6 Health Benefits of Saunas
The health benefits of saunas are hardly a new concept. People have used saunas for centuries to promote relaxation and get stress relief. But did you know saunas provide numerous other (and lesser known) health benefits?
For example, using a sauna regularly can improve your cardiovascular health, detoxify your system, and improve the overall health of your skin -- naturally.
In this blog I’ll cover the top 6 health benefits of saunas and encourage you to make sauna time a regular part of your health and beauty routine.
1 – Saunas improve cardiovascular health
If you hate exercising, then boy do I have some good news for you! Did you know that sitting in a sauna has a similar effect on your body as moderate exercise? Your heart rate rises, and your blood pressure remains steady. These are the two key ingredients required for an effective moderate workout.
How can this possibly be? Well, the heat from a sauna causes your blood vessels to dilate, which in turn increases your blood flow. That’s why sauna sessions are particularly beneficial for people with high blood pressure or heart disease.
But wait…there’s more.
Saunas can also improve the function of the endothelium (the inner lining of blood vessels). Endothelium plays a key role in regulating your blood flow and helping you maintain a healthy blood pressure.
2 – Saunas detoxify your system
Sweating in a sauna might be your least favorite part of using one, but you can take comfort in knowing all that sweating is for a good cause. Saunas help flush toxins from your body by increasing circulation and kicking your sweat glands into high gear.
If you’re exposed to environmental toxins frequently—things as common as coffee, alcohol, dairy products, everyday beauty products and, in some places, even public drinking water—you could be damaging your liver and kidneys. Saunas can help protect your vital organs by pushing harmful contaminants out of your system.
3 – Saunas provide natural pain relief
Living with chronic pain sucks, whether the pain is physical or psychological. The good news is that saunas provide natural pain relief by reducing inflammation and promoting the release of endorphins. You can translate that to simply: natural pain relief is one more of the many health benefits of saunas.
In particular, if you have any of these health issues, visiting a sauna regularly offers natural pain relief so you can get back to enjoying life.
- Arthritis. The heat from a sauna helps reduce inflammation, which can alleviate the pain associated with this condition.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome. Saunas increase circulation and reduce inflammation to help people suffering from chronic fatigue feel better.
- Depression and anxiety. Sauna use has been shown to improve your mood and reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Saunas can also reduce the pain, fatigue, and stiffness in people with fibromyalgia.
It’s important to remember that while sauna bathing can help you manage symptoms for all these conditions, it is not intended as a sole method of treatment. Make sure you consult with your doctor before using a sauna to make sure it’s safe for you.
4 – Saunas improve your overall skin health
Do you have splotchy, itchy, or otherwise embarrassing skin? Sweating it out in a sauna can help open your pores and increase blood flow to your skin. The result is a clearer, brighter complexion and a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Regular sauna treatments can have positive effects on several skin conditions, including:
- Acne. The heat from a sauna opens your pores, helping to clear out bacteria, dirt, and oil that can cause acne.
- Dermatitis. The heat from a sauna also soothes irritated skin and reduces inflammation associated with this painful skin condition.
- Eczema. The dry heat from a sauna relieves the itchiness and discomfort you feel when living with eczema by hydrating the skin and reducing inflammation.
- Psoriasis. The scaling and redness caused by psoriasis responds well to heat from a sauna by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation.
- Rosacea. Improving blood flow and reducing inflammation are two key benefits of saunas, which can alleviate symptoms of rosacea.
Make sure you consult with your dermatologist before using a sauna as part of your skincare routine. The heat and sweating from sauna use can worsen certain skin conditions.
5 – Saunas promote stress reduction
Let’s be honest. Adulting is stressful. The good news is that regular sauna use can alleviate that feeling you have of wanting to run screaming from the planet as fast as your legs will take you.
Sitting in a sauna is a meditative experience. As a sufferer of chronic inflammation, myself, I find regular sauna use not only provides pain relief, but it also releases all the tensions that can trigger my inflammation symptoms.
Pairing a sauna session with aromatherapy can extend the stress reduction effects. You can use an aromatherapy inhaler or diffuse your favorite stress-reducing essential oils for the best results.
6 – Saunas improve immune function
Getting sick is no fun. Boosting your natural immunity can help ward off the ick circulating around out there. Saunas are a key part of stimulating your immune system to produce more white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off infections and illnesses.
Here’s how it works. Saunas generate heat, which increases the body’s core temperature. In turn, your blood flows more freely, triggering the production of white blood cells to defend against bacterial and viral invaders.
Sauna use – combined with adequate sleep, a balanced diet, and regular exercise – is important for maintaining a strong immune system.
Enjoy the healing powers of saunas
Saunas offer numerous health benefits to improve your overall well-being. However, it’s important to note that saunas may not be appropriate for everyone. Pregnant women, people with certain medical conditions, and those taking specific prescription medications should consult with their healthcare provider before using a sauna.
If you do enjoy a sauna as part of your regular health routine, make sure you stay hydrated during use. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your sauna sessions for the best results.
Now go sweat it out!
About the Author: Shari Berg is a researcher, frequent blogger, feature writer, and author of Wars End with Me.
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- Common Chemical Pollutants Causing a Lot of Ill Health. nlm.nih.gov. Accessed May 9,2023
- Sauna bathing and systemic inflammation. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Accessed March 8, 2023.
- Sauna bathing and Risk of Psychotic Disorders: A Prospective Cohort Study. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Accessed March 8, 2023.
- What Are the Mental Health Benefits of Saunas? psychreg.org. Accessed March 8, 2023.