Like most of us, sauna enthusiasts know, regular sauna sessions are a great way to care for our health. Being in a sauna makes us feel great, relaxed, and has a lot of health benefits. This is no news; ancient civilizations have known about heat and steam's unique benefits. The Roman baths' environment and surroundings, combined with the steam's therapeutic benefits, made them an ideal setting for people of all classes to gather. That is why some spas still use the designs of ancient Roman steam houses to this day.
No one knows precisely where the first sauna was built. However, it is believed saunas originated in Northern Europe around 2000 BC and to this day are part of the cultural life of countries like Estonia, Russia, and of course Finland.
The first electric saunas were invented in Finland then popularized in the USA in the mid-20th century, making the sauna a more accessible experience.
Sauna is a Great Stress Buster
The main benefit of sauna bathing is help people release stress. If you are a regular sauna bather, we are sure you will feel happy and relaxed after a session. Chronic stress takes a toll on our entire body, saunas can help combat that stress through the release of hormones like endorphins and increases circulation, which help relaxe the muscles and the mind. Sauna bathing makes people feel warm from the inside, out.
The called "stress hormone" or cortisol is a steroid hormone that helps regulate body processes like the immune response and metabolism. This hormone has a significant role in helping the body respond to stress. When your body feels stressed, your adrenal glands start producing and releasing cortisol into your bloodstream. The heat from the sauna helps control the cortisol released in your blood, thus preventing you from stressing out.
When your body starts elevating its temperature as a reaction to the sauna's heat, it makes you more alert, less receptive to pain, and boosts your mood, giving you a feeling of happiness. It helps relax the muscle tension of your neck and face. Feeling relaxed after your sauna session will surely improve your mood.
2. Flushes Toxins Out of Body
Sauna bathing increases the body temperature, makes the blood vessels widen, and increases blood circulation in the body. This generated heat through blood vessels is released through the skin pores which stimulates the sweat glands.
Our body skin is porous and absorbs particulates through the air and things we touch. Sweat collects that gunk from deep in pores, ready to be washed away. It leaves behind rejuvenated, clearer skin.
Many people do not actively sweat daily. However, deep sweating while in the sauna, has multiple proven health benefits. You can achieve health benefits from a deep sweat by doing regular sauna sessions. Due to the heat of a sauna, the core body temperature begins to rise and you start to sweat. Sweating profusely helps to eliminate the toxins in our body, and by doing so, the body can detoxify.
Another health benefit of using a sauna is that it may improve clinical symptoms in patients exposed to mold.
However, always remember when entering a sauna to be adequately hydrated, as it is essential for your liver and kidneys to function properly.
Always drink plenty of water before and after using the sauna to replenish lost fluids. Let your liver and kidneys do the work.
3. Saunas Burn Calories
The sweating process involved in sauna bathing requires a considerable amount of energy, which is released from converting fats and carbohydrates in the body. As they produce energy for sweating, at the same time, they reduce body weight. Additionally, it provides these measures with a bit of impact, which can be a cardiovascular exercise if you are recovering from injury or are unable to exercise or do any straining physical activity. Sauna bathing is a helpful aid on your journey to a healthier body.
For many, weight loss is one of the main goals of an exercise plan. Combining exercise and sauna can help boost weight loss. We don't recommend depending only on the sauna as a weight-loss tool. When you enter the sauna, you will surely lose weight. However, this weight is water weight, so the weight will come back when you drink back all the liquids.
Saunas are a great tool to boost the cardiovascular system, which in combination with an exercise plan and a correct diet, will help you achieve your weight goal in less time.
Overall, doing sauna sessions regularly will help you boost muscle recovery, improve your well-being, and decrease body fat. All these things are helpful in a weight loss journey.
4. Helps to Fight Illness
Regular sauna bathing helps you fight colds, coughs, and other respiratory illnesses. In the sauna the body is exposed to heat while you are inside, so it rapidly produces WBCs (white blood cells), which can help you fight diseases and stay healthy. An increase in circulation also helps reduce inflammation in the sinus due to allergies, colds, or sinus infections.
Since 1957, regular sauna sessions have been a great way to prevent colds and flu. During World War II, the Finnish troops used sauna therapy to prevent the spread of typhus fever. Ever since multiple studies have confirmed the wellness benefits sauna brings.
For example, in a study made in Finland with 50 patients, divided into two groups: one group will do regular sauna sessions for three months, and the second group will not do any sauna sessions over that period. The results showed that the group that did regular sauna sessions had a common cold cut in half compared to those that didn't.
People who use saunas at least four times per week, compared to those who use a sauna once a week or don't use it, have approximately half the risk of developing respiratory diseases or pneumonia.
5. Sauna Induce a Deeper Sleep
Sauna bathing is excellent for people who have insomnia. Not only does sauna bathing stimulates endorphins, but it also elevates body temperature in the evening, thus inducing a deeper sleep.
The importance of good quality sleep is overall essential in our health and well-being. Insomnia or sleep deprivation is linked to many health issues, both physical and mental. When you've had a good night's rest, it can help you improve your mental and physical alertness.
Sauna boosts the release of endorphins because the body temperature becomes elevated in the late evening fall at bedtime. That relaxing and slow decline in endorphins is critical in facilitating sleep. Many sauna enthusiasts confirm they have been getting profound and better sleep experiences after sauna bathing due to the calming heat of the sauna.
6. Saunas Improve blood pressure
A study claims that regular sauna sessions can help you lower your chances of developing high blood pressure. One of these studies published in the American Journal of Hypertension concluded that men who used a sauna four days a week reduced their risk of developing high blood pressure by 24%, men who did seven sessions per week decreased their risk by 46%, this compared to men who only did one session of 20 minutes per week.
More investigation is needed to see if these blood pressure benefits translate to women or non-frequent sauna users. However, sauna bathing is an activity that promotes relaxation and detoxification and could help prevent hypertension.
According to a 20 year-long study made in Finland in which they have followed up to 2000 males who used saunas multiple times a week, they have found that:
- The first group using the sauna two to three times a week was 24% less likely to develop high blood pressure (hypertension).
- The second group using the sauna four to seven times a week was 46% less likely to develop hypertension than men who only used it once a week.
7. Improves recovery after workout
Going in the sauna after a workout is a practice many high-performance athletes do. During exercise, muscles work hard, which may cause microscopic tears that cause inflammation and soreness.
Due to these microscopic tears, you can experience cramps, soreness, and tightness. Using a sauna helps your body heal from these tears and helps strengthen the muscles. The heat of the sauna increases blood circulation and enhances muscle recovery. Heat also helps relieve muscle tension and relax.
Sweating in a sauna helps your body release toxins caused by alcohol, toxic metals, nicotine, and more harmful elements. Having this sauna routine will make you feel better after an intense workout.
So if you've never given much thought to the sauna after your workout routine, it might be time to give it a try. If you spend some minutes in the sauna after each workout, you will start seeing results in your performance.
8. Sauna Skin Benefits
Aside from all the mental and physical benefits that regular sauna sessions can provide, skin benefits are one of the most popular.
Sweating in a sauna session helps flush out the skin toxins and impurities. It also has a cleansing effect on the glands and pores, resulting in glowing and healthier skin; if you are prone to acne, pimples, and blackheads, regular sauna sessions can help combat these skin conditions.
The high temperatures of the sauna increase blood circulation; this helps give your skin a fresh appearance. The heat and sweating induced in the sauna stimulate the skin's sebaceous glands. These glands' function is to keep the skin moisturized and lubricated. The sauna helps keep your skin in great shape by boosting its sebum production.
Another great sauna benefit for your skin's health is the ability to reduce the signs of aging and help the skin look younger since it boosts collagen and elastin production. It also may help cellulite and stretch marks.
9. Relieves the stress of the day
Multiple studies show how negatively stress impacts the brain; stress can affect our immune system weight and increase blood pressure.
Maintaining high-stress levels for significant periods can lead to memory problems, concentration difficulties, and trigger anxiety.
Experts say that chronic stress causes changes in white and grey matter and impacts the number of neurons.
A sauna can help the body adapt better to stress and relax the mind. Doing a sauna session per day can help you manage chronic stress. For those 15 to 30 minutes, you spend a day inside the heat of the sauna, relax, disconnect yourself from the world and concentrate on getting the benefits of sauna bathing. After a month of following this routine, we are sure that you will begin to see a change in your mood, in your ability to focus, and in your performance.
10. Saunas improve mental health
We have talked vastly about the benefits of the sauna for the body; however, mental health is equally as important; it is one of the most important factors for living a happy and healthy life.
Sauna mimics the sweating and stress of mild exercise without physical exertion. Practicing exercise or any physical activity regularly has multiple health benefits on our body and, more importantly, our mind. Numerous studies have proved that exercise helps battle depression as it helps block negative thoughts, provides an opportunity for socialization, promotes a night of better sleep, and battles insomnia.
Physical activity helps change the chemical levels in your brain and enables you to produce more endorphins and serotonin.
Just the simple activity of sitting and unwinding inside a sauna helps ease the mind and helps improve concentration and focus.
Overall, the sauna's health benefits are pretty confirmed; heat provided in saunas can improve mental health, relieve depression, and calm people with anxiety. It also makes it easier to relax, improves your appetite, and improves sleeping disorders, all of which are signs of stress. Furthermore, the meditative state you have inside the saunas helps you organize your thoughts, render a solution to a problem, and de-stress your body and mind. It only proves that a regular session in saunas shows impressive things to your body, inside and out.