What are The Health Benefits of Using a Sauna?


A Sauna is a great relaxer, healer, and a way to Improve circulation.
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Saunas offer a wide range of health benefits

According to Harvard Health Publications, Mayans have used sweat houses as early as 3,000 years ago. Today 1 in 3 Finns still use them. The citizens of the United States have also seen the benefits and have sold over a million to date.

The majority of people use saunas for relaxation and cardiovascular health. Others use them to improve circulation.

You can purchase a sauna or visit a bathhouse, gym, or spas who offer them to their paying customers.

What is a Sauna?

A sauna is a heated room that holds a temperature between 70° to 100° Celsius or 158° to 212° Fahrenheit and can raise your surface temperature from 40° Celsius or 104° Fahrenheit.

Traditional Finnish saunas usually use dry heat, with a relative humidity that is often between 10 and 20 percent. In other sauna types, the moisture is higher. Turkish-style saunas, for example, involve a greater level of humidity.

Medical News Today

Sweating can occur when your skin temperature rises, and your heart rate will increase in an attempt to keep your body cool. Each person’s body will lose a different amount of sweat depending on the time spent in the sauna and the overall shape of the body.

Types of Saunas include:

Different types of saunas to help promote healing and health.
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Can Saunas Be Harmful?

“Much of the information about sauna safety comes from Finland. A 16-month study of 1,631 heart attacks in Helsinki found that just 1.8% developed within 3 hours of taking a sauna. In another investigation of all 6,175 sudden deaths that occurred in one year, only 1.7% occurred within 24 hours of taking a sauna — and many of those were related to alcohol.

In Finland, taking saunas is a national pastime. So, do these results apply to people in other parts of the world who sometimes use saunas?

Canadian researchers investigated sauna safety in 16 patients with well-documented heart disease. They compared the effects of a 15-minute sauna with a standard treadmill stress test.

None of the patients developed chest pain, abnormal heart rhythms or ECG changes with either type of stress. Heart scans did show impaired blood flow to the heart muscles of most patients, but the sauna-induced changes were milder than the exercise-induced abnormalities.

Saunas appear safe for patients with stable coronary artery disease. A small study from Japan suggested that two weeks of daily saunas may even improve vascular function in patients with mildly damaged hearts that cannot pump blood normally (stable heart failure).

Still, heart patients should check with their doctors before using saunas. People who can perform moderate exercise, such as walking for 30 minutes or climbing 3 or 4 flights of stairs without stopping, will likely get an okay. But patients with poorly controlled blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, unstable angina, and advanced heart failure or heart valve disease will be advised to stay cool.” -health.harvard.edu

Sauna Health Benefits

Saunas are used all over the world to promote cleansing, circulation and relaxation.
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Use a sauna to cleanse your body

Saunas produce a dry heat which has excellent effects on the body. Because the body temperature rises, your heart rate goes up and your pulse increases by about 30%. That means your blood is being circulated and pumped twice the average amount of times per minute.

Circulation

Our bodies become alive when we have good circulation and blood flow. Every part functions and performs at a higher capacity including your muscles, tendons, and joints, making the number one benefit of Saunas the improvement of circulation.

Internal Cleaner

A second health benefit has to do with purifying your body. Human beings need to cleanse out harmful toxins inside of the body and sweating is the best and most natural way to do that.

“Mixed with your sweat is a substance called urea, for which urine is named. In a paper published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, researchers estimated up to 1.12 milligrams (mg) of urea is dissolved in every cubic centimeter of sweat. While this sounds like a small amount, the average person sweats up to 700 cubic centimeters of liquid each day, which means urea excreted in your sweat is responsible for up to 7 percent of your daily elimination of urea.

Research has also determined that metals are excreted in measurable amounts, and many researchers consider sweating a safe and effective way to eliminate arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury.

Studies Show

These studies determined dermal excretion through sweating could match or surpass urinary excretion. Notably, cadmium was more concentrated in sweat than in blood plasma and mercury levels could be normalized with repeated sauna use. Another study evaluated the blood, urine, and sweat from 20 individuals and analyzed them for approximately 120 compounds, which were found in varying amounts in each of the different fluids. According to the authors:

clean out toxins in a sauna.
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“Many toxic elements appear to be preferentially excreted through sweat. Presumably stored in tissues, some toxic elements readily identified in the perspiration of some participants were not found in their serum. Induced sweating appears to be a potential method for elimination of many toxic elements from the human body.”

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a ubiquitous chemical contaminant associated with a number of adverse human health conditions. In a study designed to assess the relative concentration of BPA in blood, urine, and sweat, researchers found BPA could be identified in the sweat or 80 percent of the participants, even in some who had no BPA detected in serum, blood or urine.

They concluded biomonitoring using blood or urine may underestimate the total burden, and sweat analysis should be considered as it appeared to be useful for elimination of BPA.

Chemicals in the phthalate family are found in everyday consumer products, resulting in high exposure for some individuals and groups. Multiple studies have demonstrated statistically significant relationships between exposure to phthalates and disease. In one study,1 researchers evaluated the effectiveness of excretion of phthalates and metabolites through sweat.

They found some phthalates were measurable in sweat but not serum suggesting retention and bioaccumulation. They concluded induced perspiration could be useful to facilitate the elimination of toxic phthalate compounds, and that sweat analysis may help establish the existence of the bioaccumulation of 2-ethylhexyl phthalate.” -Mercola

Skin

Saunas help the skin retain its youthfulness.
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Saunas give you a youthful glow

Your skin is one of your major organs and needs blood to survive. Since the use of a sauna helps your blood flow, your skin will reap the benefits. Benefits like clean pores, a youthful glow, and a feeling of being refreshed.

In short, the high heat which promotes sweating cleanses your body without the use of soaps and gives the appearance of younger looking skin.

Lung Function

Breathing deeply in a sauna helps your lungs, because the hot air opens them up and cleans them out (certain oils can be added to the steam water to enhance this: peppermint, eucalyptus, birch and tea tree oils are best).

Sickness

When you are sick and need to clear out your sinuses, adding oils such as eucalyptus, can aid in the process. The congested feeling can be alleviated and the length of your symtons reduced.

Relaxation

The most enjoyable health benefit of a sauna is peace. People usually don’t speak when using a sauna, allowing you to take some deep breaths, relax, destress, and gain a sense of well being.

All of these combined add to the health benefits of using a sauna.

A Sauna is Sterile

Saunas are self-sterilizing due to the high temperatures they reach, making them an ideal place for delivering babies and treating wounds at lower heat. This is a benefit that should not be overlooked, as achieving sanitary conditions can be very difficult even in modern hospitals.

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Health risks and Precautions

  • Dehydration can occur very quickly when using a sauna. While relaxing, we often forget to bring water in with us or step out for a second and take a drink.
  • Drink 2 to 4 glasses of fresh water after each sauna.
  • A person should avoid alcohol as it increases their chance of getting dehydrated.
  • People with low blood pressure should consult with a doctor or time their sessions as one might become fatigued.
  • Pregnant women should consult their doctor.
  • Be sure to set a time, so you don’t fall asleep or stay in too long.
  • If you are feeling overheated or fatigued, you need to get out and cool your body slowly.
  • Avoid sauna use if ill.

As I have a sauna in my home I can attest to the benefits it offers for the whole family. However, if you’re not sure a sauna is something you would enjoy, then go to your local gym or spa and try one before purchasing or building your own.

Have a great week!

-Heather Earles

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