Stress reduction is the number one benefit of sauna use according to regular sauna bathers. As we know, stress can negatively affect our health. The vast majority of disease is at least partially stress-related. Sauna use provides stress relief in a number of ways. Without distractions from the outside world, heat bathing in a sauna provides a warm, quiet space to relax muscles, improve circulation and stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s all natural “feel good” chemical.
Muscles are relaxed and aches and pains in joints are relieved with the use of a sauna. High heat from a sauna reduces muscle tension and eliminates lactic acid and other toxins. Endorphins, the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals are also released, causing you to experience complete relaxation and pain relief.
Deeper sleep is achieved with the use of a sauna. The release of endorphins, caused when body heat is raised, leads to complete relaxation. As the body cools, it falls into a deeper sleep.
Arthritis pain is relieved with the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain relieving chemicals. Mobility is improved with the use of high constant heat. Joints move more freely and pain is managed with regular sauna use.
Saunas help burn additional calories by accelerating the sweating process. 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.”
When the body is exposed to the heat and steam of a traditional sauna, white blood cells are more rapidly produced. This process aids in fighting illnesses and in killing viruses. Saunas also relieve the uncomfortable symptoms associated with colds and allergies, especially when used with steam and eucalyptus oil.
The high temperature of a traditional or infrared sauna causes skin to heat up and core body temperature to rise. As a result, the blood vessels near the skin dilate and “cardiac output” is increased. Medical research tells 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 sink to below normal after the cooling off stage. Regular sauna usage not only trains the heart the heart muscles and improves the heart rate/cardiac output, but it also helps the body’s regulatory system.
Multiple sauna bathing sessions provide even more cardiovascular conditioning, with sessions in the sauna separated by a cool shower or a quick dip into a cool pool or lake. Each time body temperature is rapidly changed (from hot to cold or vice-versa), the heart rate increases by as much as 60%. This is very comparable to the increase experienced during moderate exercise.
Most of us do not actively sweat on a daily basis. However, multiple proven health benefits result from deep sweating. Regular sauna bathing provides benefits derived from a deep sweat.
The core body temperature begins to rise due to the heat of a sauna. This causes blood vessels to dilate, resulting in increased blood flow. Sweat glands are then stimulated, producing a deep sweat. This process reduces levels of lead, copper, zinc, nickel, mercury, and chemicals, which are all toxins commonly absorbed from interacting with our daily environment.
Many doctors agree that sauna usage is one of the best ways to detoxify our bodies.
One of the oldest beauty and health strategies for cleansing one’s skin is heat bathing. Deep sweating cleanses the skin while replacing dead skin cells. Bacteria is rinsed out of the epidermal layer and sweat ducts. Cleansing the pores gives the skin a softer looking quality. Dr Ben H. Douglas, a professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and author of “Ageless: Living Younger Longer,” attests that “Sweating is a way of energizing the skin almost the way exercising a muscle energizes it.” He also explains that when you seat the rush of fluid to the skin “plumps up” tiny wrinkles. In addition, nutrients and minerals in sweat “are essential to maintaining the collagen structure of the skin. Regular sauna usage brings back vitality, tone, and a healthy glow to the skin. Sauna usage is also helpful in the treatment of acne, as it cleans the pores from the inside out.