There is no better way to get a nice deep sweet than in a steam room or a sauna. The dry heat used by saunas open up your pores allowing you to sweet faster than a workout. But what are benefits of a sauna and why are more and more doctors recommending its usage. Is it the fact that just a few minutes a day can help your body unwind and your muscles relax allowing you to get relief after a long day? Or is it the fact that it can be used to lose weight? Well, why don’t we look at some possible reasons?
1) Saunas relieve stress.
Stress relief is stated as the number one benefit of using a sauna. Heat from the sauna provides stress relief in many ways when you think about it. First off, it is a warm, soothing, and quiet place that allows you to get away from all the distractions of your life and the outside world. As you sit in the heat, endorphins are released. Endorphins are the bodies natural way of making you “feel good”. The heat relaxes your muscles and relieves tension which allows you to relax and de-stress.
2) Saunas relax muscles and soothe aches/pains in both muscles and joints.
According to the North American Sauna Society, endorphins released during your time in the sauna cause a mild tranquilizing effect which has the ability to minimize the pain of sore muscles, arthritis, and an intense workout. As your body temperature rises your blood vessels dilate and blood circulation increases which helps speed up the bodies natural healing process of minor cuts and bruises.
So you can use the heat and steam from a sauna after participating in physical sports to promote muscle relaxation by reducing muscle tension.
3) Saunas flush toxins.
If you are like me than you may not sweat on a daily basis or much during a workout. But deep sweating is good because it provides many benefits to your health. A sauna allows you to achieve a deep sweat because it raises the temperature of your bodies core. Sweating is primarily designed to bring down the bodies temperature, however, deep sweating in a sauna can reduce levels of copper, zinc, nickel, mercury, and chemical. These toxins are commonly absorbed from our day to day interaction with the environment. This is one of the reasons doctors recommend the usage of saunas as a detox for the body. Feeling yucky?
4) Sauna cleanses the skin.
The use of heat and steam is one of the oldest beauty tricks for cleaning the skin and face. I am sure you are familiar with a steam facial so imagine sitting in a sauna. The hot environment of the sauna is a great way to open up your pores to wash away impurities and cause your capillaries to dilate which increases blood flow to the skin. This deep sweat cleanses the skin and replaces dead skin cells. You are left with softer, smoother looking skin.
5) Saunas can induce a deeper sleep.
Enjoying the heat from a sauna is not only invigorating and great for your muscles it can be a natural way to help you fall to sleep. If done two hours before sleep for no longer than 20 minutes, a nice session in the sauna can be used to treat insomnia and have you sleeping like a baby.
The reason being, the sauna relaxes your body and brings down your blood pressure which you need to rest but it also helps you calm down your mind from a long stressful day. Raising your body temperature in the sauna means your body has to readjust your temperature afterward, this cooling down before bed can help lull you off to sleep.
6) Saunas bring about recreational and social benefits.
The sauna is something you can enjoy in a relaxing setting all on your own or you have the benefit of sharing an intimate social moment with your family, friends, and/or partner. The environment is very private which allows for intimate, open, and quiet conversations. It is also a great place to spend time with your partner to both de-stress without any distractions.
7) Saunas improve cardiovascular performance.
When you sit in the sauna your plasma increases, which is great because it increases blood flow to the heart, decreasing how hard your heart has to work to pump the normal amount of blood. This is said to help lower your heart rate and reduce the strain on your heart lowering your risk for heart disease.
With regular sauna usage, you can also train your heart muscles and improve your heart rate because your heart rate can rise from 60 – 70 bpm (beats per minute) to 110-120 bpm in the sauna and can sink to below normal during your cool off.
8) Saunas burn calories.
Have you ever been told by a personal trainer that the more you sweat the harder you are working. Well, it takes a lot of work to sweat as much as you do in just a few minutes of a sauna session. There have been people who have reported losing 5 pounds after just one sauna session and even athletes use them.
A person could actually sweat off calories during a session. Someone weighing 160 lbs. will burn about 300 calories during a 30-minute session in the sauna, although it would be mostly water weight. Sadly, the effect can be short-lived because you could drink or eat something and gain that right back.
9) Saunas can help fight illness.
According to researchers in Europe, there is a protein called Dermcidin found in the human skin that is activated when we sweat. This protein is able to kill harmful microbes and it can even fight off ones that are resistant to antibiotics.
German sauna medical researchers have shown that saunas can significantly reduce the incidences of colds and influenza in regular users. While in the sauna your body produces white blood cells more rapidly which helps fight illnesses and kills viruses. Also, the sauna can relieve the discomfort from sinus congestion and allergies. The steam also helps clear up congestion, similar to the Vicks vapor machines parents use for their children.
10) Saunas just feel good.
The last benefit is the most obvious one. The sauna just feels good to you and your body. The time spent in the sauna is like your own personal pampered retreat to help you relax and de-stress. Every sauna user will tell you the same- it just feels good.
While saunas are generally safe, there are some precautions you should take. For one, just like when you workout, sweating can cause dehydration which can lead to dizziness, headaches, or serious health conditions if not taken seriously. So be sure to hydrate yourself before and after your sauna usage.
Saunas run at 190 degrees Fahrenheit so there is a risk of hyperthermia so be sure not to stay in there no longer than 15 to 20 minutes to reduce that risk. If you start to feel lightheaded or uncomfortable, leave immediately.People who have underlying health issues, such as an irregular heartbeat or diabetes, can face greater risks from sauna use. If you have chronic health issues or are pregnant, talk to your doctor before using the sauna. Also, do not use drugs or alcohol while using a sauna because you may not be able to tell when you become overheated. Children under the age of 5 should not use saunas.
Sitting in a sauna is a great way to make you feel good, look good, and sleep better. Whether you had a bad day, have sore muscles, or just want a peaceful nights rest, the sauna can benefit you in many different ways.
So what do you think, does a sauna sound worth it? Have you got to experience a sauna session? Share your experience below.