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What are the Benefits of a Sauna? Science Answers! 

Know What are the Benefits of a Sauna to the Body According to Science

With all the stressful things in the world, a sauna bath is one of the things anyone can do to relax. It is no secret that the sauna can also clean and detoxify our bodies through heat therapy. According to several studies, saunas are not only relaxing, but also offer a number of health benefits. Get to know what are the benefits of a sauna according to these science-approved sources! 

What is a sauna?

benefit of a sauna

To put it simply, a sauna is a room in which people aim to relax and experience dry and wet heat. The heat makes people perspire and, therefore, relax and release stress. Saunas have long been popular due to its health benefits and In the United States alone, there are over a million saunas. It may provide benefits for cardiovascular health that resemble those derived from exercise.

The word sauna comes from an ancient Finnish word referring to the traditional Finnish bath and to the bathhouse itself.  A sauna is also called a sudatory. 

Are Saunas Good for You?

A number of studies prove that sauna use offers health benefits. However, if you are considering to add a sauna bath to your wellness routine, make sure to evaluate your specific health needs first. 

When you immerse yourself in a sauna, the skin temperature rises, the heart rate increases and the blood vessels are more dilated. This happens when your heart begins to pump more blood to the body and therefore, you begin to sweat. This process has several health benefits. 

 

10 Science-Proven Health Benefits of Sauna Use to the Body

benefit of a sauna

Heat therapy has long been used to treat certain health conditions and alleviate symptoms. According to the research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information in the United States National Library of Medicine, early doctors used the sun's rays for the purpose of heat therapy. This practice even dates back to 500 BC, when Egyptian physicians applied specific rules for sun and heat therapy. Things like thermal baths, mud baths and hot air caverns linked to volcanic sources were all common practices since then. 

Since then, saunas are also part of the relaxation practices in almost every country in the world. That being said, here are some clinically-proven health benefits of regular sauna sessions. 

Regular Sauna Use Can Reduce The Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

In a 2018 study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, higher frequency and duration of sauna bathing may be related to a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases' mortality in a representative population-based sample of female and male participants.

Reduce Blood Pressure

Regular sauna baths can dilate blood vessels and improve circulation, which thereby reduces blood pressure. In fact, emerging evidence suggests that sauna bathing is linked with a reduction in the risk of high blood pressure or hypertension. 

Increase Cell Power

Heat has been proven to positively impact the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cells, which helps the body naturally produce more energy and stay fit.

Sauna Bathing Can Delay Aging

Cell regeneration means you slow the aging process. If you're not quite convinced, check out the 20-year study of Finnish men that links two to three sauna sessions per week with a 23% decreased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Detoxify Heavy Metals and Chemicals

Did you know that our food and environment can be harmful, too? We are exposed to potentially toxic and heavy metals through sources we are not even aware of. Heavy and toxic metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury are some of the most common ones we are frequently exposed to. Aside from pollution, we also get those toxic metals in food such as in fish, bone broth, and even in rice. 

Since sauna bathing can help us sweat and de-stress, our bodies would also help excrete those toxic chemicals and free-radicals in the body. 

Sauna use can optimize athletic performance

For athletes and fitness enthusiasts, did you know that regular sauna use can help you train efficiently? 

As we go through a sauna, we undergo a process called heat conditioning. This process sends more blood to the heart, leading to an increase in plasma and red blood cell volume. In return, the heat conditioning process delivers more oxygen throughout the body, fueling athletic performance.

Sauna use can improve muscle function and recovery

The heat conditioning process has so many good benefits to the body, including muscle function and recovery. As more blood flow and oxygen is delivered throughout the body, muscles inflate, and muscle breakdown is diminished. 

This is proven in a 2015 sauna research published in the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine which that concluded that subjects using the sauna showed a lesser pain intensity and more efficient muscle function compared to those that didn’t. 

Regular sauna sessions can fuel weight loss

As we immerse ourselves in a sauna, our water weight drops through sweating. In a sauna study conducted by Binghamton University in New York revealed that an increase in core body temperature resulted in a decrease in body fat. It concluded that people who used an infrared sauna three times a week for 30 minutes per session dropped an average of 4 percent body fat over a four-month period. For a 175-pound man, that represents a weight reduction of seven pounds.

In addition, participants who experienced the weight loss did not change their exercise or diet throughout the course of the study. Sounds interesting, right? 

Boost brain function and can potentially decrease the risk for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

If you’re ready to buy a sauna now, hold your horses first. There are more health benefits attributed to sauna use and that includes boosting brain function. 

The brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF increases with regular sauna use, activating the growth of new brain cells, better maintaining existing cells, and improving neuroplasticity, the brain's process for forming new neural connections.

In a sauna study done by the University of Eastern Finland, men who went to the sauna four to seven times a week were found 66 percent less likely to be diagnosed with dementia, and 65 percent less likely with Alzheimer’s disease, than those taking a sauna once a week.

Regular sauna sessions can boost the immune system

Heat exposure from sauna use increases the heat shock protein, stimulating antigen-presenting cells, along with releasing cytokine, thus stimulating the body's natural immune system.

Promotes Healthier Skin

The good news is, sweating from steam rooms opens up the pores and helps cleanse the outer part of the skin. This process called “warm condensation” will help rinse away dirt and dead skin cells and can potentially treat acne.     

Opens Up Sinuses

The heat generated from the steam shower opens up and unclogging mucous membranes around the body. This process helps someone breathe easier and deeper. It also breaks up the congestion in the sinuses and lungs and can help treat colds, unblock them and help in breathing properly.

Improves overall mental health and mood

What makes your mood bad? It’s good ‘ol stress! We are constantly faced by life’s hustle and bustle and stress can be inevitable. De-stressing through a sauna bath can dramatically change your mood, too!

When your body and brain are healthy, detoxified, and destressed, you release endorphins or “feel good hormones.” Your overall mood and emotional health improve as well, making you feel calm and ready to face the world again. 

 

Are there any risks to using a sauna or steam room?

Too much of anything can lead to risks and complications, and a sauna session is no exception.

New York-based, Dr. Chiti Parikh, Co-director of the integrative health and wellbeing program at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center, says her thoughts: 

"As far as risks go, you're mainly looking at dehydration and dizziness from the heat. So, it's important to make sure you're well-hydrated before and after your sauna or steam room session. You'll also want to skip the sauna if you've recently had a heart attack or any other cardiovascular issues, like high blood pressure, since it increases your heart rate."

Before immersing yourself in a sauna therapy, it is important to check to your doctor first especially if you have underlying medical conditions especially heart-related ones. 

 

How long can you sit in a sauna or steam room?

Most sauna sessions last for only five to 30 minutes. But how long you can safely use a sauna or steam room depends on how acclimated you are to it, or how hot the sauna or steam room is.

“If you feel lightheaded or you're feeling dehydrated because you perhaps just came back from a long run, it's not a good idea to spend a long time in the sauna,” says Denise Millstine, MD, an internist at Mayo Clinic’s family medicine office in Scottsdale, Arizona. “But if you're well-hydrated and feel fine, you can stay a bit longer.”

 

Should I get myself a sauna at home?

It is no secret that regular sauna sessions can do wonders to the body, mainly as a way to ease stress. If you are always stressed, the body excretes cortisol or "the stress hormone" which can lead to other more serious diseases. It is very essential to have regular methods of de-stressing such as a sauna session and other means. 

If you have the means to get yourself a sauna at home, why not get one? It's always good to invest on your health first after all. 

We have so many saunas to choose from. Find the perfect fit here at SupremeSaunas.

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