A sauna can do amazing things for your health, both physically and mentally. In the blog that is in front of you, find out what all the benefits derive from the continuous use of the sauna.
It is a scientifically proven fact that heat and sweating have many positive effects on our health.
According to numerous studies conducted at the most prestigious scientific institutions, regular use of the sauna has been proven to significantly improve your overall health and contribute to the improvement of numerous body conditions.
1. Sauna improves heart health and regulates blood pressure
A review of the entire published scientific literature on saunas shows a strong trend toward coronary benefits, primarily in their ability to help normalize blood pressure and reduce the chance of congestive heart failure. In fact, a Harvard review of data showed a potential heart attack risk reduction of 40+% if you use a sauna 4-7 times a week. And the benefit increased with increased use. In other words, the study showed that the more often and longer a person uses a sauna, the more benefits they have and the longer they live on average.
Heat conditioning or using a sauna resembles cardiovascular exercise in many ways because the cardiovascular system has to work harder to eliminate heat. Not only does it increase blood flow, perspiration and cardiovascular fitness, but it also leads to a heightened sense of euphoria, similar to the one we feel after exercise, when we feel relaxed, happy and with no or significantly less pain.
2. Sweating and detoxification
Increased circulation and sweating can significantly contribute to detoxification (cleansing the body of accumulated toxins), and in this way, sauna therapy helps the body’s natural detoxification process through sweating.
There is also some evidence that sweating can help reduce heavy metals in the body. A 2012 study found that toxic heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury are found in the sweat of people exposed to these harmful metals. In a case report from a systematic review, they found that mercury levels normalized with repeated sauna treatments. Again, this benefit comes from sweating, not any particular mechanism of the sauna itself.
3. Pain relief and muscle recovery
Saunas increase heat shock protein and antioxidant enzymes and stimulate cellular cleaning (autophagy), which can help our cells function like new. In aged mice, increasing heat shock protein helps delay aging and improves cognitive function.
Sauna bathing can also increase several anti-aging hormones, including human growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1. IGF-1, in particular, can really help with injury healing.
Several heat shock proteins can even help increase muscle mass, even without weight training.
Through photobiomodulation, infrared therapy has a strong anti-inflammatory effect that can accelerate wound healing.
This is the reason why many people, including celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Tom Hanks, Michael Jordan and many others turn to saunas for pain relief.
4. Mood and cognitive functions
Just like running, sauna use increases endorphins (the happy hormone) and opioids (the body’s natural pain reliever), as well as a molecule called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the brain.
BDNF stimulates neurogenesis (growth of new neuron cells) in the brain and protects new neurons from damage. Improving BDNF levels is therefore important for cognitive function. In addition, low or abnormal levels of BDNF may be the cause of several mental and psychiatric diseases.
A sauna can also reduce stress by rebalancing the stress response axis. It can help reduce cortisol and thus help with stress-related health problems. Saunas also enhance a neurotransmitter called norepinephrine, which can help improve cognitive performance.
5. Weight loss and metabolic health
Contrary to popular claims, using heat and sauna does not directly burn fat or kill fat cells. However, saunas can help improve insulin sensitivity, increase muscle mass and reduce fat by changing the hormonal environment. In addition, saunas also reduce inflammation. Therefore, sauna therapy can prevent obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
A Japanese study found that two weeks of sauna therapy increased appetite and food intake in people of a healthy weight. However, in overweight people, sauna use along with a low-calorie diet resulted in significant weight and body fat loss.
6. Help with inflammatory processes
As mentioned above, sauna use can increase the presence of heat shock proteins, which are anti- inflammatory. For this reason, saunas can help reduce chronic inflammation. Since inflammation is associated with almost every major disease, this is a really big deal!
According to Dr. Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist board-certified in sleep medicine, a sudden drop in body temperature at night is one of the circadian cues that the body recognizes as a sign that it’s time to sleep. This explains why a warm bath or shower before bed can improve sleep quality.
Since a sauna usually heats the body much hotter than a hot shower, it may take several hours for the body to cool down to sleep. To improve sleep quality, consider using a sauna in the afternoon or before dinner to allow your body to cool down before bedtime.
A Japanese study also found that using a sauna 4 or more times a week in the afternoon improves sleep quality in people who suffer from insomnia.
8. Skin health
To eliminate heat, your body increases blood flow to the skin. In addition, the skin adapts to this process, making it healthier. A German study showed that the skin of people who regularly use saunas can better retain moisture and maintain a healthy skin pH. In addition, sauna users had less sebum on their foreheads, suggesting they were less likely to have acne problems.
Skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis involve both inflammation and vulnerability of the skin barrier. By helping to strengthen the skin barrier and reduce overall inflammation saunas, if tolerated, can really help with these skin problems. (If sweat irritates the rash significantly, you may want to protect the rash with an eczema-friendly lotion and shower immediately after the sauna.)
After introducing you to the most important benefits of regular sauna use, we hope that we have sufficiently intrigued and encouraged you to include it in an important life routine and thus take advantage of its significant health benefits, alleviate some existing conditions and prevent the onset of certain serious conditions.
In the Downtown Wellness Center, you have at your disposal a sauna of the latest generation, as well as a steam bath, which works on a similar principle.
Let’s safeguard your health together!
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