Sauna in a bathroom

Sauna Health and Wellness Benefits

Sauna bathing isn't just a luxurious experience, it's also beneficial for your overall well-being. Whether it's the physical benefits of the heat or the mental relaxation of the sauna environment, everyone who enjoys saunas can attest to how amazing it feels. Amid our busy lives, the sauna offers a peaceful sanctuary where we can unwind and rejuvenate our bodies and minds. Sauna therapy truly enhances your health and happiness to feel better!

While saunas are not FDA-registered medical devices and do not promise specific health benefits, there is a wealth of well-researched sauna medical studies that suggest regular sauna bathing can lead to significant improvements in health, which have been well-documented.

A regular sweat session can work wonders for the body, easing tension, loosening muscles, and leaving us mentally refreshed and ready to tackle the day. With just a few minutes of sauna time each day, we can see noticeable improvements in our appearance and overall vitality. The body's positive response to gentle heat has been proven time and time again by individuals worldwide, leading to an increasing number of doctors recommending its purifying effects.

Improves Overall Health, Wellness and Performance
It comes as no surprise that sauna enthusiasts consistently point to "stress reduction" as the top advantage of sauna usage. Numerous studies have linked stress to various diseases, such as heart disease. Extensive research on saunas, published in reputable medical journals, has demonstrated their significant health benefits. A long-term study led by Dr. Jari Laukkanen at the University of Eastern Finland involving over 2,300 participants found that regular sauna sessions not only improved cardiovascular health but also offered a range of other wellness benefits. In essence, incorporating regular sauna bathing into your health regimen can be a delightful and beneficial choice.

Improves Heart Health
When exposed to the high temperatures of a traditional or infrared sauna, the skin and core body temperature increase, causing blood vessels near the skin to expand and boosting cardiac output and circulation. Studies have revealed that heart rate can jump from 60-70 bpm to 110-120 bpm in the sauna (or even 140-150 bpm with more intense heat exposure), before dropping below normal levels during the cooling down period. Regular sauna sessions have been linked to a decreased risk of all-cause mortality, fatal cardiac events, stroke, and hypertension.

Support Recovery After Exercise
The soothing heat of a sauna can relax muscles and ease aches and pains in muscles and joints. When exposed to high temperatures in a sauna, the body releases endorphins that can reduce pain and create a sensation akin to a "runner's high." The heat also causes blood vessels to expand, improving circulation and accelerating the body's natural healing process. After a workout, utilizing a sauna can help relax muscles, reduce tension, and eliminate toxins such as lactic acid.

Flushes Toxins
In a sauna, the body's core temperature increases due to the intense heat. Sweating, which is made up of mostly water, is the body's way of cooling down. Deep sweating in a sauna can also help eliminate toxins like lead, copper, zinc, nickel, mercury, and other chemicals that are commonly absorbed from our surroundings.

Improves Brain Health
Over the course a 25-year study, Dr. Jari Laukkanen and his colleagues at the University of Eastern Finland studied over 2,300 participants and found that using a sauna regularly (4-7 times per week) at 176 degrees F for 19 minutes can significantly reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's and Dementia.

Relieves Stress
A sauna's soothing heat aids in relaxation and balances cortisol levels in our bloodstream. Cortisol, the stress hormone, can cause health problems when elevated, affecting our immune system and sleep patterns. Sauna therapy decreases cortisol levels and increases serotonin production, the "feel-good" hormone.

Induces a Deeper Sleep
Studies have indicated that using a sauna can lead to a more restful and rejuvenating sleep. As body temperatures rise in the evening and then gradually fall before bedtime, the release of endorphins plays a crucial role in promoting relaxation and better sleep quality. Many sauna enthusiasts around the world appreciate the calming effects of an evening sauna session on their sleep patterns.

Fight Illness
Research conducted in Germany on sauna therapy has revealed that regular sauna use can lead to a notable decrease in the occurrence of colds and flu among those who participated in the study. A sauna's heat and steam (in traditional saunas) stimulate the production of white blood cells, which play a crucial role in the body's defense against illnesses and viruses. Furthermore, saunas have been found to provide relief from sinus congestion caused by colds or allergies.

Burn Calories
Claims that promote sauna use as a cure-all solution to weight loss are unnecessarily misguided. While saunas can indeed lead to a high calorie burn initially, particularly for individuals who are not in good shape, they should be viewed as just one part of a comprehensive weight loss strategy. The process of sweating in saunas requires a significant amount of energy, which is obtained by burning fat and carbohydrates, ultimately resulting in the burning of calories.

Cleanses Skin
Utilizing heat bathing as a beauty and health strategy is an ancient tradition that effectively cleanses the skin and promotes overall well-being. The process of sweating helps to rid the skin of impurities and dead cells, resulting in a more radiant complexion.

This blog was adapted from Finnelo's Health & Benefits page.