Suffering in the Sauna

Enter the Sauna

If you are a regular gym goer, you are aware of the miraculous healing powers of the Sauna, the Wooden Chamber of Wonder where you go to relax and unwind after a long, hard, grueling day of Cardio, Weight Training and Aerobics.

Now, the first and most important, cardinal rule of the sauna is simple:

Long exposure to the sauna may result in Nausea, Dizziness and Fainting. Reasonable use time is 10 mins, recommended not to exceed 20 mins.

Whilst in the sauna, you are given one of two options, either soak in the heat and feel the sweat seep out of your pours, or toss some water over the scalding rocks, creating a burst of steam that will penetrate the tissue and give you an overall feeling of a boiled egg. The latter is meant to assist in “melting” off the excess body fat, assuming of course we are treating the human body as a skewer of shawerma whereby you can burn the fats away, then yes, it can work.

More often than not, what ends up happening is that you get severe dehydration.

I have experienced, up till yesterday, two bouts of near fainting. My first was after strenuous, rigorous exercise, followed by a dip in the jacuzzi then a session in the sauna.

I left feeling light headed, unable to balance myself. As I went into the bathroom, it was as if the world around me was turning black. From above my field of vision, and below, and both sides, darkness was coming inward, making my eyes see only a strip of white light in the middle as the rest was engulfed in darkness, no matter how hard I tried to open my eyes, I could not see anything. I immediately sensed I was near fainting, and sat down on the floor, making sure I was decent in case I really did lose consciousness.

Luckily however, the movement of your head down to your knees on the floor stemmed the continuance of the fainting experience. I slowly stood up, on legs made of lead, and made my way to the water cooler, dousing myself in its ice cold embrace.

The second experience occurred in another gym, also as a result of overstaying my welcome in the sauna, but this time, there were people around that immediately came to my assistance, offering me juice to replenish lost vitamins and electrolytes etc.

The third came yesterday, as I was enjoying a quiet session in the sauna, a raucous fellow entered with his friend, and immediately complained about how “cold” it was inside, now usually people use the ladle to add water from the wooden bucket onto the rocks, creating an atmosphere of steam that as we mentioned before, penetrates the skin and cleanses it, this guy however, poured water straight from the bucket onto the rocks, the wave that hit me straight in the face literally took my breath away, as it even hurt to breath in the steam, stinging my face along with my entire upper torso.

Shortly after, he asked his friend to add more water, saying we will take turns (there were three of us inside).

And then, it was my turn. By that time, I already felt drained, but could not leave as he was talking to me, I excused myself after adding water to the rocks, and lay outside on my back, waiting to catch my wits.

The walk from the sauna area to the changing rooms was a tumultuous one.

Luckily, a friendly fellow saw my pathetic state and offered me a piece of chewing gum, to replenish the sugars in my blood, and gave me valuable advice – always carry saccharides and salt with you, and if you feel faint, take one or both. He then lambasted the idiot from the sauna, as well as myself for staying in there for so long, according to him, one should not be courteous in these situations, as it is your health that is at stake.

I learnt my lesson.

To end on a lighter note, I overheard two men talking at the gym, one told the other, “dude, you know you can start modelling underwear and clothes now with your body, you have the form”, to which the other replied, “yes, you do too, we should go together”.

And that is why I prefer going to the gym alone.



August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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