What are the benefits of the heat and steam of the sauna? Medical science continues to confirm what sauna users have felt and believed for centuries!
The following is a written transcript of the informative video: What Happens To Your Body When You Use a Sauna Everyday, by Body Hub. The Great Out There offers this transcript to help our readers assimilate the many, many facts and details covered in this brief video (with only small grammatical edits.) Please view the video below. Follow along with the written transcript to help remember the many benefits of sauna usage.
What Happens to Your Body When You Use a Sauna Everyday:
Sitting in a sauna each day can have long lasting positive effects on your body and your overall life. A sauna is heated with dry heat generated from wood, electric source, gas, or infrared lights. Many people enjoy the benefits of these dry heated rooms helping to relieve stress and detoxify your body. You may also experience pain relief in your joints and muscles, especially after physical exercise.
There are a variety of benefits for you to gain by enjoying some relaxing time in the heat of the sauna.
The number one benefit is increased (cardiovascular) circulation. Everyone who steps foot in a sauna will experience an increase in their circulation, which happens because the heat causes your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to widen (dilate.) This helps blood make its way around your body much more freely.
Why is increased blood circulation a benefit? Because it can help improve certain health issues. For example, better blood circulation can help with muscle soreness which athletes and other fitness enthusiasts could benefit from. Improved circulation can also improve joint movement, therefore increasing your mobility. Finally, improved circulation can help with arthritis, decreasing pain and increasing mobility.
The number two benefit is weight management. There are all kinds of ways that you can try to lose weight these days, but have you thought about how a sauna can help? The higher heart rate in the sauna can actually help you lose weight. It has been suggested that spending 20 minutes in a sauna can help you burn up to 500 calories. (That is, your heart is “exercising” while you enjoy the heat of the sauna!)
While some individuals may experience higher amounts of calorie burn at first, particularly those individuals in poor shape, over the long-term saunas are simply treated as one of many tools in our arsenal when it comes to burning additional calories. (In other words, as you increase in fitness, the effects on your weight will be less significant.)
The sweating process itself requires a notable amount of energy. That energy is derived from the conversion of fat and carbohydrates in a bodily process that burns up calories. As heart activity increases, your body demands more oxygen, and the body begins to convert more calories into usable energy. The heat of the sauna increases your metabolism in a similar way to exercise. Again, the sauna isn't going to replace exercise in your lifestyle but it's a fantastic way to help keep your weight under control.
The number three benefit of the sauna is that the heat releases toxins from your body. It is fair to say that most people don't actively sweat on a daily basis. Many jobs are sedentary, and you don't get the chance to get out there and move as much as you'd like to. That means that you don't sweat as much as you need to. YES - you really do need to sweat, especially in today's environment.
Just by stepping outside your door, you are exposed to all kinds of harmful elements that you are absorbing through your skin. What's the solution? Using a sauna is actually one of the best ways of flushing these toxins from your body. This is because elements such as lead, arsenic, and cadmium are all deep in your skin (and tissues.) By spending time in a sauna, you can actually sweat those elements out. It is a safe and easy way to counteract the effects of these toxic elements in your body.
Deep sweating has multiple proven health benefits. The heat of the sauna causes the core body temperature to rise and the blood vessels to dilate, causing increased blood flow. As heat from the blood begins to move towards the skin surface, the body's nervous system then sends signals to the millions of sweat glands that cover the human body. As the sweat glands become stimulated, they produce sweat. This sweat production is primarily a cooling function of the body. But deep sweating in a sauna can help reduce levels of lead, copper, zinc, nickel, mercury, and chemicals which are all toxins commonly absorbed just from interacting with our daily environments.
Better mental health:
The number four benefit of sauna usage is improved mental health. The people you see sitting in your gym sauna sure look relaxed, don't they! While you can't exactly sweat your stress away, saunas can be a relaxing escape for many people. They are warm, quiet, and closed. The sauna makes you feel safe and relaxed in the way you would if you were nesting.
One study published in Psychosomatic Medicine even found that daily sauna sessions improved relaxation in patients with depression. Anytime you can escape the world for a moment of peace and quiet is going to have a positive effect on your mental health. That is why some psychologists regularly prescribe sauna usage to their patients who like and can tolerate the heat.
If you choose to use the sauna, don't go in with any judgments or expectations. You won't leave the sauna a new person and the mental health benefits may hardly be noticeable at first. But over time, sauna sessions can have a positive impact on your mental health.
Cleaned Skin & Healthier Hair:
The fifth benefit of sauna usage is that it helps cleanse skin and results in healthier hair. Using the sauna is one of the oldest beauty strategies for cleansing the skin. The principle is straightforward: Producing sweat stimulates the replacement of dead skin cells. This helps your skin to become and stay clean, soft, and healthy.
Sweating also cleans sweat ducts and removes bacteria from the epidermis. Cleansing the pores has been shown to improve the circulation in capillaries within the skin while giving the skin a softer looking quality. Moreover, you can include the sauna in the treatment of acne and to reduce the symptoms of psoriasis.
Humans have sebaceous glands on the scalp which release compounds that improve the condition of hair and keep it moist. Regular use of the sauna will additionally activate the sebaceous glands, releasing more compounds which will make your hair both stronger and looking beautiful.
The number six benefit of sauna usage is respiratory health and protection. Taking a sauna during the middle of the cold season is an excellent idea. The results of a few relevant studies show that the moist heat of the sauna improves lung function and even alleviates symptoms of asthma and chronic problems with breathing.
You can also reduce the risk of contracting a cold, bronchitis, and pneumonia by regularly visiting the sauna - especially in winter. (Viruses are KILLED by heat!) However, you should be careful to start with five-to-ten-minute sessions, twice a week. Gradually extend the stay in the sauna and the number of sauna sessions per week. To get optimal respiratory health benefits from the sauna you should progress to 20 to 40 minutes per session, over three to five days per week. However, the sauna is not a magic treatment. You should combine the sauna with a moderate workout and balanced nutrition for the best results.
Recovery After a High-Intensity Workout:
The number seven benefit of sauna usage is that the heat supports faster recovery after a strenuous workout. The body releases endorphins while using the sauna and this helps in recovery after highly intensive physical activity. High temperatures cause increased blood circulation which will relax muscles, speed up the healing of bruises, and soothe pains and joints. Plus, endorphins have a tranquilizing effect on both muscles and joints by reducing muscle tension and eliminating toxins and lactic acid from the tissue.
In studies, distance runners have increased run time to exhaustion by 32 percent following a three-week period when they added sauna sessions to their post-exercise recovery routines.
Alleviate Symptoms of Chronic Disease:
The number eight benefit of sauna usage is the reduction of symptoms of chronic diseases. Sauna sessions have been shown to reduce the pain of musculoskeletal disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, chronic headaches, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis. Sauna sessions relax the muscles and alleviate pain. Joints become more mobile and flexible. Sauna users experience reduced inflammation. Since chronic pain causes fatigue, the sauna may decrease the level of exhaustion associated with these diseases. Keep in mind that the sauna cannot cure chronic diseases but can offer the benefits of pain reduction.
The Great Out There is pleased to provide this information summarizing the many benefits of saunas. We have enjoyed saunas for years, including many sub-zero nights in the far North. We have found nothing erases the soreness and stiffness of a hard day’s work – or the exertion of sled dog racing – like a hot sauna, followed by a cold plunge or shower or roll in the snow! Stay tuned for more insights into the benefits of the sauna.