7 Health Benefits of Saunas

Hello beautiful people.

So you want to know the benefits of a sauna eh? Well look no further. This ancient practice has stood the test of time because it comes with many therapeutic benefits. 

TYPES OF SAUNAS:

Dry:

  • Low humidity and high heat: 80-90 degrees C (176-194 degrees F)
  • More comfortable than steam sauna.
  • How the original Finnish saunas worked.

Steam:

  • High humidity so not as hot as dry sauna
  • More stressful on the body. 

Infrared:

  • These use infrared radiation lamps that emit both visible and infrared light (like sun rays) to heat the body.
  • Because the wavelengths penetrate deeper into the tissue and heat your core more easily, the temperature doesn’t have to be as high: 43-55 degrees C (110-130 degrees F). This makes for a more comfortable sweat session. 

HOW DO SAUNAS BENEFIT ME?

  • BOOSTS IMMUNITY
    • Raising body by temperature by 1-3 degrees C will increase the number of circulating immune cells (higher lymphocyte, neutrophil and basophil counts) (1).
    • This is why our body creates a fever when you are sick! It’s to help boost your immune system. The body is intelligent.
    • In a six-month study, participants who engaged in regular sauna baths had significantly fewer colds than the control group over the same time period (2).
  • BOOSTS MUSCLE GROWTH
    • For all of you looking to make some gains, heat helps increase muscle growth.
    • When the body is heated up it creates heat shock proteins which prevent muscle/protein degradation (therefore helping to increase net protein synthesis = muscle growth!)
    • Heating the body also releases growth hormone which has an anabolic effect on skeletal muscle.
    • Adding the sauna to your weekly workout routine will enhance growth of your muscles. This will lead to a raised basal metabolic rate which can help with…see next point.
  • WEIGHT LOSS
    • The heat generated by an infrared sauna will cause your core temperature to increase, which can also lead to an increased heart rate – the same increase in heart rate that you experience when exercising. When your body has to work harder to lower your core temperature or keep up with an increased heart rate, your body will burn more calories, resulting in weight loss. An article titled (6) in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that a 30-minute infrared sauna session could burn roughly 600 calories.
  • BOOSTS BRAIN HEALTH
    • Frequent sauna use is associated with a decreased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (3).
    • Heat therapy increases the expression of Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which stimulates nerve growth. Low expression of BDNF is found in Alzheimer’s (4).
    • Increases the storage and release of norepinephrine, which improves attention and focus.
    • Increases prolactin, which causes your brain to function faster by enhancing myelination and helps to repair damaged neurons.
    • Increases BDNF, which causes the growth of new brain cells, improves the ability for you to retain new information, and ameliorates certain types of depression and anxiety.
    • Causes a robust increase in dynorphin, which results in your body becoming more sensitive to the ensuing endorphins.
  • DETOXIFICATION OF TOXINS
    • Sweating is a known route for eliminating heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium and mercury (5).
    • Infrared sauna technology can help purify your skin by eliminating toxins from your pores and increasing circulation, resulting in clearer, softer, and healthier-looking skin.
  • PAIN RELIEF
    • If you suffer from muscle aches or joint pain, infrared saunas can relieve this form of inflammation by increasing circulation and relaxing your muscles.
  • LONGEVITY/ANTI-AGING
    • Saunas flat out reduce risk over all-cause mortality – meaning reduced risk of death from anything.
    • In flies and worms, a brief exposure to heat treatment has been shown to increase their lifespan by up to 15% and it’s been shown that this effect is specifically mediated by heat shock proteins.
    • One possible explanation for the increased lifespan is heat
      stress is known to induce hormesis. This boosts the expression of heat shock proteins, which are known to improve longevity.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24511348
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2248758 
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27932366
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gene/627
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3312275/
  6. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/360118

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