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The 'baking' of a person in a hot steamy room to stimulate diaphoresis, circulation, immunity, nervous system, skin, etc.
Contraindications Cardiovascular disease, children
Complications Collapse, death


(so′nă) [Finnish]
An enclosure in which a person is exposed to moderate to very high temperatures and often high humidity, produced by water poured on heated stones. A stay in the sauna may be followed by a cool bath or shower. Sauna water is not sterile and may contain harmful microorganisms, including yeasts and molds. Even though the sauna has no proven benefits in preventing illnesses or promoting fitness, the regimen does help to promote relaxation, relieve aches and pains, and loosen stiff joints.


Saunas are not advised for those with fever, those who are dehydrated, or those who are unable to sweat. Those who have recently used alcohol or have participated in strenuous exercise should not use a sauna. If soft tissue has been traumatized in the past 24 to 48 hr, the sauna should not be used. Prolonged exposure to the sauna may be dangerous due to induced hyperthermia, dehydration, and renal failure.


n full-body dry heat treatment. Benefits include relaxation, perspiration, and cleansing. See also thermotherapy.
References in periodicals archive ?
There was no space for an entry there (contra Hammond & Bauer 2001: figure 3), and the sweathouse seems to have formed part of a loose cluster of low platforms supporting perishable superstructures, preceding the formal layout of buildings around a patio which marked the emergence of a focus to the Cuello community early in the Bladen phase (900-650 BC).
In fact, over past hunts I'd spent weeks in sometimes bug-infested sweathouses, and I didn't always get a buck.