Most people hate being in a place that is very hot and humid. But if you confine such humidity and warmth within a small room, you will notice vast improvements in your health and wellbeing.
Such is the concept behind saunas. From the near-Arctic conditions of Scandinavia to the cold climates of Japan, people go to saunas to enjoy their many health benefits.
And while Australia is already a hot and humid place, there are still those that provide a sauna experience that’s worthy of the world’s best.
Here are 7 of the many ways in which a sauna experience can make you healthier.
1. Improves Blood Circulation
Increased temperature always leads to a relaxation of muscle tissues. And since the middle layer of blood vessels contain smooth muscles, they also relax when the environment is warmer than usual.
What this means is that the blood vessels have a much larger diameter than usual. An increase in the diameter of blood vessels allows for a more efficient delivery of blood throughout the body.
There is another effect of an increase in blood vessel diameter: it also reduces blood pressure. This is good news for those who already have high blood pressure or who are at risk of hypertension.
2. Enhances Breathing
Have you seen patients in the hospital receiving oxygen therapy? Have you ever wondered why the oxygen had to pass through a chamber with bubbling water? The reason for this is humidification. You see, oxygen is a gaseous molecule. Like all gasses, they have a lower density so they tend to float.
One way to increase their “weight” is by adding water vapours. When this gets delivered to the airway passages and the lungs, the oxygen molecule is able to diffuse a lot easier through the blood vessels. Hence, when you go to a sauna, you are enhancing your breathing. You are delivering more oxygen to the lungs.
3. Improves Lymphatic Drainage
The lymphatic system is a lesser-known organ system in the body. However, it serves one very important function. This system facilitates the drainage or removal of metabolites and toxic substances from the blood and the different tissues.
It drains these substances in the heart for delivery to the liver where they undergo detoxification. From here, the detoxified substances go to the kidneys and the gut for elimination.
4. Enhances the Immune System
Another benefit of going to a sauna is the improvement in immune function. Increasing lymphatic drainage can get rid of toxic materials. This allows immune system cells to work in a more efficient manner.
An increase in body temperature stimulates the brain to enhance the formation of white blood cells. As such, spending some time in the sauna can help improve the way you fight infections such as flu or cold.
5. Relieves Pain and Muscle Aches
Patients or individuals with arthritis and muscle soreness can benefit from the relaxing effects of heat therapy. Increasing the blood vessel diameter allows for the delivery of more blood. Along with oxygen are substances that can help reduce inflammation.
These anti-inflammatory substances can help alleviate pain and swelling. This is beneficial for individuals with joint problems as well as folks who train in the gym. Heat therapy can help hasten the speed of muscle recovery.
6. Relieves Stress and Anxiety
Going to the sauna can also help alleviate anxiety and reduce stress. While the exact mechanism is not well-understood, the general observation is that heat therapy can stimulate the release of natural endorphin substances from the brain.
These substances can give you a more euphoric feeling, improving your mood, and lessen your anxiety. It is no wonder that people who integrate regular sauna visits in their routine feel happier and more content. They also report less stress.
7. Improves Skin Health
Improving the flow of blood can also benefit the skin. Enhancing blood circulation delivers nutrients and oxygen to the skin, giving it a more radiant and youthful glow.
Enhancing lymphatic drainage also removes toxins from the skin. This can help reduce the formation of blemishes and other skin imperfections.
We may only have 7 health benefits of a sauna experience listed here, but there are many more. Suffice it to say, it is one of those activities that can do more than relax you.