Everyone seems to be talking about the health benefits of saunas these days. We all seem to know someone who knows someone who knows someone who swears by them. However, when we consider saunas and how they work, we have to consider if a simple soak in a sauna can actually do all that we hear it can.
Saunas actually date back to thousands of years ago. History clearly implies that as far back as 3,000 years ago, some cultures, such as the Mayans, were making use of sweat houses for various reasons which ranged from ceremonial to medicinal. Sweat houses, of course, were a more public and basic forms of saunas which we have today.
However, the fact that a particular treatment has been believed in for years is no reason to believe in it. A lot of beliefs were patronized years ago and due to modern technology, we have found them to be false. However, the treatment of various ailments and discomforts is not something that is limited to older civilizations. According to records, 1 in 3 Finnish people currently make use of saunas and steam houses. It doesn’t end there. In America, there are over a million saunas.
Although, this may not be enough to convince you and it is totally understandable. In this post, we will be considering the proven uses and benefits derived from saunas by people just like you and me.
How Do Saunas Work?
A sauna is a room Saunas make use of dry heat. The dry heat is what causes the reactions from our bodies. The saunas we use in the modern day are a tad bit different from saunas centuries ago. These days, your sauna is a wooden room usually with a seat or bench. The room’s temperature is controlled by a heater. Although there is humidity in saunas, they are designed in such a way that the humidity drains through the floor. In a basic sauna, the air is changed 3 to 8 times in a single hour.
Health Benefits of Saunas
Now before we get into this, let’s simply clarify that every health benefit on this list is scientifically proven and so, you can rest assured that if you begin using saunas, these benefits would be available to you.
Here is a quick video of some of the top benefits of using a sauna.
In Finland, a very different survey was carried out on 2,315 men for 20 years. Of course, surveys like this cannot happen all the time simply because of the number of people and the duration of years. However, this particular survey was carried out. When it was concluded, it was found that people who use saunas 2-3 times a week were 24% less likely to die from natural causes. Going a step further, it was also discovered that those who make use of saunas 4-7 times a week are 40% less likely to die from all natural causes. Saunas slow down aging and increase the lifespan of its users.
With how fatal asthma can be, it is definitely a relief that it can be managed through saunas. Saunas have been proven to relieve and soothe those with asthma. If you have asthma, you’ll find that using saunas can reduce the attacks.
If you are someone who regularly suffers from coughs, catarrhs, and general unrest when it comes to breathing due to congested chests, you’ll be pleased to find that using a sauna regularly can help with it. The heat from saunas helps with congested chests and throats.
Improves mitochondria health
The mitochondria, as you probably know, are the powerhouse of the cell. Whatever happens to the mitochondria is reflected on your person. If your mitochondria are weak and exhausted, your body will portray it. Heat is a powerful hormesis and when present in sane terms, it can help improve the health of your mitochondria and by doing this, your health generally benefits.
They improve blood pressure rates
To prove this, another survey was carried out on a much smaller scale. This survey included 100 persons. These people were asked to stay in a sauna for 30 minutes. Before and after the sauna session, the researchers took note of their systolic and diastolic blood pressure rates.
Systolic refers to the pressure readings of your blood vessels during a heartbeat. Diastolic, on the other hand, refers to the given pressure level in between beats.
When the survey was completed, it was shown that there were very visible reductions in both the systolic and diastolic levels of blood pressure.
Increases HGH and Decreases DOMs
A study carried out on women helped discover that staying in a sauna for thirty minutes helps increase the production of HGH [human growth hormone]. HGH helps our bodies break down body fat and even build necessary muscles. If you combine your sauna sessions with the lightest of exercises, you can be sure that you’ll find it easier to keep fit.
That’s not all saunas do for your fitness life. If you exercise frequently, you’ve probably heard of DOMS. DOMS is short for delayed onset muscle soreness. DOMS is caused by high-intensity exercises. They cause tiny tears in your muscle fibers. To combat this, your body increases inflammation which results in delayed onset of muscle soreness. If you make use of saunas regularly, studies have proven that they help combat delayed onset muscle soreness.
Helps detoxify your body
In this age, we are being educated on thousands of ways to rid our bodies of toxins. However, one of the best ways to detoxify your body system is via the use of a sauna. There are so many ways toxins can get into our bodies. In fact, in the umbilical cord of a newborn, up to 287 toxic chemicals can be identified. This goes to show just how we can get toxins in our bodies simply by existing. Saunas help to detoxify the body. If one uses saunas regularly, they will find that they shed toxins. Click here to find out more on how saunas detoxifies the body.
One of the most obvious benefits of sauna usage how well they help with pains. Without any scientific explanation, it is quite obvious. Heat helps relives pains in joints and muscles. If you are experiencing pain of any sort, a sauna is the right thing for you. They practically unwind your bode and leave you feeling new and rejuvenated. The increased circulation reduces pains, soreness, and discomfort.
Improvement of vascular compliance
Regular use of saunas has been proven to improve vascular compliance. Vascular compliance has to do with how your arteries respond to changes in pressure. This affects how your blood travels through your whole body. So in essence, using your sauna will increase your blood circulation.
Reduced Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
It has been proven that the use of a sauna multiple times a week reduces the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive mental deterioration that leads to the degeneration of the brain. In simpler terms, when one develops Alzheimer’s disease, his or her brain gets worse as the days go by until their brain is virtually useless.
A study that was carried out showed that men who used the saunas regularly each week had are reduced risk of 65 percent of developing Alzheimer’s disease. This is no small feat! Although Alzheimer’s disease has no cure, saunas are now proven prevention methods.
Acts as an anti-depressant
If you’ve ever used a sauna, there is no doubt that you can testify that a really great soak in one can help improve how you feel generally. You may go into one with sore muscles and come out feeling much more relief. Apart from relieving pains in the joints and muscles, there is one other thing most do not factor in and that is the impact it has on our moods. Saunas have been proven to serve as anti-depressants. They do more than just ‘lift moods’. They also help with depression.
Reduced Stress Levels
Saunas are one of the best ways to relieve stress. This is because it improves circulation which in turn improves relaxation. A little moment spent in a sauna will leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. A lot of people make use of saunas simply because of this reason and it is well worth it.
They help your brain
Apart from fighting off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, saunas help the brain in other ways. This is not only because of the increased blood flow but also because of the relaxation. In addition, if you are doing something that you love, your body is sure to react positively.
Making use of your sauna is much more beneficial than you know. It can help you build your immune system. Having a strong immune system gives you a better chance of fighting against diseases. When you build up your body’s immunity, you fall ill less often and for shorter periods. A study proved that a 15-minute sauna session increased the number of red blood cells in the body.
Skin problems have always driven people to extreme lengths. It is easy not to understand but if you’ve had extreme acne, reactions, itchy skin, eczema or other terrible skin problems, you’d understand how dire the situation is. Luckily, saunas are non-extreme solutions that have been proven to help with a range of skin diseases. However, you will want to check in with your dermatologist first.
There are various types of cancers. These cancers affect and operate differently. A lot of things have been proven to help reduce the risks and saunas are not left out. Studies have proven that saunas actually help prevent a type of cancer. It is well known that proteins react to heat. The FOX proteins have been proven to greatly contribute to tumor suppression. One protein in particular, FOXO3 plays quite a critical role. The dry heat of saunas affects these proteins positively thus contributing to the fight to prevent cancer.
Combats respiratory diseases
A study has proven that your sauna can greatly improve your respiratory health. A study carried out on a large number of people found that those who use saunas 2-3 times a week had a 27 percent lower risk of developing any respiratory diseases. This number even goes up more if one uses a sauna 4 or more times weekly. If one does this, they have a 41 percent lower risk of developing any respiratory diseases.
When we were growing up, we were told that we’d get diabetes if we consumed too much sugar. Our parents had a field day with that threat. In reality, it is much deeper. Diabetes is caused by a lack of insulin. Type 1 diabetes, for example, is caused by the body destroying the pancreas that makes insulin. Saunas have been proven to help fight this.
In this study, diabetic mice were exposed to whole-body hyperthermia. This was done thrice weekly for twelve weeks. After this was done, it was found that the mice had a 31% reduction in insulin levels. A reduction in insulin levels is a greater chance of diabetes. From this, it was discovered that extreme heat levels have the opposite effect.
Safety With Your Sauna
There is no doubt that saunas have plenty of benefits. From reading this, it is quite obvious that if one makes use of a sauna up to 4 times a week, you would be laying a great foundation for a healthy present and future. However, saunas should be used with caution. Here are some tips to keep in mind for sauna use.
- Do not use the sauna after consuming alcohol.
- Start off easily with your sauna. If you are just beginning, do not exceed 15 minutes. As you go on, you can increase your duration. Even when you become an old hand at it, do not exceed twenty minutes at a go. Read this article to know how often to use a sauna.
- Not everyone can use a sauna. Click here to read more on those who can and cannot use a sauna.
- Hydrate. If you use a sauna, make sure to keep your water levels up. Drink about three to four glasses of water after using a sauna.