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by Karla Borromeo
July 10, 2021
Sauna bathing is a type of heat therapy that uses dry heat, unlike steam rooms that use moist heat. It has been a practice in Finland that is starting to get more widespread attention for the benefits it can offer. There have been several studies examining the various health benefits of sauna bathing. A session can last from 10 to 30 minutes, with some breaks in between.
There are different types of saunas, including:
Infrared – These saunas use lamps that create electromagnetic radiation(different from EMF which there is safe and unsafe levels of) that heats your body rather than the whole room. These heat waves are similar to those the body naturally produces. When the energy enters the body, it warms the skin, muscles, and joints. Infrared saunas have a lower temperature and higher humidity than Finnish ones. To get the most benefit from an infrared sauna it needs to be left on all the time. If it is turned off, it will cool down.
Finnish – A traditional sauna, the Finnish version uses a dry heat with little humidity unless you sprinkle water over the rocks. Heat is created by warming up stones, which then warm up the rest of the room. It’s best if the sauna is turned on about 40 minutes before use. Finish saunas have a higher temperature and lower humidity when compared with infrared.
Many researchers have found there are various health benefits to sauna use. When you have a deep, healthy sweat, it reduces tension, your muscles unwind, and you start to feel relaxed, revived, and re-energized.
The best part is it only takes a few minutes every day to feel better. Here are some sauna benefits:
Reduce stress – Stress can harm our bodies. It can lead to sickness and diseases like heart disease. Saunas can reduce our stress and the negative impact it has on our bodies and health. They provide a quiet, warm retreat away from daily life and distractions, which clears the mind. As you sit and let the warmth wash over you, your muscles will start to relax. Just a few minutes in this environment can help reduce the tension that you feel.
Good feelings – Being in a sauna even for a short time stimulates the release of endorphins, our natural feel-good chemical. When we are stressed, our body releases cortisol. This chemical is what leads to health problems and trouble sleeping. Sauna bathing reduces cortisol and stimulates the release of our happy hormones. It is what causes that after sauna glow that we can see in our skin.
Pain reduction – The warm sauna air relaxes our muscles coupled with the release of endorphins helps to reduce joint pain and muscle soreness that results from things like intense physical workouts. Additionally, one study of the impact of sauna on patients with rheumatoid arthritis found a significant improvement in pain and stiffness.
Fights illness – Some German researchers found that sauna bathing caused white blood cells to produce more rapidly. An increase in white blood cell production can help our bodies fight illnesses like colds and the flu. Moreover, being in the dry sauna air can bring people relief from symptoms like sinus congestion.
Improve circulation – Saunas also improve circulation, which has a positive bearing on our health. As your body temperature increases, your blood vessels open up, and your circulation improves. A better and healthier blood circulation enables your body’s natural healing process to do its job better. It can enhance your body’s ability to soothe aches and heal minor cuts and bruises.
Removes toxins – Deep sweating has many health benefits, such as eliminating toxins from the body. While most often sweating is our body’s way of cooling down, a deep sweat can help purge our bodies of things like lead, copper, zinc, nickel, and mercury. These are things that our bodies absorb each day from our environment.
Brain health – One long-term study in Finland found that sauna use can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. It was the first of its kind that examined the link between sauna heat and the risk of memory diseases.
Better sleep – Regular sauna bathers claim that they have better and deeper sleep. One survey found that over 83 percent of participants reported sleep benefits after sauna use. It could be because our bodies are more relaxed after time in a sauna and the blood circulation is better, which calms our minds allowing people to fall into a deep sleep faster.
Social benefits – While saunas can be a private place where you can go and relax, they can also be recreational spaces for family and friends to gather and enjoy. The sauna environment is ideal for quiet chats with loved ones.
Here are some tips on how to get the most from your Finnish sauna experience:
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