Saunas have been popular throughout the world for thousands of years. They were culturally significant in Ancient Rome and Greece and are still considered a fantastic way to relax and unwind.
One in three Finns in Finland make a sauna a regular part of life, and there may be more than 1 million saunas throughout the US. There are many myths surrounding the various health benefits of a sauna, such as sweating to detoxify the body. However, ongoing studies are starting to reveal that regular sauna sessions could help with various health issues.
Health Benefits of Saunas
Sauna heating methods vary, but the heat produces similar health benefits. Your heart rate will increase, and your blood vessels will expand like physiological conditions you may experience during mild to moderate exercise. It’s these conditions thought to be behind the various health benefits of using a sauna. Consider using a sauna for the following health issues.
Muscle and Joint Pain Relief
Increasing circulation to sore joints and muscles can temporarily ease discomfort and pain in these areas. If you suffer from arthritis, a sauna session or two to your weekly exercise regime may deliver some relief from discomfort.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Many sauna users state that they are an excellent way to reduce stress, but the evidence may not just be anecdotal. Studies indicate that people who regularly use saunas may have a reduced incidence of dying from cardiovascular disease.
People who used a sauna two to three times a week were 22 percent less likely to die from cardiac arrest. Participants of the study who used a sauna 4 to 7 times a week were 50 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.
Sauna use also has been linked to lowering blood pressure because the environment increases the production of nitric acid, which is a compound that causes blood vessels to dilate and relieve blood pressure.
Improved Skin Health
Dry saunas could help them find some relief from skin conditions like psoriasis, but they may not help with other conditions like dermatitis.
The warm environment of a sauna opens up airways and loosens phlegm to provide relief against asthma symptoms and other respiratory conditions caused by colds and flu.
Sauna Health Myths
Saunas make you sweat a lot, so, understandably, people will conclude that the body must be ejecting toxins through the sweat glands. However, no evidence suggests that the body uses sweat to detoxify. The kidney, liver, and intestines are the body's primary systems for ejecting toxins from the body.
A sauna cannot help you with weight loss. You may see a loss of about a pound after an hour in the sauna, but this is due to fluid loss, not fat. The weight will return as soon as you have your next meal or top up your body's fluid levels.
You already know that saunas are an excellent way to relax after a difficult day. Research suggests the health benefits of saunas go beyond mental reprieve from life’s stressors, which is even more of a reason to add regular sauna sessions to your schedule.