Some Healthful Reasons to Own a Sauna:
Doctors and avid sauna users have long recognised that the sauna has many health benefits on the mind and body, including these:
- Improved overall health and sense of well-being
- Sore and tired muscles will relax
- Lower back pain or arthritis will be relieved
- Your skin will look and feel better
- You will lose weight
- Improved circulation
- You will feel great; peaceful and relaxed
- You will sleep better
Doctors and other healthcare workers frequently recommend saunas for those suffering from anxiety or tension, adolescent skin problems, chronic fatigue, sleep disorders, and literally hundreds of other ailments.
The Purpose of a Sauna
The primary purpose of a sauna is to cleanse the body through perspiration. The sauna heat causes pores of the skin to open, allowing perspiration to flush out the impurities
in the body.
Your Body's Reaction to a Sauna
When you take a sauna, the heat pumps up blood circulation near the skin and stimulates sweating. The sauna elicits about a quart of sweat per hour. Sweating helps the body rid itself of toxins and other unwanted materials and improves general circulation. In the sauna, the temperature of your skin rises. Blood vessels dilate, increasing circulation in the skin and decreasing the resistance to blood flow through your veins and capillaries. This causes your blood pressure to go down briefly. Then your heartbeat increases to normalise your blood pressure.
Muscle relaxation and pain relief
The sauna also relieves the pain that you feel after a heavy workout, one which causes lactic acid to build up around the muscles that have been strained. Lactic acid causes pain that often lingers for days due to improper circulation to those muscle groups.
The saunas heat relieves the pain, relaxes the muscles, and pumps more oxygen-rich blood into the muscles, dissipating the lactic acid. If you are one who tends to experience tightness or knots in your back, back pain generally, or soreness in the joints, you will feel similar relief from the heat of the sauna.
Research also indicates that the sauna affords relief and comfort from the effects of arthritis and rheumatism.
Improved blood circulation will also make your body's extremities healthier by carrying more oxygen to the cells that sometimes (with poor circulation) do not get their fair
share of oxygen. Saunas enhance circulation and oxygenate the tissues.
The sauna will cause blood vessels to dilate, allowing easier passage. It will also raise your heart rate and lower your blood pressure slightly, and pump more blood all
over, especially into your hands and feet. This beneficial effect is particularly useful in cold climates, since the blood carries heat to all parts of the body. By taking a
sauna a few times a week, you can quickly forget about the misery of cold, clammy hands and feet throughout the day.
Your skin will look and feel younger, as the sauna flushes your clogged pores, which clears the complexion. Because the sauna brings more blood near the surface, and
therefore more oxygen, skin cell renewal is increased. Some sauna users like to scrub away the top layers of dead skin cells, and allow these new cells to show through. The
result is a brighter, smoother, and more youthful complexion.
Saunas are frequently used for weight loss. After using the sauna, you may lose around five pounds of water that you will gain back quickly. But sweat does not simply "leak"
out of the body.
Perspiration is your body's defence mechanism against high temperatures. When your body's core temperature rises above 37 degrees Celsius (98 degrees Fahrenheit), the body transfers the excess heat into the water inside your body, then pushes that water through the open pores to remove the excess heat.
Imagine the work your body does to cool itself as millions of microscopic bicep curls to push the water out. This process burns a large number of calories (around 600 per hour), regardless of whether that sweat is from physical exertion, or simply from the sauna's relaxing heat. So even though you feel relaxed, your body is exercising. Weight loss will occur in this respect.
As a secondary result of this same exercise effect, your body will be ready for a peaceful rest. Therefore, after a sauna session, you will fall asleep more quickly and easily. Your sleep will be much deeper.
Those who ordinarily find it difficult to sleep often resort to sleep medications, or perform some strenuous physical activity to tire the body to the point of collapse. But
even insomniacs may find it easy to sleep after taking a relaxing sauna bath.
Mental peace and sharpened senses
One of the most frequent comments we hear from sauna users is that the experience makes them feel euphoric. They feel mental peace and contentment as well as physical rejuvenation.
The sauna will do exactly the same for you. Your senses will be sharpened, and your tactile sensitivity heightened.
Many people attest to the healing powers of the sauna for mental depression and anxiety. They say that after leaving the sauna, the mind is in a relaxed, lucid state, free of the worries of the everyday world. Also, when the body feels soothed and energised, the mind and emotions often follow suit.
The power of light
There would be no life without the sun, and natural sunlight is an important factor in a person's well-being. Natural sunlight includes infrared light, the visible spectrum (rainbow colors from red to violet) and ultraviolet light.
If you live in a warm climate, you might already get a healthy dose of light every day. But humans in the north regularly deprive themselves of infrared, since the cold urges us
inside, where the light we see comes from light bulbs, which only reproduce some of the visible spectrum.
Doctors are starting to prescribe light to treat skin conditions. A boost of blue light kills some bacteria beneath the skin. A spike of red light reduces inflammation. Infrared light penetrates the muscles to relieve pain and to loosen and expel toxins through the skin.
Even ultraviolet light is prescribed by doctors to treat psoriasis, but ultraviolet light risks could outweigh the benefits. The greatest risk is skin cancer, but a more immediate reason to avoid UV is that it kills skin cells and stimulates oil production. The combination of these two will block your pores and can cause skin blemishes. Infrared, on the other hand, has no known risks. In fact, doctors use infrared light to heat newborn babies born prematurely.
A little common sense is always helpful. Be sure you drink plenty of water, to replace the water you're losing. Remember that alcohol is a depressant that slows the blood and dulls your nerves, counteracting the benefits of the sauna. If you have a medical condition that causes you to worry whether you are fit to be in a sauna, ask your doctor for advice. If you have high blood pressure or heart disease, saunas may be good for you, but check with your physician first.