If you’ve had the experience of sitting in a sauna, either with a group of friends or alone in a quiet space, you’ll know that they leave you feeling less stressed, more energized, and probably even a little bit lighter. Saunas have been used for some time, although they’ve been modified from time to time in order to maximize the user’s experience.
There are a variety of conditions and health problems that can be helped through the regular use of a sauna. Recent studies have noted the difference in those who suffer from arthritis and fibromyalgia, and how drastically their symptoms were reduced even after the first few sessions. Although doctors don’t support the tradition of heading straight from the sauna into the snow bank for those with heart problems, they do notice that sauna can help improve the health of those who experience hypertension. Another recent study identified the increase in stamina of a group of runners (by a very significant 32%) after they’d been treated to a sauna session. Plasma and red cell volumes also showed signs of increasing by several percent. An experiment conducted at the University of Vienna showed that using a sauna can help to reduce your likelihood of catching the common cold. Out of 50 total subjects, 25 used the sauna regularly, and 25 did not. After a 6 month period, it was found that those using the sauna had far fewer colds than those who did not.
Another great benefit of using a sauna is the aspect of relaxation and the ability to de stress. Sitting in a sauna allows your body to release tension, and this is a great way to relieve the pain of sore and aching muscles. It also means that your mind has the chance to regroup and those who visit a sauna weekly noticed a change in their ability to fall asleep and remain sleeping throughout the entire night. In a fast paced life, it helps to have a place where stress is limited and relaxation is the key.
One of the greatest benefits, however, might just be the body’s ability to detox in a sauna. Our bodies are constantly bombarded with toxins, no matter how hard we try to live naturally and cleaner. Some of these toxins are easily controlled, while others are as a result of the environment around us. Your food supply can be controlled to a certain degree by you; if you grow your own food, or dedicate to locating and consuming only organic products, you’re doing your body a great service by not allowing the chemicals from processed foods and pesticides which are found in most of our fruits and veggies to contaminate your body. The cleaners in your home are another way in which you can control the toxins either invading or being eliminated. There are numerous natural ways in which to clean everything in your home, from top to bottom. The environment is a little trickier, as you cannot control the pollutants others put into the air. Barring a move to the middle of nowhere, you will be susceptible to the toxins of those around you.
There is plenty of research to back up the positive effects a sauna has on detoxifying the body. When you sweat copious amounts, the toxins that are stored in even the deeper layers of tissue pass up through fat and skin and out of your system. Circulation also increases, along with an improved oxygen supply. More oxygen means your body has an improved way of releasing toxins in the blood. Heavy metals, solvents, PCB’s, organic chemicals and pharmaceuticals can all be released from your body, giving your organs a chance to operate at their fullest capacity. The organs most affected by a detox include your kidneys, liver, and your digestive system. The largest organ in your body also benefits a great deal with a regular visit to a sauna; your skin.
When your body temperature heats up, your heart also starts to beat faster. It’s said that during a 30 minute session, you can burn up to 600 calories, meaning that while you detoxify, you can also lose weight.
Using a sauna can certainly have vast and far reaching benefits for your entire body, but take caution to start slow. Your first few sessions should only last a few minutes, progressively getting longer until you build up to a full 30 minutes per time.
This article was written by Jon Reyes from Steam Shower Store. He has over 10 years’ experience in writing health related topics and specializes in the health benefits of saunas and hydrotherapy.