An integral part of the spa experience, a sauna offers a number of benefits. Steeped in tradition, the sauna has been long been recognized as a tool to help to detoxify the body. For thousands of years, saunas have been used in countries throughout the world, including Finland, where approximately one-third of adults visit one on a regular basis. Saunas have since gained popularity all over the world, particularly in the United States.
Saunas, which are typically comprised of natural wood walls and seating areas, are generally constructed from oak, cedar, or even pine. Although the wood is not painted, it is treated to withstand high temperatures and moisture that is present in the space. While the normal operating temperature in a sauna is about 90 degrees, it can vary widely. Most saunas maintain relatively low humidity levels of between 10 and 20 percent. The air inside of a sauna is also exchanged frequently through the use of sophisticated ventilation systems that provide purification.
Saunas can prove beneficial to physical and mental health. In the following, we’ll take a look at the many health benefits that they can provide.
Reduce the risk of heart disease
Saunas offer many health benefits. A University of Finland study conducted in 2015 indicated that regular sauna sessions can improve heart function and reduce the risk of cardiac arrest and cardiovascular abnormalities, as well as lower the risk of heart disease. The researchers studied a group of men over the course of a 20-year period and discovered that the more frequently that they visited a sauna and the longer that they stayed there, the lower their risk of fatal cardiovascular disease and sudden cardiac death.
Moreover, the Journal of Human Hypertension featured a study showing that the heart rates of people who spent time in a sauna showed an increase similar to those who participated in medium-intensity exercises such as cycling, hiking, or jogging.
A single visit to a sauna could also help to lower blood pressure, according to a separate study published in the journal. Heat from the sauna results in the dilation of blood vessels, which causes faster blood flow.
Using a sauna could also prove beneficial to people living with chronic pain. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that using a sauna can help to alleviate some kinds of chronic pain, such as chronic tension headaches. They are frequent headaches that generally occur more than 15 days a month.
In addition, using a sauna can help people with asthma. By using a sauna on a regular basis, these individuals could experience less wheezing. Regular sessions could also prove beneficial for individuals with allergic rhinitis.
Improve skin conditions
Essentially, there are two main types of saunas: a “wet sauna” and a “dry sauna.” Also known as a steam room, a wet sauna uses a boiler that is similar to a humidifier and can increase a room’s temperature to an average of 110 degrees. The higher humidity levels in a wet sauna can offer a variety of benefits, such as alleviating muscle and joint stiffness, clearing clogged pores, improving circulation, and providing relief from nasal congestion and respiratory problems.
The low humidity of a dry sauna offers its own set of benefits. In a dry sauna, the body heats up faster and perspiration occurs more quickly than in a wet sauna. As result, people can achieve their desired results much more quickly. Since the heat in a dry sauna is also generally more tolerable, people can spend more time in it and enjoy the benefits for a longer period.
Dry saunas offer a number of other benefits. For instance, they can help to improve chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, Moreover, dry saunas can boost mental health, as they can help to alleviate stress. One study at the University of Eastern Finland even linked the regular use of a sauna to a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Researchers believe that this could be due to the fact that using a sauna can lead to greater blood flow to the brain. Moreover, a study published in the journal Age and Ageing showed that people who visited a sauna several times a week had a lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Dry saunas could also prove beneficial to individuals with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, as well as chronic fatigue.
By following these tips and understanding the benefits, you can ensure that your sauna experience will prove safe and enjoyable.