Saunas- a Fantastic Way to Improve Health and Wellbeing

Saunas – a fantastic way to improve health and wellbeing

Saunas are not a new invention. Many ancient cultures including the Romans and Native American Indians used sweat lodges as a method of cleansing but saunas as we know them today originated in Finland in around 2000 BC.

The word “sauna” is actually the old Finnish word for bathhouse and although the design of saunas has changed radically over the past 4000 years, today Finnish inspired saunas are popular in many countries around the world.

So, whether it is a traditional sauna or a modern infrared sauna, taking a sauna is one of the oldest activities known to mankind.  For something to last that long, there has to be a reason. In fact, there are plenty of good reasons why saunas are so popular and there are numerous health benefits as well.

Feel the heat!

Saunas are designed to make you hot! With a traditional sauna the heat is dry until water is sprinkled over the hot rocks whereupon it is converted to steam. This humidity can be controlled by adding more water or not, depending on personal preference – with some modern style traditional saunas fitted with an inbuilt steam function to do this for you automatically.

 By contrast an infrared sauna is a purely dry heat that raises core temperature which promotes sweating activity but does not heat the surrounding environment. Both types of saunas have numerous benefits to health and wellbeing; it all comes down to personal preference.

The high temperatures of both types of sauna cause perspiration, raise body temperature and heart rate and increase blood circulation. The skin rises in temperature, and you can expect to lose around a pint of sweat in an average session. A sauna has been described as taking a bath from the inside out and doing this has numerous benefits for health.

So, what are the health benefits of a sauna?

Taking a sauna has numerous benefits to health and wellbeing. Medical studies have shown that the more saunas people take, the healthier they seem to be. And according to research carried out in Finland, taking regular saunas seems to have a neuroprotective effect against the development of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of taking a regular sauna

  • A sauna relaxes and soothes tired and aching muscles: whether you are an athlete or have been exercising, a sauna can help loosen muscles and improve recovery after a workout.
  • A sauna removes stress and tension: Your worries will fade away after a relaxing sauna session. It will help you sleep too.
  • A sauna gives you a cardiovascular workout similar to undertaking exercise. Because a sauna gently increases your heart rate, your blood vessels will become more elastic with more frequent dilation and contraction with frequent use. This is good for heart health.
  • A sauna increases the metabolism: A sauna has the same effects on the body’s metabolism as taking regular exercise. This keeps your body functioning more efficiently and can even lead to weight loss. And although you should always ensure that you do take physical exercise as well a sauna can certainly improve the benefits.
  • Sweating in a sauna helps to flush the kidneys: Because the sauna makes you sweat it helps remove toxins that would otherwise be excreted by waste. Some doctors recommend saunas to patients undergoing dialysis.
  • A sauna is fantastic for skin: The increased blood flow to the skin promotes new skin growth and collagen production. It flushes out impurities and toxins and leaves your skin glowing, improving health and maintaining skin elasticity.
  • A sauna improves circulation: Because your blood vessels are dilated by heat, a sauna is fantastic for improving blood flow to your extremities such as toes and fingers.
  • A sauna increases pain relieving endorphins and norepinephrine so will provide temporary pain relief for many medical conditions such as arthritis.
  • A sauna can boost immunity to colds and disease: In Finland taking a sauna is known as hardening because taking a sauna is believed to improve resistance to commonplace ailments such as colds and flu. The idea is that it will harden your resistance.

What are the differences between a traditional sauna and an infra red sauna?

Basically a traditional sauna incorporates the use of steam whereas an infra red sauna provides a dry heat. In addition an infra red sauna does not reach the same high temperatures of a traditional sauna so is more suited to people who are heat sensitive.

It is important to weigh up the pros and cons of both types of sauna before you make a decision as both have different points when it comes to running costs and performance.

However both types of sauna are enjoyable and carry the health benefits that make saunas so popular.

Are saunas good for you?

Saunas are good for you but it is important to use them correctly and speak to your doctor if you have any health issues before you start such as a heart condition or blood pressure issues.

And although many people in Finland stay in the sauna for long periods of time as it can be a social occasion, the average session should last no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Never use the sauna after you have been drinking alcohol and make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water after your session.

So are there any other reasons why I should buy a sauna?

A sauna is a fantastic and fun way to improve your health and wellbeing. But if you need any more reasons, remember that a sauna does improve the value of your home very easily. It adds a certain cachet to your home and if you want to impress people, it certainly ticks the right boxes. Even better a sauna requires very little maintenance too so once it is installed, all you have to do is use it and keep it clean for the next session.