Much has been made of the health benefits of sauna bathing. With good reason. Physically, nothing is more reinvigorating than a deep, healthy sweat every day. Tension fades. Muscles unwind. Mentally, we emerge relaxed, revived and ready for whatever the day may bring.
A few minutes a day is all it takes to look and feel better. The body's response to gentle, persistent heat is well-documented and proven day in and out by people all over the world. Which is why more and more doctors are recommending its purifying benefits.
A 20-year study conducted with more than 2,300 participants at the University of Eastern Finland by Dr. Jari Laukkanen and his colleagues revealed regular sauna use (4-7 times per week) at 176 degrees F for 19 minutes lowered the risk for both Alzheimer's & Dementia.
The control group for the study seldom, if ever, used sauna (0-1 times per week).
Sauna use can help the body and mind adapt to stress and reduce the risk of depression and other mental disorders. In addition to the adaption to stress, the improved cardiorespiratory fitness contributes to the therapeutic effects of sauna for depression and anxiety.
Research has shown that a deeper, more relaxed sleep can result from sauna use. In addition to the release of endorphins (see above), body temperatures, which become elevated in the late evening, fall at bedtime. This slow, relaxing decline in endorphins is key in facilitating sleep. Numerous sauna bathers worldwide recall the deep sleep experiences that they feel after bathing the the calming heat of a sauna.
Heat bathing is one of the oldest beauty and/or health strategies in terms of cleansing one's skin. When the body begins to produce sweat via deep sweating, the skin is then cleansed and dead skin cells are replaced - keeping your skin in good working condition. Sweating rinses bacteria out of the epidermal layer and sweat ducts. Cleansing of the pores has been shown to improve the capillary circulation, while giving the skin a softer-looking quality.
While saunas are not a miraculous weight loss solution, they contribute to calorie burn through sweating. In a sauna session, a moderately conditioned person can sweat off 500 grams and burn around 300 calories. Increased heart activity and oxygen demand during sweating convert calories into energy. Saunas are a valuable tool in burning additional calories, but not a sole weight loss method.
While the social benefit is rarely talked about, it's actually quite important. The sauna can be a private, personal area of relaxation and solitude. However, it can just as easily be a relaxing environment for socializing with family, friends and soon-to-be friends. The sauna room environment is conducive to open, intimate and quiet conversation.
A sauna not only feels good, it's good for your body. Whether it's the physiological changes that occur during the warmth of a sauna, or if it's simply the time spent in the calming and still retreat of the sauna, every seasoned sauna bather agrees - it feels wonderful! As we progress through our stressful everyday lives, the sauna provides a pampering retreat - where we can relax and restore body and soul. Sauna bathing truly makes you “Feel Better”, “Look Better” and “Sleep Better”!
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