Spending time in a sauna is certainly not a new practice. Stretching back thousands of years, these hot closets have been used in many cultures for religious ceremonies, health, socializing, and relaxation. They are popular, inexpensive (often free with a gym membership), and provide a wealth of health benefits. Take advantage of this amazing, time and science-proven tradition today…here’s why.
What exactly is a sauna?
Yes, a sauna is exactly what you think…hot. In fact, a sauna is an enclosed room that is heated up to between 158° to 212° Fahrenheit. To put that into perspective, think of the hottest summer day you can remember and double the heat. Naturally, it is most beneficial in small doses, with most sessions lasting around 20 mins. Remember, unlike a steam room, a sauna is a dry heat, used to induce sweating, increase heart rate, and widen blood vessels. Many of its acclaimed health benefits stem from these circulatory changes, which affect the body in a way similar to moderate exercise.
Helps you sleep
The total body relaxation effects of a sauna stay with you throughout the day and night, making your sleep even deeper and more restful. Saunas also release endorphins, which help you feel better and release tension from your body.
One of the main purposes of a sauna is to encourage sweating, and if there’s one thing that sweating is good for, it’s eliminating toxins from the body. In your daily life, you encounter (and absorb) all sorts of toxins from air pollution, processed food, and things like chemical beauty products and harsh cleaning agents. Over time, these toxins can build up in your system, leading to potentially severe health concerns. Sweating is a great way to force toxins from your body and cleanse yourself from the grime of life.
May aid weight loss
Though you aren’t going to drop four pant sizes in a month by regularly hitting up the sauna, it could be a great aid to your regular exercise routine. As mentioned above, your heart rate and metabolism are increased substantially during a sauna session, which can help you maintain a healthy weight. Much of this weight is water weight, which can fluctuate greatly, so keep that in mind. Also, weight isn’t everything. A healthy lifestyle is all about how you feel and function. Listen to your body and give it what it needs to operate effectively. Remember, there is no substitution for a healthy diet and regular exercise, merely ways to enhance your efforts.
Boost feelings of relaxation
Your body isn’t the only thing getting cleansed in the sauna. It is incredibly beneficial for your mental wellbeing and could induce feelings of relaxation, reduce anxiety, and boost your mood. Because saunas increase blood flow to every part of your body, including your brain, you can think more clearly and focus on relaxing. Plus, the sauna is a quiet oasis where you can escape the ever-present outward stimulation and enjoy a moment of peace and solitude. This makes it a great place to develop mindfulness and practice meditation and deep breathing.
Reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s
Studies have shown that saunas may actually have a long-term effect on the health of the brain when used regularly. One particular study found that men who sat in a sauna multiple times per week had a 65 percent lower risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than those who used them only once a week.
Benefit cardiovascular health
Saunas can reduce high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and neurocognitive diseases. They can also help relax your arteries, which helps decrease your chances of a serious cardiovascular incident such as a heart attack.
Sauna safety guidelines:
- Avoid drinking alcohol before or after your sauna.
- Cooldown slowly. Instead of jumping the pool or a cold shower, let your body cool down naturally at room temperature. This will be less of a shock to your circulatory system.
- Drink at least 3 or 4 glasses of cool water after every sauna.
- Keep sessions under 20 minutes.
- Avoid going into a sauna if you are sick or not feeling well for any reason.
- If you begin to feel discomfort during your sauna, leave immediately.
Do you enjoy the sauna? Let us know in the comments below.