he merits of sauna health benefits have long been debated. Many people insist that saunas can be good for your body on many different levels; while detractors believe that few health benefits will be taken from a sauna session and that you can actually put your body at risk. So what is the truth behind sauna health?
What is a sauna?
A sauna is an enclosed room (or an entire facility devoted to providing saunas and other related services) designed to provide very high temperatures. Saunas can be either “dry” or “wet”, and temperatures can reach over 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Saunas have long been used for socializing and for relaxation. Many people – and now researchers – claim that there are many great sauna health benefits.
The true sauna health benefits :
- Sweating: Due to the high heat, your body will, of course, sweat a great deal while in a sauna. In even just a short sauna session, a person will typically sweat out over a pint of fluids. Sweating is good for the body for many reasons. It helps release toxins from the body and helps to cleanse the skin. Sweating in a sauna, however, should not be looked at as a way to lose weight; it is just water weight.
- Burning calories: The high heat will put your body into a kind of “over drive”. This state, with an increased pulse rate and higher cardiovascular activity, will result in burning a significant amount of calories. You can burn over 300 calories in a single sauna session, how’s that for a sauna health benefit? However, regular exercise is still better for your body because in addition to burning calories, you will be working your muscle groups and in some cases putting on more muscle, both of which will burn more calories in the future.
- Lowering blood pressure: Being in a sauna can temporarily lower your blood pressure. The high heat will cause your blood vessels to dilate, or widen, which results in a lowered blood pressure. Do not expect permanent lowering of blood pressure from saunas, however.
- Easing of muscle pain: The high heat will serve to loosen up all of your muscles which will in turn ease any muscle soreness, and in some cases even joint pain.
- Relaxation: Achieving a state of relaxation and mental calm is important for overall health. Mental stress can wear an individual down and can even weaken your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to sicknesses. A sauna is a great stress reliever and absolutely should be used as a method of relaxation.
Some precautions to consider when using a sauna:
- Limit your sauna sessions to 15 minutes when you are just beginning to indulge in them. This will acclimate your body and will serve as a test to see if you can handle it, if you enjoy it and if you are personally reaping any benefits of it.
- Always replenish your bodily fluids following a sauna.
- Consult a physician prior to following a sauna health plan if you have any heart problems or conditions. Adding the stress of high heat to a troubled heart can cause problems.
- If you ever feel weak while taking a sauna, step out immediately.