When you enter a sauna, your skin temperature rises, your pulse rate soars, and your blood vessels become more dilated. This happens as your heart begins to pump more blood. Of course, you also begin to sweat. There are a few benefits to this experience.
Soothes and relaxes tired muscles
Athletes use Saunas to improve their range of motion and to help loosen tight muscles after a hard workout. Since the blood vessels relax and dilate in a sauna, blood flow increases and the experience can help reduce tension in the joints and relieve sore muscles.
Helps with sleeping problems
One of the positive effects of the sauna is that it can help to reduce sleep disorders if these are caused by nervousness or restlessness. After a sauna, you feel deliciously drowsy, which helps you drop off to sleep sooner and means you wake up less often during the night. You might not sleep for longer overall, but your deep sleep phases are longer and more intense, meaning you wake up feeling significantly fresher and more rested.
Helps to relieve mental fatigue
When your body is relaxed your mind feels better and you feel better. The Sauna promotes a wonderful sense of well being.
Relieves tension and stress
You will feel rejuvenated and have increased energy levels. The Sauna helps many get a more restful sleep.
Provides a cardiovascular workout–helps condition the heart
Finnish researchers have reported that the regular use of Saunas helps maintain the blood vessels. Vessels become elastic and pliable longer due to regular dilation and contraction from the process of heating and cooling the body repeatedly. The heart rate increases in the Sauna creating a demand for more oxygen, which in turn burns calories and provides a mild workout for the heart.
Increases metabolic rate
Regular Sauna usage helps speed up the metabolism in a way similar to exercise.
Blood vessel dilation brings blood closer to the surface of the skin and, as blood vessels expand to accommodate increased blood flow, circulation in the extremities improves. According to a study published in Journal of Human Hypertension, even a single use of the sauna could help lower your blood pressure.
Provides temporary relief for arthritic pain
Heat therapy benefits joint and muscle pain and helps with range of motion.
Promotes healing and releases natural pain killers
Beta Endorphins and Norepinephrines are released as the body’s natural pain killers temporarily raise the body’s pain threshold.
Increases resistance to illness
The Finnish Medical Society, Duodecim, has conducted tests that show a 30% less chance of getting a cold when Saunas are taken regularly. Saunas have even been shown to help in preventing a cold from getting worse. Sauna heat puts the body into an artificial fever state (hyperthermia). Fever is part of the body’s natural healing process. This “fake fever” stimulates the immune system resulting in an increased production of disease fighting white blood cells and antibodies.
Burn as many as 300 calories during a Sauna session
The Sauna should not, of course, be used as a weight loss aid by itself, but when used with a good diet and exercise program, a Sauna can help burn more calories. Weight is lost in a Sauna, but most of it is water loss from sweating.
As you use it regularly, you will increase endurance. A nine week study of runners who then took sauna lets to 30% more before exhaustion and 2% increase in race speed.
Helps maintain clear, healthy skin
Increased blood flow promotes cellular growth and development by bringing important nutrients to subcutaneous and surface tissue. While taking a Sauna, blood flow to the skin increases to as high as 50-70% of cardiac output (normal is 5-10%). Sauna heat relaxes facial tension, skin pores are opened, and heat stimulates the epidermis, thus increasing circulation. Vasodilation (expansion of blood vessels) brings essential fluids to the surface, enhancing collagen production, to maintain skin elasticity and a wrinkle-free complexion. This has now been proven in a scientific study conducted in Jena University Clinic: here, the barrier function of the skin was stabilised in test subjects who used the sauna regularly. Thanks to improved circulation, skin does not dry out so quickly, and the fat content of the skin is regulated.
Sweat out toxins and impurities from the body
Sauna is the deepest cleaning bath in the world. Perspiration induced by a Sauna opens the body’s pores and naturally expels impurities and toxins from the body. There are many detoxification programs that use the Sauna daily to rid the body of chemicals. The Sauna has been used to sweat out nicotine, pesticides, and other toxins. Skin is the largest organ of the body and 30% of body wastes exit through the skin. The Sauna elevates the body’s ability to rid itself of this waste.
Relieves allergies and sinus congestion
Steam inhalation is excellent for relieving throat irritations and helping the inflammation of upper respiratory mucous membranes. Sauna steam loosens secretions and can stimulate discharge of mucous from the lungs and throat.
Reduces pain from sunburn
Heat from the Sauna soothes sunburned skin as blood rushes to the surface to aid in healing.
Helps with kidney function
Sauna bathing can augment proper kidney function. Perspiration through the skinÂ’s pores excretes a good amount of the body’s wastes and reduces the load put on the kidneys. Sweating is such an effective detoxifier that some doctors recommend Sauna usage to supplement persons on kidney dialysis.
In general, there is no reason why a woman should not use the sauna during her period. If your periods are too light, using the sauna regularly can improve your condition by increasing the flow of blood to the uterus. Using the sauna can also help to relieve period pains, since warmth has a soothing effect on cramp-like pain; many women use heat cushions for the same purpose. Take care, however, when cooling down after the sauna, and refrain from Kneipp practices. During your period, you should exercise caution when cooling down, and not hose down your stomach area with cold water.
Asthma or tickly coughs
For those with asthma, or bronchitis with asthmatic symptoms, using the sauna can help by relaxing the muscles in the bronchioles. Asthma causes the muscles in your respiratory tracts to tense up, whilst the warmth inside the sauna enables them to relax again. Building up a defence system in this manner is doubly beneficial since those who suffer from asthma are also more susceptible to infections, which can lead to a vicious circle.
One study published in the International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health found that when subjects used a sauna every other day for 20 days, they decreased their total cholesterol levels. The researchers concluded that the sauna offered cholesterol benefits similar to what could be expected from moderate-intensity physical exercise.
regular heating up and sweating in the sauna – leads to a long-term decrease in your core body temperature. Within just a few weeks, the core body temperature of tests persons had sunk by 0.5°C. However, they did not register this drop by feeling cold; their bodies simply thermally adjusted to the new body temperature. A 0.5°C lower core body temperature increases your life expectancy by at least five years.
A 2015 study of 2315 finnish men 42-60 studied. Death from cardiovasular disease was 50% less likely after the 20 year follow up for those that sauna 5-7 times a week vs those who did it 1 a week, and 40% lower for all causes.