It’s the start of a new year and everyone is motivated to get their health and wellness goals in check. Today, on mrsprofresh.com, I am sharing the top 10 sauna benefits and why you should consider adding the sauna to your routine.
What is a sauna?
A modern sauna (in the USA) is a wood-framed room heated to temperatures between 150°F and 195°F by an electric stove and stones. In some cases, water may be poured over the stones to create steam. If this is the case, it aligns a lot with the Finnish sauna, which is a sauna style from Finland. (Please note in some cases saunas may differ in temperature.)
I could go into the nitty gritty details that I accidentally discovered during my research about this topic BUT I will save them for another day.
Here’s what you need to know – no one really knows where the sauna originated. There is strong evidence it originated in northern Europe a long time ago – like BC years. Therefore, you can say we’ve been lied to because if you ask someone from Finland about what a real sauna is, they’ll most likely say our sauna doesn’t come close to what a sauna really is.
So there’s that. I wanted to get that out of the way because to answer the question, ‘what is a sauna?’, it will depend on who you ask.
Without further ado, below are the top ten sauna benefits. Enjoy!
The Top 10 Sauna Benefits
1. Reduces stress levels
The sauna is typically a quiet place to unwind and relax. (Sometimes there’s small chatter, but if you go early in the morning, you’ll most likely have the place to yourself.) According to The North American Sauna Society, “Sauna exposure causes a significant release of Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, and Beta-Endorphin, a neuropeptide hormone. These substances cause a sense of euphoria, as well as improved mood, energy, sense of calm, and pain tolerance.” After going to the sauna consistently for the last four years, I couldn’t agree more. I always leave more relaxed after my sauna session.
2. Provides pain relief
If you are in pain from a difficult day at the gym, I’ve found the sauna is a great tool to relieve muscle soreness. Not to mention, sometimes I have issues with my knees, but if I am taking my supplements, stretching, staying active, and going to the sauna, my knees don’t bother me!
3. Boosts immunity levels
A German study suggests the sauna helps build immunity levels before becoming sick. I’ll link more about that study here. When the body’s temperature is raised in the sauna you’re essentially inducing an artificial fever. This helps kill bacteria and viruses by increasing white blood cells, antibodies, and other disease fighting agents. As your body works to lower its temperature, your immune system is exercising to get stronger. This means, the number of white blood cells may increase with sauna temperatures. Additionally, some harmful microbes may die off at temperatures above 140°F.
4. Improves brain and mental health
This one had to be a part of the top 10 sauna benefits – improved brain and mental health. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one of the top ways to love your brain is to break a sweat. To support this, a 20+ year study conducted with more than 2,300 Finnish men, found 66% of them were less likely to be diagnosed with dementia, and 65% less likely with Alzheimer’s disease, than those going to the sauna once a week. FREAKING REMARKABLE.
5. Improves cardiovascular health
It’s a true story. More Finnish studies supporting this – linking it here for your review.
6. Helps with detoxification
My goodness does it feel good to sweat out the bad! Don’t forget to hydrate during, and after, your sauna session. Here’s an impressive study that recognized humans flush more toxins through the sweat compared to drawing blood, or emptying the bladder.
7. Purifies the skin
They say the sauna is the fountain of youth. When sweating occurs, the skin is cleansed and dead skin cells are replaced. This cleansing of the pores improves capillary circulation, improving the skin health.
8. Induces a deeper sleep
According to research, the sauna can help with reaching a deeper sleep. “In addition to the release of endorphins, body temperatures that become elevated in the late evening, fall at bedtime. This slow, relaxing decline in endorphins is key in facilitating sleep. Sauna bathers worldwide enjoy the deep sleep experiences resulting from the calming heat of an evening sauna.”
9. Burns calories
No one should encourage anyone to rely on the sauna for weight loss. This should be complimentary to your workout routine. But it is important to know, you will burn calories in the sauna. I will not provide estimates because it will truly depend on your size, weight, physique, time in the sauna, etc.
10. All the science aside – the sauna can be a sacred space for your mind, body, and spirit.
For the past four years, I’ve used the sauna for all the above and then some. It is my time to pray, manifest, visualize, heal, and meditate. Sometimes I take my phone out to take notes of the messages, or ideas, I receive. It has easily become one of my favorite places to be.
If you would like to begin incorporating the sauna into your daily routine, start slow. Begin with 5 or 10 minutes, whatever your body can handle, and slowly increase your time. Remember that slow and steady wins the race.
If you have any health concerns, please visit with your doctor first. After all, I am not a health specialist or expert. Please take everything with a grain of salt and always do your own research. 😉
Well, that’s a wrap on today’s top 10 sauna benefits! I hope you found this information useful. As always, if you have any questions, I would be happy to help. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or shoot a message on Instagram. Also, to support your health journey this year, please check out my morning smoothie recipe here. If you love the combination of almond butter and banana, you’ll love it!
Ps. I had no idea how much I would learn from researching the benefits of a sauna. But that’s what makes blogging fun! Blogging gives me the opportunity to do research on topics before publishing anything to this platform.