“The sauna is the poor man’s pharmacy.” That’s the traditional Finnish saying. The Finns learned years ago that by sitting in a sauna, the body had the ability to induce a “natural fever” and this fever allows the body to trigger its defenses to ward off potential illness. Your body’s health and immune system will benefit through a series of alternating sessions of hot sauna and cold showers.
One of the primary sauna benefits is the fact that sitting in the steam is an excellent way to condition the body. Studies show that it is extremely beneficial to sweat profusely at least once a day, and a sauna session effectively creates a temporary rise in temperature, in effect, giving the body a quick fever. But did you know there are many other health benefits of saunas resulting from bathing in hot, invisible steam?
Rid the Body of Toxins
The self-regulating features of fever and sweating are wonders of the human body. It’s a simple formula: raise the body temperature to prevent disease and promote health, and then literally sweat out the bad stuff.
These sauna benefits are not only good for cleansing the pores of the skin - the largest organ of the body - but sweating is the way the skin effectively rids the body of toxins.
Boost Immune System Function
With the rise of the Covid pandemic there has been an increased awareness about the importance of having a strong immune system. The immune system is the body’s natural way of fighting off illness and the artificial fever created during a sauna session helps to kick that system into gear, improving your body’s natural resistance to colds as well as other infections.
Interestingly enough, saunas have been the subject of studies related to using heat as a therapeutic intervention when it comes to COVID-19.
Other health benefits are seen in improved circulation (since the blood vessels are dilated), and doctors have found that saunas are helpful to heart patients and often prescribe thermal therapy treatments to patients (using a sauna set at 140°F, or 60°C).
Relief from Respiratory Illness
The use of a steam sauna in particular can have a positive effect on the respiratory system, as the warm vapors help to open up passages and improve breathing. This can be useful for individuals with asthma, COPD and other illnesses. One study even showed a direct connection between sauna use and reduced risk of developing pneumonia.
Reduced Inflammation and Pain Relief
The healing warmth of both dry and steam saunas can have a marked effect on joint mobility, muscle soreness and even headache. At the same time, regular sauna use has been shown to help decrease inflammation, making it particularly beneficial for individuals with arthritis and related conditions.
Clearer, Cleaner Skin
As the steam from the sauna opens the pores of your skin and helps cleanse your body of toxins, the result is clearer, cleaner skin with improved elasticity and a healthy glow.
These are just a few of the health benefits that have been associated with regular sauna use. Further health benefits include the alleviation of the symptoms of lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes, arteriosclerosis, obesity, hypertension, and atherosclerosis.
Further health benefits of home saunas include the alleviation of the symptoms of lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes, arteriosclerosis, obesity, hypertension, and atherosclerosis.
The great advantage of saunas is that they are beneficial for everyone’s health and for just about anything that “ails” you. Researchers have found that most visits to doctor’s offices, over 75% in fact, are due to “stress-related” problems and can include backaches, chest pains, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and depression. A sauna benefits all of these problems and can be as healing for the mind as it is for the body.
Combining the penetrating warmth of the sauna steam with essential oils can add another level of soothing stress relief, allowing users to enjoy the benefits of the oils and bringing a sense of peace and serenity.
There are two general types of sauna: steam and dry. Traditional hot rock saunas can be used either with steam, by adding water to the rocks, or dry and some users like to alternate between the two. Infrared saunas operate entirely without steam, using far, mid and near infrared rays to heat the body directly rather than the entire room.
While sauna purists swear by the löyly, or healing steam, from traditional saunas there are actually just as many benefits of infrared sauna use.
The main difference in benefits between the two is more practical than health related, though studies have identified many clinical effects of regular dry sauna use.
From a practical standpoint, infrared saunas are self-contained units that can plug directly into a standard 120V wall outlet. That makes it easy to install one almost anywhere, unlike traditional saunas which may need to be connected to your home’s electric or gas connection, limiting your options.
Infrared saunas are also cheaper to run, costing at least $.7 to $.10 less per hour than an electric or gas traditional sauna, and easier and cleaner than saunas with a standard wood stove that produces smoke and soot.
Whether you opt for an infrared sauna or simply choose not to add water to the hot rocks in your traditional sauna, there are many benefits of a dry sauna that you can enjoy.
As mentioned above, many sauna purists prefer the feel of the löyly, or “spirit of life” created in a traditional steam shower. Traditional saunas operate at a higher temperature than dry saunas, allowing for a more intense sweat which many believe increases the healing power of the sauna.
There are many steam sauna benefits, both for the mind and body, and it’s easy to see why the Finns have sworn by this method for generations.
Reap the Benefits with a Daily 15-Minute Sauna Session
Anybody who needs a highly effective way to relieve tension should take advantage of these sauna benefits. The air in the sauna is dry, so you’ll find that your body tolerates the heat quite well, much better than a humid steam room.
Everyone has a different tolerance level so the amount of heat exposure and time spent in the sauna. Most people enjoy a 15-minute session to reap the health benefits of saunas, and you’ll find you’ll look forward to taking a relaxing sauna session several times a week.