Whirlpool and Finnish Sauna
How do I use a whirlpool?
Whirlpools help to provide near weightless heat to the body, aiding in muscle recovery by facilitating muscle relaxation and increasing circulation. Never use heat immediately after a sprain, strain, or painful injury, but rather, limit swelling and circulation by using ice on the area of injury, and keeping it elevated. There is a diminishing return of wet or steam heat therapy after 20 minutes, and the body should be allowed to return to room temperature to prevent hyperthermia and dehydration.
A sauna does much more for the body than cause loss in water weight. As ambient temperature exceeds physiological temperature (98oC), your body must cool itself to prevent detrimental hyper-metabolic activity.
The process of cooling requires energy (regulation of salt concentrations via transporters etc.), and consumption of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. By increasing your body temperature regularly, you can slightly increase your metabolic rate by decreasing required energy of activation (thermo-catalysis). Increasing metabolic rate can have weight loss impacts over a period of weeks and months. Please note that the effects of dry heat (such as the authentic Finnish saunas at Columbus Fit, LLC) are somewhat different than those of a steam room. Steam rooms have greater skin cleansing properties but inhibit the ability of a body to cool itself via evaporation (because ambient humidity is already high, water evaporation from the skin is decreased relative to precipitation). Dry heat is tolerated better than humid heat.
Ideally sauna slowly and controllably puts your body into "heat shock", which requires activation of protective mechanisms within the body including the expression of heat shock proteins (called HSPs). HSPs bind to many structural proteins of your muscle and other tissues, protecting them from "thermodynamic unraveling" as temperatures rise. Because HSPs are expressed prolifically during extended periods of high body temperature, it is a good idea to consume high amounts of protein, including protein supplements, to replace lost amino acids during the process of HSP expression. HSPs are a group of proteins known as molecular chaperones, and often target proteins of the mitochondria to stabilize energy producing reactions. Obviously without energy, we cease to function. This is especially true in resistance and strength training athletes, who are already protein challenged to replace torn muscle fiber.
Use of a sauna also expands the arteries, arterioles, and capillaries of your circulatory system, a process known as vasodilation. Increased circulation provides increased delivery of nutrients to recovering muscle (following strength training or cardiovascular training) and increases metabolic waste removal. Vasodilation is associated with relaxation, decreases in psychological stress and stress hormone secretion (corticosteroid hormones), improved immune function, and greater attention span to name a few. Saunas also induce changes in lipid metabolism in your body, as membrane fluidity increases with temperature. Decreases in serum cholesterol are associated with an increased ability of the cell membranes to accommodate membrane cholesterol, which occurs during mild heat shock.
The primary risk of sauna use is hyperthermia. Never sleep in a sauna.
Always set the timer for no more than 30 minutes. Make sure the thermostat is set for no more than 120 oC. Be sure to consume plenty of fluids, salts, and proteins to replace those lost during sauna use. If you encounter someone who appears to be sleeping in a sauna, ask them if they are OK. If they do not respond ask desk for help to pull them into a cool shower. 20 minutes is the minimum time required to burn fat calories.