Top Ten Sauna Health Benefits
1. Feel better instantly! Taking a sauna relaxes muscles and soothes aches and pains in muscles and joints. How it works: Under high heat, the body releases endorphins — the body’s naturally produced pain-relieving chemicals. Endorphins can have a mild, enjoyable tranquilizing effect, which eases muscle soreness.
2. Banish Tension! Use a sauna as a warm, quiet space to let down from the cares of the day. Finnleo users cite “stress relief” as the #1 benefit of taking a sauna. Regular sauna bathers report that after leaving the sauna, their minds are more relaxed, clear and free from day-to day worries. The after-sauna glow has a positive effect on mental health.
3. Diminish Joint and Arthritis Pain. The release of endorphins and the high, constant heat allows sauna bathers to move joints more freely. Arthritis sufferers report that they can manage their daily pain levels and use less pain relief medication with regular sauna use.
4. Sleep like a baby. The complete relaxation you experience after taking a sauna prepares your body for sleep. Research has shown that the release of endorphins when body temperature is raised in the evening can lead to deeper sleep as the body cools.
5. Be a lean, mean, germ fighting machine. Austrian scientists as reported in the New York Times demonstrated that sauna use significantly reduced the incidence of colds and flu. As you are exposed to a sauna’s heat and steam, your body produces illness-fighting white blood cells. Sauna use relieves congestion from colds and allergies, especially when used with steam.
6. Beat SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real problem here in the sun-deprived Northwest. A sauna with color therapy lights can help.
7. More sweat? Deep sweat for health. In the heat of the sauna, your core body temperature rises, causing blood vessels to dilate and blood flow to increase. Sweating cools the body. 99% of what’s produced by the sweat glands is water. But it’s believed that deep sweating can help reduce levels of lead, copper, zinc, nickel and mercury — all poisonous toxins that are prevalent in our environment. Suffer from multiple chemical sensitivity? A sauna can help.
8. Enjoy a cleaner, closer shave, and cleaner skin! There is abundant anecdotal evidence that regular sauna use reduces acne by rinsing bacteria from pores by sweating. At the same time your skin is cleansed, dead cells are replaced, creating a soft, youthful appearance. Sauna use improves shaving, too. As the heat opens pores, hair follicles are softened, making it easier to get a close shave.
9. Pump up the (heart) volume. As your core body temperature rises in a sauna, blood vessels near the skin dilate and cardiac output increases. Medical research shows that your heart rate can rise from 60-70/minute to 110-120/minute in the sauna and then sink to below normal after the cooling off stage. With regular sauna use the heart rate/cardiac output can be increased. Further cardiovascular conditioning occurs when the sauna is taken in multiple “innings,” with sessions in the sauna separated by a cool shower. Every time you rapidly change temperature from hot to cold or vice versa, your heart rate increases by as much as 60% — comparable to moderate exercise.
10. Shed pounds. In a sauna, calories are expended in at least two ways. First is the sweating process itself. It takes energy to sweat and that energy is derived from the conversion of fat and carbohydrates in a process that burns calories. According to U.S. Army medical research (Ward Dean, M.D.), “A moderately conditioned person can easily sweat off 500 calories in a sauna in a single session, consuming 300 calories in the process.” The body consumes calories because the heart rate is accelerated. As that activity increases, demanding more oxygen, the body burns more calories.