Physical Benefits of Using a Sauna
Sauna use may lower the risk of dementia and may improve vascular function and your ability to improve focus and attention.
Other research has demonstrated the ability of heat stress to promote myelin growth, helping your brain to function faster and repair nerve cell damage.
Heat may increase the permeability of the blood-brain barrier, stimulating cerebral output of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, activating brain stem cells to convert into new neurons.
Sauna use may help soothe muscle tension and is beneficial in helping the body recover from strength and endurance training sessions.
In one study of 44 patients with fibromyalgia, researchers found a reduction in pain between 33% and 77% after use of a far infrared dry sauna, and months after the study had concluded, the participants continued to report a reduction in pain between 28 and 68%.
Sauna use may naturally release human growth hormone (HGH), reducing serious muscle loss and atrophy occurring with aging.
Injections of HGH are banned in nearly every professional sport due to potential side effects and long-term harm. This use is unnecessary as there are ways to naturally optimize your HGH using high-intensity exercise, intermittent fasting and saunas.
Sauna use has demonstrated benefits for individuals suffering from asthma, bronchitis and obstructive pulmonary disease. Those with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis report positive effects from using infrared sauna therapy, reporting less pain and stiffness after 4 to 8 weeks of treatment.
There are several types of saunas to choose from they are as follows:
- Finnish sauna, either wet or dry
- Far-infrared saunas
- Near-infrared saunas (emitters and lamps)
The difference between an infrared sauna and the traditional Finnish-style saunas, whether wet or dry, is the Finnish-style sauna heats you from the outside in, like an oven.
The infrared sauna heats you from the inside out.
Infrared saunas are particularly known for their ability to promote detoxification, and the heating method is part of the reason. By heating your tissues several inches deep, the infrared sauna may enhance your natural metabolic processes and blood circulation, also helping oxygenate your tissues.
Near-infrared saunas have additional benefits over others, including far-infrared saunas.
Near-infrared penetrates your tissue more effectively than far-infrared since wavelengths under 900 nanometers in the near-infrared are not absorbed by water like the higher wavelengths in mid and far-infrared, and thus can penetrate tissues more deeply.
But, before you jump into a sauna, there are a safety factors to consider, they are as follows:
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Heat stress or heat stroke are real possibilities from excessive fluid loss. The potential for the effects of significant dehydration are higher when you use a sauna after a hard workout. Carry a water bottle, preferably protected glass, with you and drink frequently. Do not drink alcohol in a sauna as the alcohol and heat may trigger a cardiovascular event.
- If you experience a headache after using a sauna or hot tub, you may want to use a cool rag over your head so your body will cool more easily. Your core temperature will still rise, but the experience may be more pleasant for you.
- If you are trying to have a baby, then steer clear of the sauna. As your body heat rises, so does the temperature of your testicles, reducing your fertility. This reduces your sperm count and motility. The effect is reversible, but can take up to five weeks. You’ll also want to avoid the sauna during pregnancy as it may cause fetal abnormalities.
- A sauna is supposed to be relaxing and not a torture chamber. Our body is designed to function optimally at 98.6 F (37 C). Raising your core temperature above 104.8 F (40.4 C) is a medical emergency. Staying in a sauna longer than you should, or becoming severely dehydrated, can lead to death. Avoid using a sauna by yourself, always sauna with a buddy.
- Steer clear of public saunas that are not thoroughly and carefully cleaned between clients. Remember, saunas detoxify your body of heavy metals, which are released in sweat. When entering a sauna that has not been cleaned you can potentially absorb the heavy metals and toxins from the prior users through your skin.
Health centers offering sauna therapy have rigorous cleansing protocols in place between each patient, which is something you likely will not find in your local gym or other places offering saunas for public use.
Ideally, consider purchasing a sauna for use at in your own home.
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