Are you trying to get healthy and are wondering about the benefits of sitting in a sauna? Read this article to learn more about why you should use a sauna.
For thousands of years, cultures have been bathing in saunas for various health, hygiene, social, and spiritual purposes.
Is there any truth to these claims? Research says yes.
While you relax in the sauna, your heart is working overtime. The dry heat of a sauna causes you to sweat almost immediately. As the sweat evaporates, you may barely notice. Your pulse rate jumps, and your heart nearly doubles the amount of blood it pumps each minute.
This extra blood flow circulates away from your internal organs to your skin. It’s like exercise for your blood cells. But what effect does this have on your body?
Keep reading for a list of 10 health benefits of sitting in a sauna.
1. Promote Deeper Sleep
Regular sauna bathing can induce a more relaxed, deeper sleep.
Even when you're tired, it’s sometimes hard to fall asleep due to daily stressors. Use a sauna to relax when you’re overly anxious or stressed. The calming heat floods your body with hormones that fight cortisol and pain.
You can ease physical pain by using a sauna before bed in the evenings. This total muscle relaxation helps you let go of physical and mental tension.
2. Lower Toxin Levels
Saunas make you sweat. A lot.
Most people don’t break out into a deep sweat daily, even though deep sweating touts many health benefits.
As your body temperature rises in a sauna and blood flow increases, you sweat to cool down your body. Sweat is 99% water, but it also includes toxins such as lead, copper, zinc, mercury, and nickel. You absorb these toxins from the environment, and sweating is a great way to release them and detoxify your body.
3. Cleanse Pores
If you follow a daily skin-care routine, you know that cleansing is essential to keeping your skin in optimal condition.
Sauna bathing is one of the oldest beauty strategies for cleansing skin. As all that sweating is happening, your skin releases and replaces dead skin cells.
Bacteria is rinsed out of your skin through sweat ducts, which improves capillary circulation and improves the look of pores.
4. Burn Calories
While sauna bathing is not an effective weight-loss strategy, you’ll definitely burn more calories.
If you’re in poor shape, you will likely see high amounts of calorie burn when you first start sauna bathing. Sweating uses a lot of energy that comes from the conversion of carbohydrates and fat.
As your heart pumps more blood, this process demands more oxygen. Your body will need to convert more calories to energy to keep up.
5. Intimate Socialization
You may not equate the sauna with socialization, but sauna rooms have social benefits, too.
While you may seek a sauna for relaxation and solitude, you can also use the time to socialize with family or friends in an open, quiet environment. It’s a nice way to connect without the distractions of daily life surrounding you.
6. Aid in Healing
We’ve already discussed the release of endorphins powered by saunas, but did you know these hormones can also help your body heal?
If you’ve ever had an intense physical workout, you know how sore your body can feel afterwards. The calming effect of sauna bathing minimizes this pain while the increased blood flow speeds up the healing process.
Promote muscle relaxation with the heat of a sauna and you’ll be a better athlete.
7. Stronger Cardiovascular Performance
Stress isn’t just hard on you mentally, it causes physical health issues. It’s known that many diseases, such as heart disease and obesity, are stress-related.
Sauna use relieves stress. The warm, quiet place relaxes muscles and helps release endorphins that make us glow. Sometimes, the sauna will lower blood pressure, which reduces the risk of hypertension.
Using the sauna long term is associated with healthier arteries. Stronger arteries are better equipped to handle stress.
It’s important to exercise sauna safety when living with certain chronic conditions, so consult your doctor before adding sauna use to your routine.
8. Increase Lifespan
The relaxing and meditative effects of sauna use is linked to a lower risk of early mortality.
One study conducted by the University of Eastern Finland focused on 2,300 middle-aged men. They split the men into three groups according to their frequency of sauna use. Each visit to the sauna lasted approximately 14 minutes at the same 175F heat.
Over 20 years, 49% of participants who went only once a week died, compared to just 31% of those who used a sauna four to seven times a week. Multiple visits to a sauna per week was also associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
9. Reprieve from Chronic Conditions
Regular sauna use can ease symptoms associated with disorders such as osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. You can even visit the sauna to relieve the pain of chronic headaches.
The benefits come from the sauna's ability to reduce blood inflammation levels. Inflammation in the blood causes pain and fatigue associated with chronic conditions. While sauna bathing isn't the cure, it can go a long way in relieving symptoms.
10. Protect Your Lungs
If you have asthma or another chronic breathing condition, saunas may improve your lung function.
People who contract colds or pneumonia regularly in the winter have experienced positive effects from visiting the sauna when it’s cold outside.
Research proves that sauna bathing improves the vital capacity and volume of the lungs, and better ventilation and expiratory volume.
Enjoy The Benefits of Sitting in a Sauna
Sauna bathing might not be the key to a healthy, longer life, but it’s a good place to start.
It’s important to ease into sauna sessions so that your tolerance rises. If you’ve never experienced these benefits of sitting in a sauna, now is the time to try!
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