The Science of Saunas: 10 Proven Clinical Health Benefits
May 14, · The average person will pour out a pint of sweat during a short stint in a sauna. The pulse rate jumps by 30% or more, allowing the heart to nearly double the amount of blood it pumps each minute. Most of the extra blood flow is directed to the skin; in fact, the circulation actually shunts blood away from the internal organs. Under the high heat provided by a sauna, the body releases endorphins (see health and wellness benefit #1). Endorphins can have a mild, enjoyable "tranquilizing effect" and the ability to minimize the pain of joint and muscle soreness other from, say, an intense physical workout. Body temperature also rises from the heat of the sauna.
Heat therapies have long been used for healing and wellness, thee all the way back to the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Mayans. The sauna is simply a small or large room designed specifically to help you sweat.
Today, saunas are an everyday part of many cultures, from the Finnsh what is the skyrim steelbook saunas to the Swedish batsu, the Korean jjimjilbangs, and Japanese sento. Variations of the dry and steam or wet saunas, as well as the latest infrared saunas, all offer a variety of health benefits, even after only a few minutes a day of use.
Users report that a deep, healthy sweat generally relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, and delivers an overall sense of relaxation and well-being. Over the ages, various types of dry and wet saunas have been invented, along with the latest infrared saunas that deliver direct heat to the body versus heating the air and room temperature.
Infrared saunas deliver direct heat via the infrared light and at lower temperatures versus dry and wet saunas that heat the air to increase the room temperature. Depending on the duration of sauna use, you will see circulation improvements that are similar to the effects of beneefits exercise.
Sauna use can also help improve athletic performance and stamina due to that increase in circulation. Still not convinced? Due to the extreme heat, certain people should avoid sauna use of any type, including pregnant women and those with specific health conditions such as low blood pressure and heart conditions. Everyone is unique and may have very different outcomes from sauna use, so track your key metrics before and after use, as well as over a period of time, to understand specifically how sauna use is impacting you.
From there, you can check health stats such as blood pressure, heart rate, and more. You may even see improvements in the quality of your sleep over time. You may also want to how to lose cellulite at home various durations and frequencies, and the correlated effects on those same metrics to determine which type of sauna and frequency level is right for you.
And as we always say, be sure to consult your health practitioner before starting any new health regimen! Awesome article! Saunas have plenty of benefits in terms of relaxation, detox and improving sleep patterns.
It is however a good idea to check up with doctors before indulging in saunas regularly, particularly those who have cardio-vascular diseases. Interesting post. It has practically changed my life so I encourage people bbenefits go to saunas regularly. Even created a website to help others out. Thank you so much for the list. I have just tried to add the sauna into my weekend time. And it worked amazingly for my mental performance. Nice summary qhat Dave. Very easy to skim over and pick out benefits.
Would be great to see the sources referenced though since you say these are all proven. Going through such blog posts are always have a great experience. Thanks for sharing the useful and informational stuff here with us. Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. What is a Sauna?
Different Types of Saunas Today, saunas are an everyday part of many cultures, from the Finnsh outdoor saunas to the Swedish batsu, the Korean jjimjilbangs, and Japanese sento. What Happens in the Body? Slow down Father Time aka: aging! Cell regeneration means you slow the aging process. Detoxify heavy metals and chemicals. Everyday exposure to potentially toxic heavy metals through a variety of sources means even the most health conscious people still have toxins in the body.
Benefkts sauna bathing helps excrete toxins such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. Make your heart happy and healthy.
Reduce blood pressure. Sauna heat helps widen blood vessels and improve circulation, which reduces blood pressure. Optimize athletic performance. Blood flow improvements from hyperthermic conditioning heat conditioning sends more blood to the heart, leading to an increase in plasma and red blood cell swuna. That process delivers more oxygen throughout the body, fueling athletic performance.
Improve muscle function and recovery. As more blood flow and oxygen is delivered throughout the body, muscles increase in size and muscle breakdown is diminished. One study showed that two, one-hour sauna sessions for seven days straight increases production of how to make a wig cap weave human growth hormone HGH by whhat to five times.
Fuel weight loss. Regular sauna use is shown to regulate the appetite, increase metabolism, and improve oxygen utilization, benefiits to fuel weight loss along with a reduction in body fat.
Boost brain function. Ignite your immune system. How to Track Your Sauna Health Benefits Everyone is unique and may have very different outcomes benefkts sauna use, so track your key metrics before and after use, as well as over a period of time, to understand specifically how sauna use is impacting you. Ready to get started? Namaste my friends! Martina Simpkins on March 2, at am. Mark Lawrence on April 23, at pm. Bright Steve on October 2, at pm. Luke on October 11, at pm.
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Jun 17, · A sauna is a room in which people aim to relax in dry heat. It may provide benefits for cardiovascular health that resemble those derived from exercise. Drinking alcohol Estimated Reading Time: 7 mins. Jan 03, · Heat exposure from sauna use increases the heat shock protein, stimulating antigen-presenting cells, along with releasing cytokine, thus stimulating the body’s natural immune system. BONUS BENEFIT: improve emotional health and funslovestory.comted Reading Time: 5 mins. Jan 11, · Sauna Benefits #6 – Improve circulation and oxygenation When you sit in a hot sauna, your body temperature begins to rise. This causes your blood vessels to dilate, which increases blood flow and overall circulation. Blood brings nutrients and oxygen to all body tissues and help them funslovestory.comted Reading Time: 6 mins.
All of these benefits I just listed off are actually proven benefits of sauna use. However, the benefits of the sauna go far beyond that…. Below, I give a list of the major benefits of sauna use along with the science to prove it! Combats Aging and May Increase Longevity 2. Reduces Rates of Heart and Cardiovascular Disease 5. Lowers Blood Pressure 6. Increases Weight Loss 7.
Increases Muscle Growth 9. Faster Post-Workout Recovery Improves Skin Health Decreases Pain and Fibromyalgia Symptoms Lowers Inflammation Bolsters Immune System Who Should Avoid Sauna Use. NOTE: Do you prefer to read, watch or listen to information to learn? Below you can continue reading this article or you can listen to all of this information in podcast form or watch the video below. Hormesis — The Good Stress. That leads us to an important point.
The most common example of this principle is physical exercise. There is a mountain of thousands of studies showing that exercise prevents all kinds of diseases and that it increases our physical energy levels, improves our mood, and extends longevity.
In short, developing resistance to one type of stress can make your cells resistant to many other types of stress. Heat stress i. I like to say that if there were a pharmaceutical drug that had the same benefits of using a sauna, it would be the best-selling drug of all-time — an absolute blockbuster drug that would be prescribed to basically EVERYONE, and would be hailed as a miracle drug, and one of the biggest medical breakthroughs of all time.
We can start by looking at the benefit of sauna use on longevity since this is the big picture. If a therapy reduces death from all causes, you can be sure that there are multiple mechanisms at work that are enabling this to happen many of which we will get into in more detail below.
As I said above, if there were a prescription drug that showed effects like this, it would be considered the most incredible pharmaceutical breakthrough of all time. One of the mechanisms for this may be the activation of heat shock proteins HSPs. Aging is associated with a progressive accumulation of molecular damage and reduced cellular defense mechanisms.
Higher levels of HSPs have been linked to longevity , as women with a gene polymorphism that leads to increased expression of HSPs live longer. This is supported by data that we have in other organisms. Worms exposed to heat stress experienced both greater longevity and protection from frailty in a dose-dependent relationship.
This has been linked to the effect of HSPs. Heat stress also activates FOXO3 , which has been called the longevity gene since polymorphisms in this gene are associated with the ability to attain exceptional old age.
FOXO3 affects the expression of a number of other genes, such as those involved in DNA repair and cell death, immune function, stress resistance, autophagy, tumor suppression, and the activation of stem cells. Side note: While increased lifespan is one of the many benefits of saunas, there are of course numerous other factors that play a role in longevity.
Check out the podcast I did with researcher Jason Prall on the key factors that play a role in longevity. Heat stress is a powerful type of hormesis, and heat shock proteins that special type of proteins that are strongly elevated in response to heat exposure play a big role in improving mitochondrial health and function.
While there are only a few studies testing this directly, heat stress has been shown to induce profound changes in mitochondrial health.
Lee Know. Sarah Myhill. Saunas may also be the single most powerful tool we have for detoxification from environmental chemicals and heavy metals. Many toxicants have long half-lives and bioaccumulate up the food chain, so even if you are avoiding new exposures to the extent possible by cleaning up your immediate environment and being careful about household and personal care products, no one can avoid all exposures and most people likely already have significant stores of toxicants.
In our current world, even newborn babies have already been exposed, as a total of toxic chemicals were identified in umbilical cords in a recent study. Thus ongoing detoxification is very important. The ability to sweat seems to be critical for detoxification,  and some toxicants, such as certain heavy metals, appear to come out in higher concentrations in sweat than via other excretion pathways such as urine or feces. Studies have found that we sweat out everything from mercury, to BPA a hormone-disrupting chemical from plastics , to PCBs, to DDT, to prescription drug residues, to fluoride, to countless other harmful chemicals.
Sweating appears to be a major detoxification pathway in humans. So we live in a far more toxic world than our ancestors, and we simultaneously stimulate our sweating detoxification pathway far less than they did — a bad combination indeed. People with high levels of toxicants often have autonomic dysfunction that affects thermoregulatory mechanisms. Sauna improves autonomic function  and consequently thermoregulatory mechanisms, increasing the ability to sweat.
People who are heat-acclimated through sauna use can produce up to 2 liters per hour of sweat. Sauna use helps break that cycle and helps your body re-learn how to detoxify. Toxicants can be either hydrophilic water-soluble or lipophilic fat-soluble. Sauna can help excrete both, since sweating triggers release from both sweat and sebaceous glands. Though sweat is an important excretory pathway, it is likely that mechanisms for detoxification go far beyond sweating.
These may include the entire array of beneficial adaptations to heat stress, including the repair or removal of damaged cells via HSPs and activation of FOXO3. One study showed a reduction in chemical sensitivity with sauna treatment in addition to graded exercise, daily massage, and nutritional supplementation. Participants also had overall improvements in mental and physical energy and a reduction in odor sensitivity to toxic substances. After treatment had ended, those who continued to use the sauna three times per week continued to have health improvements and to see their chemical sensitivity diminish.
Importantly, however, the authors of this study noted that symptoms could worsen during treatment for those with compromised detoxification pathways. It is critical to take this slowly and make sure the body is able to eliminate the toxins that are being mobilized from tissues.
Sweating has also been demonstrated to increase excretion of toxicants such as organochlorinated pesticides OCPs ,  which have been shown to cause mitochondrial damage, oxidative stress, cell death, endocrine disruption, and epigenetic modification. In 69 police officers that developed chronic illness as the result of methamphetamine exposure , a sauna-based detoxification protocol led to a significant reduction in symptom and neurotoxicity scores.
Many of the rescue workers following the September 11, attack on the World Trade Center have developed symptoms from exposure to toxins such as polychlorinated biphenyls PCBs , polychlorinated dibenzofurans PCDFs , and polychlorinated dioxins PCDDs that have not improved with time. Study subjects reported symptoms including respiratory impairment, mental and emotional distress, chronic muscle and joint pain, gastrointestinal disorders, and skin rashes.
Remarkably, after treatment with a sauna-based detoxification protocol, health symptoms either completely resolved or satisfactorily improved, as did neurophysiological test results. Side note: If you want to know more about the importance of saunas and the best binders for toxins when detoxing, listen in to the podcasts I have done with heavy metal detox expert Wendy Myers and Dr.
Bryan Walsh. More than , people die of heart and blood vessel diseases in the U. How Saunas Improve Cardiovascular Health. Sauna bathing is inversely associated with the risk of sudden cardiac death, coronary heart disease CHD , and cardiovascular disease CVD independent of conventional risk factors. Another study following 2, men for 26 years found that sauna use was associated with lower risk of cardiovascular mortality independent of cardiorespiratory fitness.
That means the sauna was conferring benefits above and beyond exercise alone. The authors concluded that the combination of the two may confer additional survival benefits since those who had high cardiorespiratory fitness and high sauna use times per week had the lowest CVD and all-cause mortality.
Waon therapy, a type of sauna therapy, developed in Japan, has been studied for its effects on heart disease for over 20 years. This is usually done five days per week for a number of weeks or months.
A recent review of the literature found that Waon has been shown to improve blood flow, cardiac function, ventricular arrhythmias, vascular endothelial function, neurohormonal factors, sympathetic nervous system function, and symptoms in patients with chronic heart failure CHF. Waon has also been found effective for patients with severe peripheral arterial disease PAD , which often causes severe pain and inability to exercise due to leg claudication. After Waon therapy 5 days per week for 10 weeks, participants with PAD experienced reduced pain and increased exercise performance.
Leg ulcers caused by PAD either healed completely or greatly improved, and one patient was even spared from a leg amputation. Results continued in patients engaged in Waon therapy at least twice per week thereafter. Sauna use improves vascular flow and endothelial function by increasing the expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase eNOS. There are few other therapies in existence that show this kind of effect.
Research has shown that sauna use in combination with exercise is more effective at lowering blood pressure than exercise alone. How Saunas Lower Blood Pressure. For high blood pressure, even sauna bathing as little as every other week had benefit. A group of hypertensive men using the sauna every two weeks for three months experienced a drop in blood pressure equivalent to that caused by hypertensive medications. In one study, people participated in either 15 minutes of exercise followed by 30 minutes of infrared sauna, or 15 minutes of exercise only the control group.
Participants in the sauna group lost 1. Adding to this, we also have other lines of evidence suggesting a link between HSPs and fat loss. Mice with high expression of HSPs have lower body fat mass , better insulin tolerance and glucose clearance, less intramuscular lipid accumulation, more oxidative enzymes and higher number of mitochondria. Sauna use can also modulate appetite. In one study, normal-weight patients with appetite loss increased ghrelin a hormone associated with hunger concentrations, leading to normal daily caloric intake and feeding behavior.
Their body weight and body fat significantly decreased after two weeks of sauna therapy. Sauna uses increases metabolic rate and oxygen consumption similar to moderate exercise. Sauna use can increase endurance. Cardiovascular improvements gained via hyperthermic conditioning — like increased plasma volume, increased red blood cells and blood flow to the heart — improve athletic endurance and performance.
Hyperthermic conditioning improves thermoregulatory mechanisms, which means your body stays cooler and performs better at higher temperatures , like those induced during exercise. Increased blood flow to skeletal muscles improves nutrient delivery , reducing reliance on glycogen stores during exercise.