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Sauna therapy or bathing if you prefer, has grown in popularity around the world due to the possible health benefits it offers. Sitting in a hot sauna can be a pleasant and revitalizing experience, but it also has several physical and mental health advantages you may don’t know!
The benefits of sauna therapy range from improving cardiovascular health to lowering stress and anxiety. These are just some of the several benefits of being consistent in the sauna.
As you have already understood, in this article we will analyze and examine how sauna benefits people who use them and how they can make the most out of them.
Dry Sauna Benefits: Why Should You Spend Time in a Sauna
Burns Calories (Weight Loss)
First and foremost, weight loss through calorie burning is one of the possible benefits of sauna therapy. The body’s core temperature rises during a sauna session, which causes a boost in metabolism. Sweating is very good for burning calories due to the high temperatures of the sauna.
This boost in metabolism usually allows the body to burn calories more quickly than usual, which leads to weight reduction over time.
While sauna treatment should not be used as the main priority of weight management (regular exercise and eating healthy should), adding regular sauna sessions with your balanced diet and exercise plan will definitely play a significant role in your overall weight loss plan.
Provides Temporary Pain Relief
Another advantage of sauna therapy is temporary pain relief which allows you to calm your discomforts for a while.
The sauna’s heat helps to increase circulation and blood flow throughout the body, which can help to reduce pain and discomfort associated with conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and muscle soreness.
Furthermore, the release of endorphins during sauna sessions provides natural pain relief. For those who don’t know, endorphins are several substances produced by the body that can alleviate pain and provide a sense of well-being.
In addition, endorphins are opioid receptor-binding peptides (small proteins) in the central nervous system.
While sauna therapy should not replace medical treatment by professionals, combining regular sauna sessions into a pain management plan, will help you with temporary relief as well as improve overall well-being.
Improves Recovery and Circulation
Sauna therapy is thought to aid in recovery and circulation in the body. The sauna’s heat can dilate blood vessels, allowing for increased blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles and other tissues.
The increased circulation I’ve just mentioned helps in post-workout recovery by decreasing inflammation and encouraging tissue recovery.
In addition to that, sauna therapy is an incredible “natural medicine” for people with hypertension, peripheral artery disease, and diabetes to improve their circulation.
However, if you belong to that kind of people it is important to consult your doctor or healthcare professional in order to get the green light to start sauna sessions.
Relieves Stress and Tension
Another benefit of saunas in general which is a popular one, is the relief of stress and tension.
The sauna’s heat relaxes people’s muscles and produces sensations of calm and relaxation.
Furthermore, endorphin release during the sauna bathing sessions gives you a natural kind of stress alleviation. Many sauna fans find that regular sauna treatments can assist to clear anxiety and improve a sense of overall well-being.
Improved heart health
Sauna therapy can benefit heart health by improving cardiovascular function. The body’s core temperature rises during a sauna session, causing the heart rate to rise as well.
This rise in heart rate mimics the effects of moderate exercise and can help in the improvement of total cardiovascular function over time.
Sauna therapy has also been demonstrated to lower blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
Soothing sore muscles
By improving the blood flow as we have seen before, and fostering muscle relaxation, sauna therapy is a perfect opportunity to relieve aching muscles.
The heat from the sauna can help you repair injured tissues and the reduction of inflammation by increasing circulation and oxygen delivery to your muscles.
Furthermore, the relaxation you usually get from sauna therapy helps in the reduction of muscle tension and the promotion of general sensations of relaxation and well-being.
Again, sauna therapy should not be replacing your medical treatment. Adding frequent sauna sessions in a muscle rehabilitation regimen boosts your body’s natural healing process.
Increases Resistance to Illness
Sauna bathing boosts the body’s resilience to sickness by increasing the generation of white blood cells and other immune system responses.
Regular sauna sessions have been proven to raise heat shock protein levels, which play an important role in immune system function.
Furthermore, the sauna’s heat helps the body’s creation of white blood cells, which are important for combating infections and other pathogens.
Types of Saunas and their benefits
There are several types of saunas, each with its unique features and benefits.
Below, we will analyze the benefits of three of the most popular or well-known types of saunas:
Infrared Sauna Therapy & Benefits
Infrared sauna therapy is a type of sauna that uses infrared heaters to deliver radiant heat directly into the body, which has several advantages.
Detoxification is one of the key advantages of infrared sauna therapy. The sauna’s heat will stimulate sweating, which promotes the removal of toxins and pollutants from the human body. In an infrared sauna, you sweat from the inside out. The sauna works in a way to heat you internally rather than the external heating from a traditional sauna.
This process supports the body’s natural detoxification processes while also promoting general wellness.
Moreover, infrared sauna therapy has been demonstrated in studies to be useful in relieving pain associated with illnesses such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and muscle soreness.
This can happen because the heat has the potential to permeate deep into the muscles and joints, inducing relaxation and lowering inflammation.
Traditional saunas are a type of sauna that heats the space with dry heat using either a wood-burning stove or an electric heater.
Here are some of the potential advantages of conventional sauna therapy:
By enhancing sweating and encouraging the elimination of toxins from the body, traditional sauna therapy can provide similar detoxifying effects to infrared sauna therapy.
Furthermore, the heat from the sauna can aid to enhance circulation and blood flow to the muscles, reducing discomfort and promoting recuperation after exercise.
Traditional sauna therapy has also been demonstrated to improve cardiovascular health by boosting heart rate and blood pressure. This can assist to lower the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases.
Wood Burning Sauna
A wood-burning sauna is a traditional steam sauna, that warms the air within by burning wood. In the wood-burning sauna, the warmth comes from the stove, which produces dry heat that encourages sweat, which has various advantages.
Like the other types of sauna, relaxation is one of the primary advantages of utilizing a wood-burning sauna.
The sauna’s heat and steam can assist in easing the mind and body, lowering tension and generating a sense of serenity. This is especially good for people who suffer from anxiety or stress-related disorders.
A wood-burning sauna can assist to enhance skin health in addition to relaxing. Heat and steam can assist open pores, allowing for deeper cleaning and toxin elimination from the skin.
Tips for using Saunas
So far, we have seen some of the types of saunas and how people get benefited from them. However, it is good to know some essential tips to have in mind when before you decide to go for a sauna session:
Choose the Right Type of Sauna
There are several sauna varieties to select from, each with its own set of features and perks.
Traditional Finnish saunas, infrared saunas, steam saunas, and wood-burning saunas are some of the most frequent saunas. Each style of sauna has its own set of advantages, and selecting the proper one will definitely make a huge difference in your entire experience.
Start Slowly and Patiently
When using a sauna, it’s crucial to start slowly, especially if you’re new to sauna use or have a medical condition that impairs your capacity to tolerate heat. Saunas can generate a lot of heat, which can be challenging for your body, especially if you’re not used to it.
Start slowly, which means start with shorter sessions of about 10-15 minutes and progressively increase the length as you become more accustomed to the heat. This allows your body to gradually adjust to the heat while also preventing discomfort or harmful side effects.
Take Breaks When Needed
While saunas can be relaxing and rejuvenating, it is important to take breaks and listen to your body. If you begin to feel lightheaded, dizzy, or uncomfortable, take a break and exit the sauna.
Taking breaks can also help you make the most of your sauna experience. Stepping outside for a few minutes can help cool your body down and allow you to sweat even more when you return to the sauna.
Try Essential Oils
Using essential oils in the sauna can enhance your experience while also providing additional health benefits. Eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, and lemon are some popular sauna essential oils.
Simply place a few drops of your favorite essential oil in a bowl of water and place it on the sauna’s hot rocks. The heat from the rocks will aid in the release of the essential oils’ aroma, creating a relaxing and rejuvenating environment.
Overall, essential oils are absorbed through the skin and inhaled through the nose, which can help to soothe sore muscles, clear sinuses, and promote respiratory health.
Avoid Synthetic Material Clothes
What you wear in the sauna can also influence your experience. Clothing that is comfortable, breathable, and easy to move in is essential. Many people prefer to wear a towel or swimsuit, but for the most authentic experience, others prefer to go naked.
If you choose to wear clothing, it is critical to avoid synthetic materials in favour of natural fabrics such as cotton. This will keep you cool and comfortable in the sauna’s hot, humid environment.
Cool Down when Exiting
Cooling down after a sauna session is critical for avoiding discomfort and negative side effects. When you get out of the sauna, your body is still sweating and your heart rate is raised.
Sudden fluctuations in temperature or activity can be jarring to your system, causing dizziness or fainting.
Also, take some time to unwind. When you’ve finished using the sauna, locate a comfortable location to sit or lie down and rest. For a few minutes, avoid any vigorous exercise until your heart rate and respiration rate return to normal.
Drink plenty of water (not too cold as it will shock your system) and then take a cool shower to return to your normal body temperature.
Summing up, sauna therapy has been discovered to have a variety of health benefits, including enhanced cardiovascular function, decreased inflammation, increased relaxation and many other benefits. However, it is crucial to note that sauna therapy is not for everyone and may pose hazards if not utilized appropriately. To establish whether sauna therapy is safe and beneficial for your specific health needs, contact a healthcare practitioner. Overall, sauna therapy, when used correctly and under the supervision of a healthcare expert, can be a valuable supplement to a healthy lifestyle and help you enhance your overall well-being.
Is it good to sauna every day?
Sauna sessions can have several health benefits, including relaxation and improved cardiovascular function.
However, daily sauna use may not be suitable for everyone, as it could result in risks such as dehydration or overheating.
Does sauna therapy work?
Yes, there is evidence that sauna therapy can provide various health benefits to people.
However, the effectiveness of sauna therapy may vary depending on the individual and the specific condition being treated.
How long does it take to see the benefits of an infrared sauna?
The time it takes to see the benefits of an infrared sauna can vary depending on several factors, including the frequency and duration of sauna sessions, as well as individual health factors.
Some people notice immediate benefits from using an infrared sauna, such as relaxation and increased circulation.
Other benefits, such as weight loss or reduced inflammation, may take longer to show because you need to be a consistent sauna user for months to get the best possible outcome.
It’s important to remember that the benefits of infrared sauna therapy build up over time and may vary depending on the individual.