Indulging in regular sauna sessions isn’t just for short term bliss. Beyond the hypnotic cedar aroma, tranquil exhales, and calming sensations you feel while in a sauna, there are long-lasting health benefits backed by medical studies across the globe.
Research has shown spending time in a sauna can improve sleep, reduce anxiety and stress and increase immunity. Make no mistake, adding the ritual of the sauna to your daily life works wonders for both body and mind.
In addition to the sauna health benefits you can expect on a physical level, we’ll also look at what the practice can do for your mental well-being. By the time you’ve finished reading this, you’ll be ready to sweat.
5 Sauna Health Benefits That Last Long After You’ve Stopped Sweating
What are the health benefits of a sauna? We’re glad you asked. For something that requires nothing more than sitting around, the benefits are significant. Keep reading to see how sweating can make you healthier, happier and less stressed.
1. Improved Circulation
Good circulation means warmer extremities, but the health benefits of sauna use go beyond warm toes. When blood vessels dilate it increases the body’s natural healing process. Better blood flow through the body means fewer aches and pains. Cuts and bruises heal faster and physically-induced muscle tension eases.
2. Sleep Better, Stress Less
The peaceful steady sweat of the sauna releases endorphins, supplying a welcomed bliss after each session. The sweat also helps to regulate cortisol levels, which interfere with the ability to sleep soundly and can also compromise immunity.
During the regulation of cortisol, the body is stimulated to produce serotonin, which makes us feel happy. Undoubtedly, happy humans sleep better and awake more balanced.
3. Increased Immunity
White blood cells are responsible for fighting off illnesses and viruses. The heat of the sauna stimulates their production, resulting in an increase in white blood cell count. If you suffer from allergies or have a cold, the steam will help alleviate the congestion.
Adding eucalyptus or other essential oils to the steam can further aid in congestion relief. However, it must be noted, you should never apply essential oils directly to the sauna’s heater or rocks. As many essential oils are flammable, they should be diluted with water before use in a sauna.
4. Flush Toxins
Reset the body inside and out. Whether environmental or consumed, we unknowingly collect toxins in our body that can slow us down. Saunas lure these unwelcome toxins out of our body via our sweat.
One way to ensure that these toxins aren’t reabsorbed by the body is by practising hydrotherapy. A cold plunge or shower after you sweat will rinse away the toxins you’ve just released from your body.
5. Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
The heat from the sauna reduces arterial stiffness and increases mobility in the autonomic nervous system, which in turn lowers blood pressure. Combining exercise with frequent sauna sessions substantially reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
This study by BMC Medicine explores the role regular sauna bathing plays in reducing heart issues.
The Mental Health Benefits of Sauna Use
According to Mental Health America, many people are only now realizing the impact the last two years has had on their overall well-being. The organization suggests a number of ways to maintain good mental health. These include:
- Making better food choices and nutrition choices
- Getting a good night’s rest
- Managing your stress levels
We’d add another one: hit the sauna.
It’s a well-known fact that smartphones disconnect us when we’re together. The sauna is one of the few places we can’t take our phone, making it the perfect opportunity to forget about the outside world and be fully present with the person we’re with. Even if that person is ourselves.
There are other ways saunas can improve your mental health, too. Studies have shown that regular sauna time can fight chronic fatigue, relieve anxiety and depression, increase focus, and even manage anger levels. All in all, not a bad return on your time investment.
Health Benefits of Sauna vs Steam Room
Saunas and steam rooms both offer health benefits. The key differences between saunas and steam rooms are the type of heat, the intensity and the humidity.
Saunas offer a dry heat and are typically much hotter with low humidity. In contrast, steam rooms aren’t as hot, but their humidity is usually close to 100 percent.
Many of the benefits of the two therapies overlap. They both improve circulation, promote relaxation, ease joint pain and muscle fatigue and alleviate congestion.
However, with the high humidity levels it’s important not to spend more than 15 minutes in a steam room or you’ll risk becoming dehydrated.
To Sauna or Not to Sauna
When pondering whether or not to hit the sauna, remember that with regular sauna use you’re building a healthier and happier you. Indulging in frequent sauna sessions is an investment in both your long term health and happiness as well as your ‘in the moment’ bliss.
If this sounds like something you’d like to explore further, why not head over to our FAQs page to learn more about everything from how hot saunas get, why Nootka saunas are built in a barrel shape and much more.
Sauna health benefits are yours for the taking. Grab some today.