Sauna Sessions & Your Health
Regular sauna sessions for health and well-being, you may ask? What good could possibly accrue from simply sitting down and sweating a lot? Most of us think of saunas around detoxifying the body or losing weight.
Hey! Hold on, there’s lot’s, lot’s more.
Did you know that regular sauna sessions help slow ageing, boost our mitochondria, detoxify our body, improve our heart health and blood pressure, increase athletic performance, muscle growth and recovery, reduce pain, inflammation, illness and disease, boost our immune system, optimise brainpower, and mental states? Sounds incredible, right? All this from just sitting around in a sauna a few times a week… and sweating a lot!
The benefits of the sauna are derived from the hot conditions that exist. Our body undergoes changes when exposed to heat “stress”. This is known as hormesis, when our body is exposed to low doses of a stressor, in this case, heat.
So, let’s examine the benefits of sauna usage
Detoxifying and cleansing
Even the most health-conscious of us have a wide range of toxins in our bodies. The sauna offers one of the best possible ways that we can manage the detoxification. Sweating is the optimal method for excreting toxins. By sitting and sweating we are allowing our bodies to flush out a whole range of harmful toxins such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. If you have a sedate lifestyle then you do need to sit, sweat and detoxify. The heat can also boost the functioning of our autonomic nervous system, which actually increases our ability to sweat more. Thus the sauna creates an excellent cycle, helping our body to detoxify and balance itself.
Improving Heart Health and Blood Pressure
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death across the world. Multiple sauna sessions will help lower the risk of heart disease and death from such diseases. Just using the sauna every few weeks has been shown to be able to help hypertensive people experience a drop in blood pressure that matches that delivered by medication. This could well be because the heat from the sauna helps improve blood flow and the functioning of our nervous system and heart.
Fighting Pain and Inflammation
Sauna has proven an effective treatment for headaches to chronic pain. Sauna eliminates pain is the way in which it works on inflammation. Inflammation is a result of the body trying to heal itself. Did you know that inflammation is the cause of almost all major diseases, and vastly contributes to ageing and death?
Reduction of inflammation is the key to optimising our health. Sauna usage reduces evidence of oxidative stress, which often causes inflammation.
Slows ageing and increases longevity
The heat from the sauna causes our body to produce heat shock proteins, which increase longevity by promoting the repair and recycling of damaged cells and also prevents future damage by supporting the maintenance of antioxidants.
Powering of our cells
Mitochondria are what power our cells and are vital for our health and longevity. We need plenty of mitochondria to keep us fit and healthy as we get older. Heat stress has been shown to have a positive impact on mitochondrial health. It helps the body produce more mitochondria, make them bigger and stronger, recycle and repair existing mitochondria, and protect our mitochondria from oxidative stress. All of this means a greater capacity for our body to generate energy, and remain fit, healthy, and functioning at optimal levels, whilst also once again slowing the ageing process.
Combat Illness and Disease
Sauna usage is beneficial to help to fight Alzheimer’s and dementia, and respiratory disease, to cancer. It has also been proven to combat lung and respiratory disease. Sauna usage helps to decrease congestion and increase the operation and functioning of the lungs.
Sauna usage may have a positive impact on helping to fight cancer. It may be because of healthy cells being capable of adapting to heat stress, whereas cancer cells cannot! Studies have shown that the use of heat can improve the results of treating a variety of cancers.
Improving Athletic Performance
The amazing part is by just sitting in a sauna you can actually increase our athletic performance. A large part of this comes down to the impact of hyperthermic conditioning. Heat stress causes an increase and improvements in blood flow to the heart, and an increase in plasma and red blood cell volume. This helps our body transport oxygen faster and more efficiently. Heat stress also ramps up our body’s thermoregulatory system, helping you to better regulate our body temperature. This, in turn, leads to the potential for improved performance, and recovery and growth.
Muscle Growth and Recovery
Sauna usage can help increase the size of our muscles, reduce muscle breakdown or less, and help muscle recovery. That’s a pretty incredible set of benefits. Sauna usage has a huge impact on human growth hormone levels. This hormone stimulates an increase in insulin-like growth factor and increases insulin sensitivity. This leads to an increase in the improved uptake of amino acids, increased protein synthesis and a decrease in protein breakdown, all of which are the building blocks for putting on and maintaining muscle mass.
Pump Our Immune System
Sauna usage can help make you fitter and stronger too. Heat raises the body temperature, mimicking the effects of a fever. Thus helping strengthen our immune system!
Sauna usage can also help fight depression. Sauna helps the release of endorphins, which put you in a better mood. The sauna is an extremely powerful therapeutic tool.
Can you believe how all these benefits can accumulate from just from sitting and sweating! So, just go out there and try it. Sweating is good. It’ll flush all those toxins out… and don’t forget the myriad benefits that will accrue.
In the next article, we are going to talk about Improving Heart Health and Blood Pressure. Every year, tens of thousands of young and not so young people die of preventable cardiovascular diseases. Did we say preventable? Yes, preventable. Just await our next post and you’ll understand why? Until then, eat healthy, sleep well and check out the sauna.
Please ensure you consult with your Doctor before you step into a sauna in case of any ailments. And, it would be best to remember that a sauna is not a panacea for all one’s ailments.
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