Sauna Health Benefits

10 Good reasons why

Much has been made of the health benefits of a sauna. With good reason.

Physically, nothing is more reinvigorating than a deep, healthy sweat every day. Tension fades. Muscles unwind. Mentally, we emerge relaxed, revived and ready for whatever the day may bring.

A few minutes a day is all it takes to look and feel better. The body’s response to gentle, persistent heat is well-documented and proven day in and out by people all over the world. Which is why more and more doctors are recommending its purifying benefits.

1. Saunas relieve stress.

It is well known that sauna use can help reduce stress. In fact, stress relief is often cited as the main reason people use saunas. Medical research has shown that stress can have a negative impact on our health, and many diseases, such as heart disease, are at least partially related to stress. Saunas can provide stress relief in several ways. The warm, peaceful environment of a sauna can be a respite from the distractions of daily life. The heat of the sauna helps relax muscles, improve circulation, and release endorphins, which are the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals. The release of endorphins can lead to a feeling of well-being and contentment after using a sauna, known as the “after sauna glow.”

2. Saunas relax muscles and soothe aches/pains in both muscles and joints.

In addition to reducing stress, saunas can also have several other health and wellness benefits. As mentioned earlier, the high heat of a sauna can stimulate the release of endorphins, which can have a mild, relaxing effect on the body and can help alleviate pain from conditions such as arthritis and muscle soreness. The heat of the sauna can also cause an increase in body temperature, which leads to the dilation of blood vessels and increased blood circulation. This increased blood flow can help speed up the body’s natural healing process and can help soothe aches and pains and promote the healing of minor bruises or cuts. For those who engage in physical sports, using the heat and/or steam of a sauna can help promote muscle relaxation by reducing muscle tension and eliminating lactic acid and other toxins that may be present.

3. Saunas flush toxins.

Sweating has a number of proven health benefits, and sauna use can help facilitate the production of sweat and the resulting benefits. When the body is exposed to the heat of a sauna, the core body temperature begins to rise, causing blood vessels to dilate and increasing blood flow. As the heat from the blood moves towards the skin’s surface, the body’s nervous system sends signals to the millions of sweat glands located throughout the body. The sweat glands then produce sweat, which is primarily designed to cool the body and is composed of 99% water. However, deep sweating in a sauna can also help reduce levels of toxins such as lead, copper, zinc, nickel, mercury, and chemicals that are commonly absorbed from our daily environment. Saunas are often recommended by doctors as an effective way to detoxify the body, as regular detoxification can have numerous health benefits.

4. Sauna cleanses the skin.

Heat bathing, such as in a sauna, can have numerous benefits for the skin. When the body sweats, the sweat helps to cleanse the skin and replace dead skin cells, keeping the skin in good condition. Sweating also helps to rinse bacteria out of the epidermal layer and sweat ducts, improving capillary circulation and giving the skin a softer appearance. Dr. Ben H Douglas, a professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and author of “Ageless: Living Younger Longer,” states that sweating can help energize the skin in a similar way to exercising a muscle. The nutrients and minerals in sweat are essential for maintaining the collagen structure of the skin, and regularly bathing the skin in sweat can help prevent collagen breakdown that can lead to wrinkles and sagging. Sauna use can also help improve the appearance of the skin by providing a deep cleansing that cleanses the pores from the inside out, rather than just the surface of the skin. While sauna use is not a cure for acne, it can often help due to its deep cleansing effects.

5. Saunas can induce a deeper sleep.

There is evidence to suggest that sauna use can help improve sleep. In addition to the release of endorphins that can have a calming effect on the body, the decline in body temperature that occurs at bedtime can also contribute to a more relaxed and restful sleep. Many people who use saunas report experiencing deeper, more restful sleep after a session in the sauna. This may be due to the combination of the relaxation induced by the heat and the release of endorphins. It is important to note that everyone’s sleep needs are different, and it is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider if you are having difficulty sleeping.

6. Saunas bring about recreational and social benefits.

In addition to the physical and mental health benefits of sauna use, there are also social benefits to be gained from using a sauna. The sauna can be a private space for relaxation and solitude, or it can be a place to socialize with family, friends, and even new acquaintances. The relaxing and peaceful environment of a sauna can be conducive to open and intimate conversation, providing an opportunity for meaningful connection with others. Spending time with loved ones and building social connections can have numerous benefits for overall well-being and happiness.

7. Saunas improve cardiovascular performance.

Sauna use can have several benefits for cardiovascular health. When the body is exposed to the high temperatures of a traditional or infrared sauna, the blood vessels near the skin dilate and the heart rate increases. Medical research has shown that the heart rate can rise from 60-70 beats per minute to 110-120 beats per minute in the sauna, and can often drop below normal after the cooling off stage. With regular sauna use, the heart muscles can be trained and the heart rate and cardiac output can be improved. Additionally, the body’s regulatory system can be supported by sauna use. Cardiovascular conditioning can be enhanced by taking multiple “innings” in the sauna, separated by a cool shower or a dip in a cool pool or lake. Rapidly changing temperatures, such as from hot to cool or vice versa, can increase the heart rate by up to 60%, which is similar to the increase seen during moderate exercise.

8. Saunas burn calories.

It is important to note that while some sauna sellers may make exaggerated claims about the ability of saunas to cause weight loss, the reality is that saunas should not be viewed as a standalone weight loss tool. While some people may experience a high level of calorie burn when using a sauna, especially those who are in poor physical shape, the long-term effects of sauna use on weight loss are not well established. However, the process of sweating does require energy, which is derived from the conversion of fat and carbohydrates in the body. According to U.S. Army medical research, a moderately conditioned person can sweat off 500 grams in a sauna in a single session, burning approximately 300 calories in the process. This calorie burn is due to the acceleration of heart activity and the increased demand for oxygen, which causes the body to convert more calories into energy. It is important to maintain a healthy diet and engage in regular physical activity in addition to sauna use in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

9. Saunas can help fight illness.

German medical research has found that sauna use can help reduce the incidence of colds and influenza. When the body is exposed to the heat of a sauna or steam, it produces white blood cells more quickly, which can help fight illness and kill viruses. Saunas can also help alleviate the symptoms of sinus congestion caused by colds or allergies, especially when used with steam. Adding eucalyptus to the water can enhance the benefits and enjoyment of the sauna experience. The steam vapor action can help clear congestion and is a key part of the Finnish sauna experience. It is important to note that sauna use should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment and that it is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider for the treatment of any illness.

10. Saunas just feel good.

A sauna not only feels good, it’s good for your body. Whether it’s the physiological changes that occur during the warmth of a sauna, or if it’s simply the time spent in the calming and still retreat of the sauna, every seasoned sauna bather agrees – it feels wonderful! As we progress through our stressful everyday lives, the sauna provides a pampering retreat – where we can relax and restore body and soul. Sauna bathing truly makes you “Feel Better”, “Look Better” and “Sleep Better”!

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