Bath, sauna – harm and benefit, indications andcontraindications, rules for making bath procedures

Update: October 2018

Bath is a place of traditional pastime one or
several evenings during each week for many people.

  • Some consider the bath a powerful wellness treatment.
  • Others – rest for body and soul
  • Still others are a serious risk factor for a number of diseases.

Each of these theories has its own truth, in which we will understand
in this article. Baths are an active method of heat exposure.
on the surface of the body and the respiratory system at high temperatures.
The therapeutic effect of bath procedures is aimed at eliminating
Some functional changes in the body:

  • increase in reserve of respiratory and cardiovascular systems
  • acceleration of blood and lymph microcirculation
  • improved immune reactivity.

Classification and types of baths

The type of bath is determined by the specific microclimate of the heat chamber
(steam rooms):

  • Traditional Russian bath is characterized by saturation of air.
    steam rooms with steam that forms a mist with 100% humidity.
    The air temperature in the Russian steam room is 40-50 C.
  • Roman bath is different heated by dry air, the temperature
    which in the room tepidarium is 40-45 C, and in the heat chamber
    – 60-70 C. Hot air is supplied through the holes in
    floor or walls.
  • Turkish bath – in it the air temperature reaches 40-50 C,
    humidity is regulated by warming the water in the boilers and
    often reaches 100%.
  • Finnish sauna – different from all other special
    microclimate: air temperature reaches 70-100 C, gradient
    temperatures in the floor and ceiling areas is 60 C, and the relative
    humidity in the range of 10-15%.
  • Japanese bath – means bathing in barrels with temperature
    40 and then 60 C. The humidity in the room can also reach
  • IR sauna (infrared) – gives heated air up to 45-60 C and
    humidity 45-65%. It is believed that the infrared sauna is good
    for an organism with minimal health risks, therefore this
    type of bath many people are mounted, even in apartments.

Is bathing good or bad?

The physiological effect of the bath is directly related to the indicator
air humidity. Steam bath always leads to more
significant functional shifts and faster overheating than
dry air. Inhalation of hot steam makes it difficult
gas exchange and evaporation of sweat, and on the pulmonary circulation system
account for a significant load.

The greatest danger posed by the action of elevated
temperatures on the body is the activation of cell regeneration in
malignant in the presence of precancerous diseases about which
you can not guess, as well as with hereditary
risk of oncology. Since after 40 years the risk of neoplasms
increases significantly, this category of people just does not follow
turn the bath into a lifelong hobby.

The positive effect of baths and saunas

In this paragraph, we consider the main aspects of a positive
the effects of the microclimate of the bath and sauna on a healthy body when strictly
dosage of temporary exposure, agreed with the doctor, as well as
damage to the body bath procedures.

Body system

Positive influence

Negative influence

Heat exchange
  • Stimulation of the mechanism of thermoregulation;
  • Early adaptation to temperature changes.
  • Uncompensated stress on the main physiological
  • Thermal imbalance;
  • Overheating (heat stroke): severe weakness, thickening of blood,
    decrease in muscle tone, increase in blood pressure, dry mouth,
  • Increase the rate of basal metabolism by 20%;
  • Acceleration of perspiration (from 200 to 2100 ml), which leads to
    activation of the output of metabolic products through the skin;
  • Elimination of overt and covert edema;
  • Weight loss in proportion to lost fluid.
  • Loss of water, lactic acid, ions, urea and amino acids with
  • Dehydration, leading to adverse shifts in protein,
    lipid and carbohydrate exchanges.
 Vegetative nervous system
  • Активация обоих отделов вегетативной systems;
  • Increase the adaptive capacity of the organism.
  • Autonomic disorders;
  • Dizziness, restlessness;
  • Sleep disturbance.
Endocrine glands Level Up:

  • adrenocorticotropic hormone: extinction of inflammatory
    processes, improved intelligence;
  • beta endorphins that have a positive effect on mood
    social activity and possessing antidepressant
  • growth hormone, accelerating protein synthesis and fat breakdown.
Level Up:

  • aldosterone: an increase in circulating blood volume and enhanced
    excretion of potassium;
  • angiotensin II, which narrows blood vessels and leads to an increase in blood pressure,
    sodium retention in the body;
  • vasopressin, retaining water in the body;
  • cortisol, which increases blood pressure and causes stress;
  • adrenaline, which increases blood pressure and can cause arrhythmia,
    increasing mental stress;
  • norepinephrine, narrowing peripheral vessels,
    increases coronary blood flow and increases blood pressure.
  • Achievement of mental and emotional relaxation;
  • Decrease in excitability;
  • Improving the quality of sleep (increasing the phase of deep sleep until
  • The occurrence of headaches;
  • Feeling unwell;
  • Anxiety and other discomfort;
  • Fear, anxiety.
 The cardiovascular system
  • Increased blood pressure and increased minute blood volume, which leads
    to favorable adaptive responses of cardiovascular system;
  • Prevention of the development of circulatory disorders.
  • The deterioration of the response of the CCC to the standard load;
  • Peripheral vasospasm;
  • Nosebleed
  • Arrhythmia, tachycardia;
  • A critical increase in blood pressure that can lead to heart failure.
    attack, hypertensive crisis, and end with a heart attack
  • or vice versa pressure drop.
Respiratory system
  • Strengthening the blood supply to the upper respiratory mucosa
  • Bronchodilatory effect;
  • Reduction of viscous and elastic resistance of the pulmonary
  • Improving alveolar gas exchange.
  • The transition of light colds into severe forms (bronchitis and
  • Increased risk of lung cancer.
Musculoskeletal system
  • Improving tissue trophism;
  • Muscle Saturation with Glucose and Activation of Restorative
  • Muscle relaxation – this is why the sauna is so popular afterwards.
  • Improving metabolic processes in bone and muscle
  • Reduced spasms and contractures.
  • Exacerbation of chronic diseases (rheumatism, myalgia);
  • Violation of tissue repair processes when visiting the bath
    immediately after injuries or surgeries.

At the beginning of this section, we wrote about exposure dosing, to
who should be taken seriously. Fine line between
the benefits and harm of saunas and baths are located on temporary
section, which many ignore, staying in the steam room for half an hour
and beating the useless “records” to no one. It is also important to comply
cyclical procedure: preparation, temperature effects,
cooling and rest.

Harm from the Finnish sauna and other types of baths is most often associated with
non-observance of the residence time in the heat chamber, neglect
contraindications, visiting a steam room in a state of alcoholic

Bath and sauna: contraindications and indications

General contraindications:

  • Precancerous diseases
  • Oncological diseases
  • Acute diseases or exacerbation of chronic diseases
  • Tuberculosis of any localization
  • Hyperthermia
  • Children age up to 3 years, and steam room – up to 10-12 years
  • Deep old age (over 75 years)



The cardiovascular system

  • Dystonia,
  • non-inflammatory myocarditis,
  • compensated coronary artery disease grade 1-2 without signs of insufficiency and
    heart rhythm disorders
  • hypertensive disease 1-2 stages.
  • Hypertension 3 stages,
  • malignant hypertension,
  • cardiomyopathy
  • inflammatory lesions of the cardiovascular system,
  • atherosclerosis of the leg vessels stage 3,
  • decompensated heart disease,
  • thrombophlebitis,
  • bleeding tendency,
  • artificial pacemaker
  • history of stroke and heart attack.

Respiratory system

  • Chronic diseases of the nasopharynx and upper respiratory tract outside
  • bronchial asthma
  • recovery period after pneumonia.
  • SARS, flu
  • bronchiectasis
  • decompensated lung disease.

Nervous system

  • Radicobacterial pain syndromes
  • residual paralysis
  • myopathy and myotonia dystrophic type
  • Cerebral palsy, enuresis in children
  • muscle hypertonus
  • neurosis, sleep disturbance.
  • Epilepsy
  • myasthenia, myelopathy vascular
  • cerebral palsy of vascular etiology
  • syringomyelia
  • migraine
  • motility impairment due to extrapyramidal diseases
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • thermosensory disorders.

Musculoskeletal system

  • Poor posture
  • state of distant rehabilitation after joint and soft injuries
    tissues, and operations (after 3-4 months)
  • pathology of ligaments, muscles, fascias
  • arthrosis deformans
  • reactive and rheumatoid arthritis with remission
  • non-inflammatory ankylosing spondylitis
  • gouty and psoriatic arthritis
  • metabolic osteopathy.
  • Early recovery period after injuries and surgeries
  • corticosteroid therapy
  • injuries in the acute stage.

Genitourinary system

  • Nonspecific cystitis in chronic
  • chronic inflammation of the prostate and testicles (not tuberculosis
  • small urolithiasis
  • interstitial nephritis
  • non-inflammatory chronic glomerulonephritis.
  • Renal impairment
  • hypoalbuminemia
  • hydronephrosis
  • renal failure.

Gastrointestinal tract

  • Peptic ulcer in remission
  • motor evacuation functional disorders
  • chronic cholecystitis without stones.
  • Chronic hepatitis
  • liver failure
  • proctocolitis.

Gynecology and Obstetrics

  • Infertility (primary and secondary)
  • amenorrhea
  • chronic diseases of the female genital area
  • ovarian dysmenorrhea
  • menopausal syndrome in mild
  • during pregnancy, the question is not straightforward (most gynecologists
    do not recommend the sauna and bath during the childbearing)
  • Inflammatory diseases in acute
  • condition after gynecological operations
  • early pregnancy
  • complicated pregnancy
  • menstruation
  • heavy menopause.

This list of indications does not mean that if there is such
pathology can safely visit the bath. In good, indications for
Baths are a state of absolute physical and mental
health Anyone should reasonably and truly measure their
opportunities not to equal others and not to risk your
health (and sometimes life) for the sake of the desire to prove to someone their
incredible ability to withstand high temperatures.

Contraindications к русской бане и другим видам бань можно
continue and continue individually. Absolutely
there are no healthy people, there are underdone. In this medical
a joke is a lot of truth, so you should carefully weigh
probable harm and doubtful benefits from bath procedures.

You can not visit the bath

  • on an empty stomach and immediately after eating;
  • after intense physical exertion;
  • after and while taking alcohol (high risk of getting
    dehydration, hot air burns);
  • against the background of psychological stress.

Rules for the admission of bath procedures

  • Before bath procedures, you should quench your thirst (mineral water without gas,
    green tea, water).
  • Before entering the heat chamber should take a warm shower and
    wipe the body dry to create the best conditions for
    sweating and natural thermoregulation.

The procedure includes a cyclical process:

  • Stay in the steam room for about 3-12 minutes
  • subsequent short-term cooling for 3-10
  • отдых 15-20 minutes.

Acceptable 2-3 cyclic approaches with a final rest not
less than half an hour. During rest you should restore balance
body fluids by slowly drinking clean water
non-carbonated mineral water, berry fruit drinks. During
final rest you need to drink 300-500 ml of herbal tea.

The duration of stay in the heat chamber (steam room) is strictly
individual time period, depending on age,
закаленности и общего состояния health Some absolutely
healthy people just can not tolerate a steam room and immediately feel like
badly. В любом случае, начинать следует с нескольких minutes,
постепенно добавляя по 2 minutesы. The first time you need is on
lower steps, with covered and dry head to avoid thermal

The cooling phase should not be extreme either (diving in
ice pool, wiping snow). Optimally – room with
cool microclimate.

Bath procedures should not be repeated more often 1 time in 7-14 days.
They should not be combined with other procedures associated with
significant load on the body (swimming, strength exercises).
The morning after the bath, the person should feel like
rested and vigorous, if it turns out the opposite – with a bath is better
to tie

Автор: врач-гигиенист, эпидемиолог

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