Health Benefits of Using a Sauna


You may or may not have seen (and used) a sauna before. They are commonly found in spas and health clubs, and for good reason. Saunas are a therapeutic approach to natural healing that blend well with the relaxation achieved in a spa, or the body toning and strengthening done at a gym. Regular use of a sauna can help reduce stress, improve circulation, and help remove toxins from the body.

Regular use of a sauna has many benefits that help improve your overall health.

The use of saunas dates back to Ancient Rome and can be found in many cultures They are quite often specifically found in Finnish homes. Other popular terms for sauna (or sauna like) facilities you may have heard of are: bath house, sweat lodge, Turkish bath, or steam room. A sauna is a room you go in to sit in dry or wet heat. Saunas are excellent when paired with hydrotherapy (like hot/cold shower therapy).

Before going in a sauna, you should check with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or health conditions. In some cases, elevating your body temperature may be an unsafe practice that may cause trouble and is therefore a contraindication to some conditions, particularly those of the heart.

The modern day versions you may find are typically these: A dry heat, wood lined sauna with heated stones you may or may not be allowed to pour water over, tile lined rooms where hot steam is present, or a small room where infrared light superficially heats your skin and surrounding surfaces. I’m personally not a fan of the infrared sauna at all, and while I do see some quality benefits to using a steam room, for the purposes of this post, I am only referring to the more traditional, hot stone, dry sauna.

How Will Using a Sauna Benefit Your Health?

  • Heat relaxes muscles and reduces stress
  • Sweating helps cleanse skin and flush toxins
  • Relaxed state leads to improved sleep
  • Regularly increasing internal body temperature can improve endurance in sports
  • Improves circulation
  • Helps flush out a cold
  • Helps release endorphins and elevate mood
  • May lower blood pressure
  • Promotes a peaceful feeling

What You Should Know When You Use a Sauna?

  • If you feel faint or overheated at anytime, you should immediately remove yourself from the sauna and allow yourself to cool down.
  • Drink plenty of water and be sure to replace the electrolytes you will lose through sweat.
  • Limit sauna use to about 20 minutes when you first start. You may increase length overtime, if you feel ready.
  • Improve benefits by combining sauna use with cold showers in alternation, allowing a short cool down period before each plunge into cold water.
  • Never consume alcohol before going in a sauna. Both can dehydrate. Together this combination can be detrimental to your health.
  • Use a towel to cover areas you’d like to keep cooler such as face and hair.
  • Use before AND after a massage (other ways to maximize massage benefits). Use AFTER a workout.

Even in the summer, using a sauna is a great way to help promote natural healing. Regular use is best if possible. Search out local saunas in your area. While it is common to find them at saunas and gyms, there are some stand alone businesses that only have sauna facilities. Avoid infrared saunas if you can because sometimes things were figured out long ago and don’t need much of a modern update beyond structure.

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