Sauna therapy is a great way to sit and relax, easing the body and mind. However, saunas and steam baths are much more than just leisure products. Indeed, there are various health benefits associated with using a sauna.
The tradition of using a sauna stems from the centuries old ritual of cleansing the body and the soul. Routines vary, but the basic idea is simple: sitting in the sauna, which is typically warmed to 160 – 180 degrees Fahrenheit (71 – 82 Celsius), for 10-20 minutes. When the heat starts to become uncomfortable, we recommend that you jump into a lake, or swimming pool, or take a cold shower to help bring your heart rate back to normal. After a short rest the cycle can be repeated again.
Regular sauna use can result in a number of health advantages – here are our top five:
The steam and heat of the sauna help muscles relax, reduce anxiety, soothe the mind and rejuvenate the body. It increases blood flow and enhances oxygen supply, relaxing your body and your mental state. It is recommended that you use the sauna as a place to unwind and find relief from stress.
In this day and age, most people are exposed to toxins every day. Toxic chemicals are abundantly present in our food and environment, so it seems reasonable to aid the detoxification process with regular sauna use. Sauna therapy helps the body sweat out toxins and flush excess water and waste. The heat releases poisons and heavy metals stored beneath the skin so that they can be purged through respiration.
3. Weight Loss
Sauna therapy is also used as a weight loss aid; although your body might feel relaxed, your heart rate is actually increasing due to the dry heat. A 20-minute session at approximately 165 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit (73 – 79 Celsius) will burn over 500 calories. In fact, the body’s metabolism speeds up similarly to the way it would from physical exercise.
4. Skin Care
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and one of its jobs is to flush toxins via perspiration. Blood flow to the skin increases during a sauna session. The heat of sauna therapy increases sweating to release impurities and body wastes through the skin. You are not only cleaning your pores but increasing circulation. With more essential nutrients being available to subcutaneous and surface tissue, the quality of the skin gradually improves, leaving a healthy, glowing complexion.
When you get a fever, it’s our body’s natural way of killing off the bad virus. Bad germs die when our body gets too warm. Fevers stimulate the body’s natural healing process. As a result, your immune system will produce greater numbers of disease fighting white blood cells and antibodies to eliminate viruses and other pathogens. In a sauna, our bodies benefit from the same effect, as our immune system produces antibodies and the incubation heat to get rid of bad germs.
Sauna therapy also helps with respiratory problems by alleviating chest congestion, which can aid complications from bronchitis, laryngitis and other respiratory diseases. It is often used to treat the pain and stiffness of arthritis, but is beneficial for everyone to revive stiff, pulled or achy muscles.
There are several safety precautions that you should always follow:
- Do not stay in the hot room for more than 30 minutes
- Allow adequate time for rest after leaving the sauna
- Drink a sufficient amount of water to replenish lost fluids and minerals
- Be sure to remove contact lenses before entering the sauna
- Avoid drugs, alcohol and food before using the sauna
- Pregnant women should avoid sauna and steam-baths altogether
- If you have serious heart or respiratory problems, check with your doctor before using a sauna.