October is Sauna Month at Olympic and there’s nothing like sauna bathing for maintaining your health and keeping you young. Saunas are not as popular in this country as they are in Finland simply because the many benefits are not as well known. But there’s one person who’s out to change that by recommending sauna use for daily life.
In his book “8 Weeks to Optimum Health-A Proven Program for Taking Full Advantage of Your Body’s Natural Healing Power “, noted natural health practitioner, Dr. Andrew Weil recommends taking a sauna 2-3 times a week. The health benefits are unbeatable.
Saunas promote sweating by exposing the skin to high heat. The body’s surface temperature while sitting in a sauna, even briefly, can rise to 104 degrees F. The heart rate will increase, and blood will begin to circulate toward the skin surface, causing the body to sweat as it cools itself down.
Many people believe it is this process that is the biggest benefit of a sauna. Dr. Weil says that “when you take a sauna, the heat pumps up blood circulation near the skin and stimulates sweating. The Finns say a proper sauna elicits about a quart of sweat per hour. … It helps the body rid itself of unwanted materials and improves general circulation.”
Dr Weil also says in his health column, “I’m a sauna enthusiast, and I often recommend “sweat bathing” in saunas to cleanse the skin, soothe sore muscles, or simply relax. Sweating in a sauna can also be beneficial to patients with arthritis, asthma or respiratory infections, and is a good way to recover from overindulgence in food or drink. The sweating rids the body of excess sodium and other unwanted substances. It also helps eliminate drugs and some toxins and by doing so can take some of the workload off the liver and kidneys. I recommend regular visits to saunas or steam rooms to patients with liver or kidney disease.”
“Sweating in a sauna or steam room dilates the blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure and increases circulation to the skin. You don’t need much time in the heat – 10 to 20 minutes is enough to work up a good sweat.
If you have high blood pressure or a heart problem, be sure to check with your physician before going to a sauna or steam room. The heat can cause circulatory changes, including an increased heart rate. Overall, however, the only real risk to a sauna or steam room is spending too much time sweating. You can faint from overheating and from dehydration. Be sure to drink lots of water before, during and after your sweat.”
Take it from Dr. Weil whose reputation for wellness advocacy is worldwide. He believes that taking the steps to maintain good health pays huge dividends as we age. Taking a sauna 2-3 times a week is one giant step to attaining optimum health.
He’s not the only raving fan of saunas. Our Olympic sauna customers can’t say enough about the benefits! Check with your physician before going to a sauna or steam room. The heat can cause circulatory changes, including an increased heart rate. Overall, however, the only real risk to a sauna or steam room is spending too much time sweating. You can faint from overheating and from dehydration. See more on the health risks and benefits in our blog post: ” Facts & Fables About Traditional Steam Saunas.” Be sure to drink lots of water before, during and after your sweat.