There are many health benefits to using a sauna. This method of relaxation and health maintenance has been in use for several thousand years, and cultures like the ancient Romans and the Scandinavians recognized the advantages of a good, regular sweat. The mental and physical benefits to using a sauna are plenty, and if you have the opportunity to use one, you should take advantage of it!
Some benefits of using a sauna include:
- It works as a stress reliever by helping you to relax and unwind. Relieving stress can lower blood pressure, decrease headaches and elevate your mood. This will make you more productive, and more pleasant to be around!
- Saunas cause your body to burn calories. Your sweat glands produce sweat, which requires energy, and therefore increases caloric expenditure. Saunas should not be solely relied upon, however, as a weight loss system.
- It raises your body temperature slightly, which gives the effects of a fever. This prompts the body to fight off any viruses or bacteria that can cause illness, thus boosting your immune system.
- Saunas provide a slight cardiovascular benefit in that the heat and steam require the heart to work a little more to send more blood to the capillaries
- They are an effective way to rid the body of toxins that we ingest from the environment around us through sweating, such as mercury, lead, sodium, and sulphuric acid.
When you take a sauna, you lose a great deal of water through the sweating. This might cause a sudden loss of a few pounds, but it is only fluid loss. When you re-hydrate (and you should take in liquids before, during, and after a sauna) your body, the weight will return. There are certain sports that require athletes to make a certain weight class in a very short period of time. These athletes often use saunas as a means of rapid weight loss. Any type of weight loss through dehydration is not safe.
The use of a sauna should be moderate. Sessions should only last for about 20 minutes, due to the increase of body temperature. And older people, or those with heart conditions should consult a physician before trying a sauna.
Using the sauna provides a variety of health benefits, and can be included as part of a sensible diet and exercise program. It can help you maintain your weight, it can rid your body of toxins, keep your complexion clear and bright, and it can help to reduce stress. Saunas are an effective method of health maintenance, if used moderately and properly.