For a long time now, many people have referred to saunas as ‘The Poor Man’s Pharmacy.’ But are there really any health benefits to be had from just sitting in a sauna? You bet there is!
Saunas actually go back 3,000 years when Mayans used ‘sweat houses’ for religious ceremonies and to maintain good health. From the Roman baths to Native American sweat lodges, nearly every ancient culture has employed heat as a way to relax. Today, saunas are ubiquitous throughout the globe. People use them to de-stress, relax, socialize, and wellness.
Here’s a list of surprising health benefits that you can enjoy from chilling out in a sauna regularly.
Increased blood circulation
Anyone who spends a few minutes inside of a sauna will find that their hearts are beating faster and that their blood vessels widen. This allows blood to move throughout the body much more freely and efficiently which in turn allows oxygen and other nutrients to more easily reach cells – thus making them function better. Better circulation can improve joint movement, help with muscle soreness, attenuate symptoms associated with arthritis and allow for greater mobility.
Improved cardiovascular performance
One of the most commonly cited benefits of sauna bathers is the reduction of stress levels. The medical establishment has long known that constant stress can negatively impact our health. It’s also well known that common conditions like heart disease are often directly related to stress. A common saying people use is, “ to step into a sauna is to close the door to the rest of the world.” Saunas are quiet, dark, and quiet places where you can reflect and clear your mind without having to deal with any distractions from the outside world. This can be enormously beneficial in today’s fast-paced world. The heat from the sauna allows your body’s muscles to relax, increases your heart rate similar to aerobic exercise, induces sweating, and releases endorphins in the nervous system. As you may be aware of, endorphins are the body’s natural ‘feel good’ chemical and the wonderful glow you get after using the sauna can be attributed to them.
• Using a sauna 2 to 3 time a week has been shown to reduce fatal cardiovascular disease by 27% whereas using one 4 to 7 times a week reduces the same risk by 50%.
• A 3-month study of bi-weekly sauna use was shown to reduce the risk of hypertension and occurrence of high blood pressure.
• Long-term sauna and aerobic exercise are both associated with better arterial compliance which allows arteries to more aptly handle stressors.
Can reduce incidents of Alzheimer’s disease by 65%
A study conducted by Dr. Jari Laukkanen from the University of Eastern Finland over the span of 20 years with more than 2,300 participants revealed that using a sauna 4 to 7 times per week for a minimum of 19 minutes lowered the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and Dementia by 65%, compared to the control group who used the sauna seldomly (i.e. 0 to 1 times a week)
Cleanses and improves skin
Heat bathing is one of the most ancient techniques used to maintain the beauty of one’s health and skin. After being exposed to heat for a certain amount of time, the body starts to produce sweat via deep sweating, dead skin cells are replaced, and skin pores are cleansed. Oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood also reaches skin cells more efficiently – keeping your skin in good condition. Deep sweats even rinse bacteria from the epidermal layer and sweat ducts, and the cleansing of pores has been shown to improve capillary circulation which gives the skin a softer-looking quality.
Flushes toxins from the system
Unless you’re exercising vigorously every day, many – if not most – of us don’t sweat on a daily basis since many of today’s jobs are sedentary. Deep sweating has been shown to have numerous health benefits and these benefits can be enjoyed from regular sauna bathing. Deep sweating in a sauna has been shown to reduce levels of heavy metals like copper, zinc, lead, mercury, as well as other harmful external toxins that unfortunately are all too commonly absorbed simply by going outside in a today’s urban environment. Ridding these harmful substances from your body can have enormous health benefits. Most physicians would agree that one of the reasons that saunas are so popular is that they’re a fun and relaxing way to detoxify our bodies.