The benefits of sauna are endless. From a biological perspective sweating reduces stress, clears detox pathways, promotes circulation and fights illness. Sauna bathing is a form of whole body thermo-therapy that has been used in various forms for thousands of years in many parts of the world for hygiene, health, social, and spiritual purposes.
From Native American sweat lodges, Russian Banya’s, Korean bath house’s and Turkish Hamman’s, sweating has a cultural and historical significance aiding warriors, elders, athletes, birthing, illness, disease and psycho-spiritual conditions. There is considerable evidence to suggest that sauna bathing can induce profound physiological effects, regulating the central nervous system and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal hormonal axis and improve systemic oxygen saturation.
In other words, routine sauna goers experience benefits ranging from mental health, chronic pain, hormone regulation and reduced risk of cardiovascular events.
Research findings suggest that sauna can benefit:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Allergic rhinitis
- Chronic fatigue
- Athletic recovery
- Chronic pain
- Weight loss
- Reduction in LDL cholesterol
- Improved skin PH (reduction of sebum)
The list goes ON. Sauna detoxification studies reported that sauna bathing improved patients with “poor health” with outcomes of fewer sick days, better sleep and improved neuropsychological scores.
Who is sauna possibly not good for? Well, a study out of Finland reported measures on male infertility, suggesting that after 3 months of repeated sauna, (15 minutes twice a day) reduced sperm counts and sperm concentrations were noted. These findings are consistent with some earlier research on the effects of genital heat stress on semen quality. Keep this in mind as it is contraindicated for couples trying to get pregnant.
Improving adaptation to stress, creating metabolic resilience and enhancing detox pathways are arguably the core tenants of health, so what are you waiting for!
Whether its at your local 24 Hour Fitness, a sauna blanket, a Korean Bath house, Russian Banya or Turkish Hamman, go forth and sauna!
Remember to hydrate please! Re mineralize yourself by adding a pinch of sea salt with lemon and filtered water. Gradually built your sauna tolerance and take breaks when needed. Due to the natural loss of fluid, minerals and electrolytes, be mindful of your water before, during and after sauna bathing.
Now, get your sweat on.
Hussain, J., & Cohen, M. (2018). Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2018, 1857413. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/1857413