Today, saunas are associated with body pampering and precious moments of relaxation. The sauna is commonly used for removing the toxins from the body but it is also a useful method for reducing stress and entering a calmer mood after a heavy day or even week. If you lack the time to visit an actual sauna, there are alternatives such as sauna shaper belt for women or sauna shaper belts for men which offer a similar result.
Although the majority of the world perceives the sauna as a path to relaxation, its history and origins are far deeper than that. In fact, saunas were used by people in the past for survival purposes. We love saunas and wanted to share with you the true meaning behind the experience and look into the health benefits from forming a regular habit of going to a sauna.
How did saunas originate?
The word sauna is Finnish and means “bath” or “bathhouse”. It is believed that the sauna tradition stems from northern Europe and dates back to 2,000 BC. Countries such as Estonia, Russia, Finland, and Latvia have kept the tradition going through the years and today the activity remains an essential one for their people. The harsh climate in these regions required special care and attention to the body in order for people to maintain a healthy balance.
Nowadays most of us probably relate the sauna experience to a trip to a fancy spa salon or an included benefit of a hotel stay. Back in time, the sauna was something completely different. Nomadic people used animal skin to cover and seal man-made caves. Inside the caves, there was fire burning underneath a pile of stones. Once the fire was out, the warmed up stoned kept the temperature inside hot and nice for the people and even animals who remained there during the night.
The smoke had the positive influence of sterilizing the room, ensuring that the atmosphere inside was kept clean and safe to habitat. This is how this activity turned into one essential for life back in the days. The sauna was associated with a holy experience and was even involved in a number of spiritual rituals.
Why visit a sauna today?
Despite the evolution of technology and the ability of people to adapt to merely any climate thanks to advances in our knowledge and capabilities, the sauna remains an important part of life. You will find that most medium to high-class hotels incorporate a sauna in their spa centers, gyms offer the experience to their clients, and dedicated spa salons put a great focus on the sauna rooms. This is certainly no coincidence.
Apart from offering amazing relaxing properties, saunas provide a number of health benefits that are worth exploring. Some of them, you may be aware of already while others may come as a surprise. Let’s look at 11 health benefits of sauna that are worth considering next time you find yourself in a dilemma whether to give the experience a try.
1. Saunas help release the toxins from the body.
Sweating is healthy. This is why if you are not fond of regular exercise, saunas may be the best solution to keep your body in perfect condition. Deep sweating is especially beneficial. The process that takes place in the body is simple. Your body temperature rises, blood vessels dilate and stimulate blood flow, heat from the blood travels to the skin’s surface, where the sweat glands start producing sweat. The reaction is aimed at cooling the body down. However, something special takes place during the process. Deep sweating is useful for releasing lead, copper, zinc, nickel, and mercury – all toxins found in the body.
2. Sauna can prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
This may be a surprise for some of you but research states that saunas can be extremely useful as a preventative method against Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, the study uncovers that visiting the sauna between four and seven times a week can lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 65%.
3. It can help you develop resistance to illness in general.
That’s right! People who regularly take saunas are less exposed to getting the flu or a cold. In addition, the activity can even help you heal an already developed cold. To add some numbers in, The Finnish Medical Society suggests that taking regular saunas decrease the chance of getting a cold by 30%. Not bad having in mind that the activity is quite enjoying and satisfactory itself. What a better way to combine the healthy with the pleasant!
4. Saunas are great calorie burners!
We certainly don’t want to say that going to the sauna alone can get you that perfect summer body but the activity certainly plays a role. Combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, the sauna can become a powerful method of maintaining body weight and ensuring a certain number of calories are burnt. By itself, sweating demands a great amount of energy from the body in order to take place. On standard, 300 calories are burnt during the typical sauna session. Most of the lost weight is water due to the process of sweating but it is still of benefit for your body.
5. It will keep your skin looking healthy and fresh.
Saunas have an incredible effect on the skin! In order for the body to maintain high levels of cellular growth, it needs the valuable nutrients. These nutrients are able to reach their final destination thanks to blood flow. Saunas speed up blood flow to the skin by up to 70% of cardiac output. Just to have something to compare the number to, the normal rate is 5-10%.
By going to the sauna you can soothe the facial muscles, open the skin pores, and stimulate your epidermis. More collagen is also produced during the process, meaning that your skin will remain elastic and young for longer.
6. Sauna can cure insomnia.
If you have problems with sleeping or are finding it difficult to maintain a normal sleep pattern, sauna can help. People who regularly use the facility usually report deeper and undisturbed sleep. During sauna, the body produces more endorphins, whose levels drastically fall as the body temperature cools down. Therefore, during the night, after visiting the sauna in the daytime, the body feels the need to sleep.
7. Saunas speed up recovery after physical exercise.
Paying the sauna a visit can be of extreme use to gym addicts or heavy lifters. This also relates back to the production of more endorphins while in a sauna. Once produced as a result of the heat, endorphins give the body a soothing and enjoyable feel, which is able to limit pain associated with conditions such as arthritis or muscle soreness.
In addition to endorphins, the increased body temperature leads to faster healing. Professional athletes are advised to take regular saunas after workouts to relax the body and speed up recovery. That way, they are able to perform better every day and achieve their sport targets successfully.
8. Saunas stimulate cardiovascular activity.
The dynamic and complicated lifestyle that most of us are involved in often results in high quantities of stress. Although we all have different preferred methods of releasing the steam and calming the mind and body down, sauna is one of the easiest and most influential ones. Some may choose yoga, others may prefer a cardio exercise, but imagine spending some time in a hot and cozy room and getting the same result!
Those who have a regular habit of visiting the sauna are less exposed to heart disease or fatal heart incidents. Even going to the sauna twice or three times a week is enough to prevent health conditions. In addition, the activity reduces the chance of hypertension or high blood pressure. Arterial compliance is also stimulated leading to healthier arteries and higher flexibility to stress.
Finally, sauna has the ability to increase your heart rate in a similar way to aerobic activity but with less or even no movement.
Although the social aspect of visiting a sauna may not directly be related to health, it is another part of life which makes us feel good and useful for society. The sauna is a great place to meet new people, share moments, and form new friendships.
We hope that this list of sauna health benefits will help you make the right choice next time you find yourself in a dilemma whether it is something you are willing to try. To get the best results, it is advisable to speak to a spa expert who can guide you during the process and make suggestions regarding how much time you should spend in a sauna, what room temperature to strive for, and more.
If you are a sauna newbie, it is probably best to start slow and gradually increase the time spent and the temperature in order to slowly adapt to the heat. Enjoy the experience!