes. An occasional secondary occurrence caused by breathing in the steam-- In some cases and with some people, if they have a weak respiratory system, example; the infection of a common cold or sore throat, may be carried into the lungs causing it to spread. This is uncommon but does occur. However, to counter this from happening a small opening for the head in the wall of the sauna at the level of the seat will allow the persons head to be outside the sauna (on a small shelf) and thus the benefit of the 38°C (100.4°F) still takes place without the fear of increasing the infection.

The heat also kills all kinds of bacteria and insects, e.g. lice. This knowledge was used widely during the Winter War and Continuation War when Finnish troops were forced to sauna (although the unclean conditions in the field made it unnecessary to force them). While the men were in their sauna, their equipment was in another. This cleansed both very effectively while Russians had problems with many diseases.[2]

However, it should be noted, people with heart problems may be at risk due to blood pressure unpredictably rising or lowering after using a sauna. People with stable coronary artery disease are generally safe in a sauna, but people with uncontrollable heart problems may be advised to stay away from a Sauna by a doctor in order to avoid possible complications. People with autoimmune disorders may also be at risk.

Thursday, April 05, 2007, 4:55 PM

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getting comfortable

I used to be really uncorfotable in the steam room. feels like you cant breath. I take a damp towel and a water bottle put the towel over your mouth and breath into it everytime you start to feel that way. it worked for me

Thursday, April 05, 2007, 5:24 PM

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oh no! is your sauna fitted w/ a filter!!! those vapors!

sorry, had to say it!!

Thursday, April 05, 2007, 11:30 PM

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"MELT away the fat"

i am in a health class for one of my university course. This sauna thought is ridiculous - i live for saunas in the summer at my camp..and i would be a stick by now...anways it sounds like the myth "melt away the fat" you CANNOT melt away fat by raising your body temperature. Fat melts a ridiculously high temperature - nothing that a human could survive. The only thing ur losing in a sauna is water, and some electrolytes ...but i admit saunas do wonders, they make you "feel" thinner, and cleansed and good for the skin

Monday, April 09, 2007, 1:14 AM

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Bump - for the sauna/steam poster who didn't use the search window.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008, 10:19 AM

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get a life - bumper - or a how about a paying job as a researcher

Wednesday, January 09, 2008, 12:09 PM

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what the **** does Bump mean?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008, 1:02 PM

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decrease fat with sauna

In summary, the sauna will remove excessive moisture, heavy metals, salt, and ... Weight loss is possible because body fat becomes less solid at 110°F and the ...


Sunday, January 11, 2009, 9:26 AM

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I use INFAR ED Sauna... I started out at a tmp. of 110 for 15 min. The heat in this type of sauna is not as intense as a steam hot heat. And you don't need to sweat to gain benefits from this . This is highly recommended for anyone , high blood pressure people , people who wear pace makers, people llooking to burn calories .. you can burn up to 600 calories sitting for 30 min. and if the heat is too much crack the door, you still gain the benefits. I am now able to stay 30 min. at 125. This penetrates down into 4-6 inches into the body entering cells moving toxins, wastes out of the body drinking water while in there is highly recommended. Noticeable things on a regular bases of usage, pores are opened, skin has a healthier glow, mind is clearer, more energy, urine clearer, over all great feeling . This along with healthier eating habits, exercise, hydrating are all goals I have been using and that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Ilove how I feel coming out of a 30 min. session.

Sunday, January 11, 2009, 12:32 PM

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does it really help..

i hve been workin out since da past 2weeks now!!i wrk on da treadmill and burn abt 600 cals!!how long does it take to loose 600 cals in da steam room...wat r da best clothes 2 wear during this.........send me a reply as soon as possible!!!thank u

Monday, January 19, 2009, 2:37 PM

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Wow! That sure is alot of information we have on this thread. what does OP mean anyway?

Monday, January 19, 2009, 8:21 PM

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I have an infrared sauna and loved to use the sauna several times a week. Unfortunately due to good old menopause, saunas are the worst thing for people who get hot flashes, it just seems to bring more of them on. I can't wait tilI I no longer get hot flashes so that I can get back into our sauna.
By the way, when I was using the sauna frequently and with regularity, i didn't notice any weight loss. I just like the way it made me feel.

Monday, January 19, 2009, 10:01 PM

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people will type 'bump' in a forum to bring the conversation back to the top of the list.

it revives the conversation...sometimes.

op is original poster

what an interesting thread.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009, 11:13 PM

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Saturday, September 25, 2010, 7:02 PM

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Sauna and steam can really help get the toxins out of your system. Even if you can't afford it at the gym, I remember reading a story where a woman set her dryer in her small laundry room to high and made the room really hot until she sweat. Both sauna and steam are a great way to detox.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 11:13 AM

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 8:23 PM

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