Awareness of the need for healthy living in today’s world is growing. New ways of maintaining health are being sought worldwide. These new approaches have lead to increased use of saunas, both at home and at health spas or fitness centers. Firstly, it is important to view saunas and similar treatments as primarily being leisure products or treatments, however, research has indicated several health benefits that can be gained through sauna use.
Saunas can help reduce stress levels. Heat and sweat can cause a reduction of the internal natural chemicals that are released as a result of stress and tension. Thus a sauna can prove beneficial for countering stress.
The body can also be detoxified through the use of a sauna. Pollutants are everywhere and gradually have a negative impact on the body. Saunas cause perspiration, which can rid the body of toxins and bacteria, resulting in cleaner, healthier skin. Blood circulation is also increased as body temperature rises, thus making it easier to excrete toxins. Blood flow to the skin is estimated to increase to as much as 50-75% of cardiac output. Therefore, using saunas can help provide an excellent overall cleansing of the skin and sweat glands.
Saunas burn calories and can aid weight loss. The aforementioned increased blood circulation can also simulate mild exercise and it is estimated that around 600 calories can be burned in a half an hour sauna session. The cardiac load is roughly equal to taking a brisk walk. Cellulite can also be tackled through the use of a sauna.
Raised body temperature also increases white blood cell levels which can help stave off cold and influenza. Sitting in a sauna can also decongest air passages and sinuses, which can also be of benefit in the fight against cold and flu. Steam is beneficial for the successful treatment of several respiratory problems including chest congestion, laryngitis, bronchitis and sinusitis. Further to this, while one is in a sauna, an artificial state of fever can be induced as a result of the increased temperature. Fever is part of the healing process and stimulates the immune system and aids in the production of several disease fighting processes.
Another benefit of sauna use is increased flexibility (again due to the increase in body heat) which helps the recovery of sore and aching muscles and joints. Joint pain, inflammation and swelling can also be relieved and so sauna use is recommended for those who suffer from arthritis.