The sauna can conjure up a whole host of images for different people. For some, it’s a place where you can flush toxins, zone out and enjoy a peaceful cleanse. For others, it’s an old man’s saggy gonads swinging freely, dripping sweat just about everywhere they possibly can.
No matter what your preconceptions are of the sauna, I’m here today to tell you about the benefits you can reap if you choose the hotbox life. So long as you make sure you go in without any old overly body-confident gentlemen then you should be fine…
As we all know, saunas are quite hot. The heat given off by the hot rocks of the sauna raises your skin’s internal temperature – increasing the blood flow to top-layer cells exponentially for the duration of your session.
The increase in blood flow means more oxygen (amongst other nutrients) is transported to your cells and these nutrients allow for your skin to repair itself efficiently – even as your natural reparation processes get slower with age.
After reading another article – this time from Harvard University, it became crystal clear that saunas have an extremely beneficial effect on the blood flow system. The researchers at Harvard suggested that increased blood flow caused by sauna sessions decreased blood pressure and decreased the risk of heart attacks in men in particular – good news for the fellas.
Taking a trip to the sauna has also been shown to lower cholesterol. This has been suggested to be caused by the sauna’s stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, which can mimic the effects of exercise – causing a decrease in overall cholesterol levels and further decreasing your risk of heart disease.
Protects brain function
Studies have shown that regular use of the sauna can decrease your risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease as you age. This promising research was conducted on over 2,000 men over a 20-year period which further adds to the validity of their claims.
The key here is regular use if you want to decrease your risks of brain ailments. Those who went 4-6 times per week were over 60% less likely to develop diseases of the brain than those who went just once.
One interesting effect of sauna exposure is that it can boost the strength of your immune system. It’s been shown that as little as two saunas per week can reduce your risk of colds and flu by 65%! That’s a huge improvement in flu resistance and highlights just how effective saunas can be to overall health.
How exactly does a sauna help with immunity? Well, once your body is exposed to the heat, it triggers your body’s immune system to ward off bacterial infection. This causes your body to produce more white blood cells whilst sweating out a whole load of toxins that would have otherwise been kept within the body. This all creates a more harmonious and balanced immune system that protects your body as opposed to fighting against it.
Improves gym performance
Some small-scale studies have considered the effects of saunas on athletic performance, with one in particular finding that athletes who followed running workouts with sauna sessions of only a half hour were able to run further without hitting exhaustion after just three weeks.
This was attributed to the increased levels of blood plasma in the body caused by the heat of the sauna. This increase in haemoglobin allows for better oxygen transfer from the lungs to the rest of your body – meaning that cardiovascular performance can be increased massively.
Basically, using the sauna is like real life cheat codes. Forget your Grand Theft Auto jet pack cheats, climbing into the sauna is the way forward.
If that list isn’t enough to get you down to the sauna I don’t know what is. Don’t let them Scandis keep all the good stuff for themselves – get sweaty.