The benefits from regular sauna use are pretty impressive, from stress reduction to anti-aging. The most well-known benefit of sauna therapy is its ability to help your body detox. A relaxing sauna session can help remove more toxins than almost any other form of detoxification.
We are exposed to more daily toxins now than ever before in human history. Although our bodies are built to detox on their own, the amount of toxin exposure accumulates and can overwhelm our bodies. This is why regular detoxing is such an essential pillar of health.
Saunas have been used for centuries for health and enjoyment, from sweat lodges to wood-fired saunas. In fact, in Finland, ninety-nine percent of the population use a sauna at least once a week. People in the US and other countries are discovering the benefits and are incorporating them into their health routines.
There are several different types of saunas, and they differ based on how they’re heated and how the air feels to the person using them. They are often heated between 120-195°.
The oldest form of saunas is wood-burning and requires no electricity. These use an open fire to heat a pile of rocks. The rocks must withstand high temperatures, so unweathered and quarried stones are often used as they can tolerate the pressure from the heat. This type of sauna takes longer to heat up and produces a smell similar to a campfire.
A popular form of sauna is an infrared sauna. Instead of the air heating up like in traditional saunas, the heat is instead produced from infrared lamps. The heat can penetrate deeper in this type of sauna, allowing for a more intense sweat and detox. Often, these types of sauna have the convenience of being portable as well.
Steam rooms feature moist heat in the form of steam. These can often feel hotter than dry heat saunas because your sweat isn’t able to evaporate and cool down your body.
A less popular sauna is electrically heated. This type of sauna uses an electric heat source to heat the air. The benefit of using an electric source is that it is quick to heat; however, the drawback is that they aren’t very energy efficient.
10 Powerful Sauna Benefits
- Recent studies show that near-infrared saunas can significantly help in healing. These studies found improvements in retinal eye injury and tissue and wound healing. Other studies have also found that sauna bathing can reduce the frequency, duration, and severity of common colds.
- Near-infrared saunas have also been found to help improve skin appearance. Research indicates that infrared may reduce wrinkles and improve skin texture by increasing collagen and elastin production. This can help alleviate stretch marks and cellulite.
- Using a sauna may help promote healthy weight loss. The natural process of sweating helps in stimulating human growth hormone. Saunas also increase heart rate while lowering blood pressure and increasing oxygen and metabolic rate. These effects on our body are similar to cardio exercise!
- Saunas relax us! Our bodies are often in the flight or fight state. Regular sauna use allows our bodies to go into a parasympathetic state. In this state, our bodies can digest, rest, and heal.
- Sweating from sauna use has been shown to have detoxification effects. Research shows that sweating helps to promote natural detoxification. In one study, when sweat was compared to other bodily fluids like urine and blood, the sweat was found to have the highest levels of toxins released. These include heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury.
- Saunas therapy has been shown to help alleviate chronic pain, reduce inflammation and fatigue associated with depression, chronic illness, and autoimmune disease. Far infrared therapy has even been used to help support various cancer treatments. Much like our body’s natural defense system of using a fever, the higher temperatures help defend against pathogens.
- May improve heart health as saunas reduce blood pressure, increase oxygenation and circulation, all of which support a healthy heart. Studies show increased sauna use has been associated with a lower risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD), fatal coronary heart disease (CHD), and fatal cardiovascular disease (CVD).
- A 2017 study found that moderate to high frequency of sauna use was associated with lower dementia and Alzheimer’s disease risk. This study analyzed men using a sauna four to seven times per week compared to men who used it one to three times per week. The researchers looked at the repeated heat exposure from the sauna and its effects on memory disease risk. They found that the group with increased sauna use was at lower risk.
- Sauna use may help balance hormones! The reduced stress from regular sauna use helps to lower cortisol in our bodies. When cortisol is at an ideal level, DHEA, thyroid, testosterone, insulin, and estrogen are also balanced. If our cortisol is in balance, progesterone levels may rise as well.
- The longer you sauna…the more extended your lifespan? Research has shown that not only does sauna use lower your risk of heart disease, it also appears to reduce the risk of all-cause mortality. It is believed that the heat from sauna use activates the “longevity gene,” FOX03, and its variants. FOX02 and its variants are linked to a lower risk for age-related diseases, a lower prevalence of heart disease, cancer, and fewer bone fractures.
Sauna use is an incredible tool for healing and wellness. Are you surprised by any of these benefits? Have you ever used a sauna and what did you think of it? Comment below!