Taking saunas may not be a new practice, but the health benefits saunas are creating quite a stir in the world of holistic healing and natural health. If you are looking for a new method for burning calories, try sweating it out at the sauna. Perhaps you would like to improve the overall health and appearance of your skin. Head to the sauna. For relaxation, rejuvenation and a remedy for the common aches and pains that life brings, the sauna may be the perfect place for you.
The sauna has been around for thousands of years, and has evolved to meet the needs of current cultures throughout generations. What began as tribes sitting around a fire pit in a hole in the ground has now been touted as the miracle healer for everything from bad skin to cancer. So what’s the truth about taking a sauna? Read on for the real sauna benefits and the types of saunas that work best for you.
Health Benefits of Saunas
Cardiovascular Benefits of a Sauna
The benefits of a sauna extend beyond detoxification; it’s also good for your heart. Sitting in a sauna has effects akin to mild exercise. The heart gets a gentle workout while the heat of the sauna dilates the capillaries and improves blood flow.
In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 15 minutes in a sauna a day for 14 days improved the function of the endothelial cells lining the arteries by 40 percent.
Japanese researchers have found that sitting in a sauna is particularly helpful for congestive heart failure. After taking daily saunas for four weeks, 13 of 15 patients with serious heart failure had significant decreases in blood pressure and improvements in ejection fraction (a measure of the heart’s pumping ability), exercise tolerance and oxygen uptake.
Sauna therapy is a great way for weight loss, with minimal effort. During a sauna bath, the heart rate increases substantially due to the dry heat. Scientific calibrations suggest that a 20-minute session at around 170 degrees Fahrenheit burns over 500 calories. The body’s metabolism speeds up similar to the way it does from physical exercise and is a great method to maintain weight.
Another one of the major benefits of sauna is that it helps to create a stronger immune system. Sauna sessions help produce white blood cells. The white blood cells of the body are its medium to fight against attacking infections and ailments. As the regular users of sauna have higher count of white blood cells, they stay healthier and if illnesses occur, they heal faster.
One of the significant organs of our body, your skin also needs regular exercise and saunas are a great way to exercise skin. As we grow older, more of the dead cells accumulate onto our skin pores, as the skin becomes less elastic. A few sessions in the sauna improve blood flow to our skin, which aids the growth of new skin and also removes all the dead cells that were building up previously. The oils, which are the natural moisturizers and antibiotics present in our skin are mobilized through saunas. This helps us to look younger in a significant way.
Additional Benefits of a Sauna
Other conditions for which sauna is proving to be helpful include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Mild depression
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Skin conditions
And don’t forget this very important point: Sauna just makes you feel good.
Types of Saunas
Traditional saunas are a high heat, low humidity environment. Temperatures range between 80-90°C (185-195°F) and water is splashed over the heater rocks to create a blast of hypersteam and intensify the feeling of heat. For those who enjoy this experience, there is nothing in the world quite like it.
Infrared saunas provide a much more mild environment. Infrared rays heat the body directly and the air secondarily. For those who enjoy the “heat bath” experience, but cannot take or do not enjoy traditional saunas, infrared is an excellent alternative.
It is important to keep in mind that the experience is not the same. Many people who have experienced and enjoyed traditional saunas inquire about infrared saunas thinking it will be the same.
Infrared saunas provide a very enjoyable experience, but are different from a traditional sauna. If you know and love traditional saunas, you should seek out information beyond the claims of infrared vendors.
If you enjoy steam in the sauna, higher temperatures and a more social environment, then traditional sauna may be the best sauna for you.
If you prefer lower temperatures but with body-penetrating heat, far-infrared sauna may be your best sauna choice.
Learn to Love Your Sweat
Whether you perspire, glisten or just plain sweat, this often distasteful function of the body actually has numerous benefits. This is why sweating it out in the sauna is thought to be so good for you. Sweat is the best way to get rid of numerous toxins from the body, giving your kidneys a break in the elimination process and keeping your system cleaner and healthier.