Health Benefits Of A Steam Room / Sauna
Are Saunas Good For Your Health?
The benefits of a steam room or sauna after a workout are not just about how relaxing they are, they also have positive health benefits. People have been using them for thousands of years, it’s thought they first originated in northern Europe although we don’t know for sure. Estonia and Finland both claim they were the birthplace of the practice. So for thousands of years people have sought to relax and rejuvenate themselves without knowing the science behind why it worked so well. We’re here to explain more about why a steam room or sauna is good for your health and their benefits.
But first, there’s an Asian elephant in the room. Thailand is a hot and steamy country, why would anyone want to visit such a place when they’re already in the tropicals? Well, they still have the same benefits here, we’ll go into more detail later about how great a sauna is for heart function. Just being in a hot country is not the same as the effects a sauna will have on your health.
Here’s a list of the subjects we’re going to be covering so if you’re looking for a specific thing you can just jump straight to that section.
Is A Steam Room Or Sauna Better For Your Health?
A steam room and a sauna are not the same thing. A steam room, as you might have guessed, is a wet heat. As the name suggests, it’s a room full of steam, and can have up to 100% humidity. A sauna is a dry heat with a humidity of 10% to 60% max.
A steam room will improve your skin, help with cold and congestion problems and ease stiff or sore muscles. Research has shown that a sauna improves your heart health, it’s also shown some improvement for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, headache, type two diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis; it’s even thought to affect your life expectancy.
So both are beneficial, it’s up to you to decide which you prefer and which you’re more in need of. Find one of either nearest to you and give them a try, but remember, make it short on your first try, don’t over do it, and be sure to check with your doctor if you’re seeing one before you go.
Are Saunas Good For You?
There are several different types of sauna, a dry sauna is hot and dry, a wet sauna has a higher humidity level, and an infrared sauna uses a different type of heat delivery. They all have similar health benefits.
What Does a Sauna Do for Your Body and What are the Health Benefits?
- Lowers hypertension.
- Improves overall cardiac health, regulating blood pressure and heart rate.
- Can improve the symptoms of dementia.
- Stabilises the autonomic nervous system.
- Stimulates hormonal changes, boosting production of endorphins.
- Helps reduce inflammation.
- Reduces oxidative stress, balancing free radicals and antioxidants.
- Reduces the circulation of ‘bad’ cholesterol.
What Does Sauna Do For Your Body?
1. Extreme Stress Reduction
Modern life can be stressful. A sauna will help your body relax out of its ‘fight or flight’ mode and ease it into a ‘rest and digest’ mode.
2. Balance Hormones
Reducing stress has a knock on effect of balancing your hormones which are your body’s way of regulating everything that goes on inside you. Having happy hormones makes for a happier, healthier you.
3. Fountain Of Youth
Sweating a lot can help your skin a great deal. It helps clean it out and gets rid of dead cells. In addition an infrared sauna can encourage collagen and elastin production which reduces stretchmarks and cellulite. Infrared has also been used for many years to ease skin complaints such as psoriasis and eczema.
4. Lose Weight Effortlessly
The effects of a sauna are similar to those of cardio exercise, increased heart rate, lowering blood pressure and boosting the metabolic rate. So a sauna is a great way to boost a weight loss plan.
5. Improve Circulation And Oxygenation
When your body heats up, your blood flows more freely, this brings more food and oxygen to your cells which helps them to heal quicker. Infrared has been shown to increase energy and stamina levels.
How Long Should You Sit In A Sauna?
Like most good things in life, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Although saunas are great for you, you shouldn’t overdo it, especially if you’re new to it. The optimum amount of time for someone who’s not used to a sauna is five to ten minutes, plus if you’re going in after a workout you should rest up for ten minutes or so before heading to the sauna. Professional advice is to stay no longer than 15 minutes although some people do stay a little longer.