Top 11 health benefits of Sauna
The Many Benefits of Sauna
Much has been made of the health benefits of sauna bathing. 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 improve cardiovascular performance
In the high temperatures of a traditional or infrared sauna, skin heats up and core body temperature rises. In response to these increased heat levels, the blood vessels near the skin dilate and “cardiac output” increases. Medical research has told us that the heart rate can rise from 60-70 bpm (beats per minute) to 110-120 bpm in the sauna (140-150 with more intensive bathing), and can often sink to below normal after the cooling off stage. Regular sauna usage has been proven to reduce the risk of all-cause mortality and fatal cardiac incidents along with reduced risk of stroke and hypertension.
2. Saunas aid in recovery after exercise
Sauna have been shown to help people recover more quickly from exercise by easing joint & muscle pain and eliminating lactic acid build-up. Growth hormone increases by 200-300% after a single sauna use, which helps with reducing muscle atrophy. This relates to a University of Iowa study. Three-weeks of post-exercise sauna bathing increased run time to exhaustion by 32% in male distance runners. Regular sauna use may also benefit strength training through improved recovery & muscle growth through the increased growth hormones.
3. Saunas flush toxins
Due to the heat of a sauna, the core body temperature begins to rise. Sweat production is primarily designed to cool the body, and is composed of 99% water. However, deep sweating in a sauna can help reduce levels of lead, copper, zinc, nickel, mercury and chemicals.
4. Reduce incidences of Alzheimer’s by 65%
A 20-year study conducted with more than 2,300 participants at the University of Eastern Finland by Dr. Jari Laukkanen and his colleagues revealed regular sauna use (4-7 times per week) at 176 degrees F for 19 minutes lowered the risk for both Alzheimer’s & Dementia. The control group for the study seldom, if ever, used sauna (0-1 times per week).
5. Saunas relieve stress
Sauna use can help the body and mind adapt to stress and reduce the risk of depression and other mental disorders. In addition to the adaption to stress, the improved cardiorespiratory fitness contributes to the therapeutic effects of sauna for depression and anxiety.
6. Saunas induce a deeper sleep
Research has shown that a deeper, more relaxed sleep can result from sauna use. In addition to the release of endorphins, body temperatures, which become elevated in the late evening, fall at bedtime. This slow, relaxing decline in endorphins is key in facilitating sleep. Sauna bathers worldwide enjoy the deep sleep experiences they feel after bathing in the calming heat.
7. Saunas help fight illness
Medical research shows that saunas were able to significantly reduce the incidences of colds and influenza amongst participants. As the body is exposed to the heat of a sauna and steam (in the case of traditional saunas), it produces white blood cells more rapidly, which in turn helps to fight illnesses and helps to kill viruses. In addition, saunas can relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of sinus congestion from colds or allergies.
8. Saunas burn calories
According to U.S. Army medical research (Ward Dean, M.D.), “A moderately conditioned person can easily sweat off 500 grams in a sauna in a single session, consuming nearly 300 calories in the process.” The body consumes said calories due to the acceleration of heart activity (the cardiovascular section). As heart activity increases and as these processes demand more oxygen, the body begins to convert more calories into usable energy.
9. Sauna cleanses skin
When the body begins to produce sweat via deep sweating, the skin is then cleansed and dead skin cells are replaced. Sweating rinses bacteria out of the epidermal layer and sweat ducts. Cleansing of the pores has been shown to improve the capillary circulation, while giving the skin a softer-looking quality.
10. Recreational and social benefits
While the social benefit is rarely talked about, it’s really actually quite important. The sauna can be a private, personal area of relaxation and solitude. However, sauna can just as easily be a relaxing environment for socializing with family, friends and soon-to-be friends.
11. Just feels good
A sauna not only feels good, it’s good for you.