Placing your body under hyperthermic conditions ignites a whole host of responses that improve your body's defenses when sickness befalls you.
Improve Cellular Function
This may be one of the most impressive benefits from sauna use. Dry saunas run at a temperature upwards of 165° F. Under such conditions, your body increases the production of heat shock proteins (HSP), among other cellular responses. HSPs are regularly found in your cells. Their primary function is to repair damaged cells. Damaged cells can aggregate and are a common marker for neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. While under environmental stress in a sauna, your body releases additional HSPs to stabilize existing cells and repair those that are damaged. Studies have shown improvement in cellular function in those who regularly utilized heat therapy. Smaller studies that shown that sauna use is linked to reduced cases of the common cold and pneumonia which can be attributed to increased immune response and improved physiological function. Strong cells=stronger ability to fight infection.
Generally, inflammation is your body's response to an injury or infection. Chronic inflammation takes place as a response to toxins or an imbalance in the body. You can encourage circulation to areas of inflammation by applying heat. During a sauna session, your heart starts pumping blood to your extremities, carrying oxygen to your muscles, and can help facilitate a reduction in inflammation.
"Sweating it out" may be the common reason people think to use a sauna, but sweat loss isn't necessarily tied to fat loss. Our skin absorbs a variety of toxins throughout the day via the air, beauty products, and human contact. Even heavy metals can make their way into our skin via cigarette smoke, exhaust, lead toys, and certain types of fish. When we sweat we can secrete those things found in the upper layers of our skin. Take time to shower after your sauna session to truly wash those toxins away.