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What are the health benefits of sitting in a sauna?

By April 29th, 2024Sauna Highlights

What are the health benefits of sitting in a sauna?

Dr. Parikh asserts that heat’s effects are the same whether the environment is dry or damp. This implies that whether you work up a sweat in a sauna or a steam room, you’ll still reap the same rewards. 

For those who suffer from allergies or asthma, there is one additional advantage to steam rooms. According to Dr. Parikh, medications for several respiratory conditions may cause your breathing passages to become dry. “Steam will hydrate the respiratory tract and open the lungs a little more.” The steam might help you breathe more easily if you suffer from congestion by acting as a humidifier and opening up your nasal passages. 

Dry saunas can offer several advantages, according to research on their use.

  1. Improved Circulation

According to Denise Millstine, MD, an internist at the Mayo Clinic’s family medicine practise in Scottsdale, Arizona, anything that elevates your body temperature will increase your heart rate, which in turn boosts your circulation. 

Also, according to Dr. Parikh, sitting in a sauna is practically equivalent to regular treadmill jogging. Even though all you’re doing is sitting in the heat, you’re still getting some cardio advantages because the heat makes your heart work harder to keep your blood flowing. (Remember, however, that it still isn’t a substitute for exercise, which has a tonne of other health advantages.)

2. Lowered Blood Pressure

According to Dr. Millstine, spending time in a sauna can drop your blood pressure, but if your blood pressure is out of control, you shouldn’t enter a sauna. 

When people routinely use a traditional Finnish sauna, there is evidence that their blood pressure is generally lower. Hence, physically speaking, much like with exercise, your blood pressure would rise initially, but over time, it would probably lead to better blood pressure management and a drop of your blood pressure, according to Dr. Millstine. 

In actuality, using a sauna can improve cardiovascular health. The risk of heart attack, stroke, and dementia is much lower in persons who frequently use a sauna (at least four times per week for 20 minutes).

3. Stress Relief

Dr. Millstine claims that taking a sauna is a common practise in Scandinavian culture and is seen as a way to unwind and reduce stress. A 2018 study that was published in the journal Medical Principles and Practice found that saunas can reduce the stress hormone cortisol by up to 40%.

If utilising a sauna becomes a regular habit for you and it’s something you can do pretty simply, like stopping by for a quick session on the way home from work, or if you can interact with others while doing it, she says, it probably will lower your stress levels.

4. Glowy Skin

Because it promotes blood flow to the skin’s surface before you start sweating, using a sauna can be good for your skin’s overall health. 

Frequent use of a sauna “makes the skin more robust, meaning it sort of tightens it up and makes it more elastic, which is beneficial for aesthetic reasons but also because the skin works as a general health barrier,” explains Dr. Millstine.

5. Reduced Joint Stiffness And Muscle Soreness

Saunas are also excellent post-workout recovery tools since they can assist ease strained muscles.

Dr. Milstine asserts that since heat can make muscles more supple and elastic, it will probably lessen discomfort after exercise. Those with tight joints and body aches reportedly swear by saunas to relieve discomfort. According to her, using a sauna can also assist with tension-type headaches since it relieves the muscle tightness that causes them.

6. Stronger Immune System

Although using a sauna doesn’t immediately increase immunity, it can help you relax and reduce stress, both of which suppress the immune system. Also, it has been demonstrated that using a sauna lowers circulating levels of inflammatory markers, which also interfere with the immune system’s reaction.

7. Better Mood

Several studies demonstrate that going to the sauna might improve your mood, which may again be related to the relaxation element. However, one study found that men who frequently used saunas in Finland had a lower incidence of psychosis, while another found that using saunas can lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s unclear, according to Dr. Millstine, if these advantages are directly connected to sauna use or just to a healthy lifestyle that includes socialising and relaxing. In any case, going to a sauna seems to have certain advantages for your brain and mental health.

 

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