Mind-blowing Health Benefits of Sauna Bathing
Things are getting steamy in the field of sauna research and a new study is here to convince you why spending some time in the sauna can actually be good for your health.
The Traditional Finnish Sauna
Saunas have been used since ancient Roman times and are still an important part of traditional Japanese culture and modern health centers. Beauty gurus swear by this traditional hot-cold bathing practice for cleansing the pores and looking after your body’s biggest organ, skin. Now researchers are saying that steaming up in the sauna can actually have several internal health benefits as well such as the reduction and prevention of several chronic conditions.
Sauna, which means bathing in Finnish, is a practice that first originated in Nordic countries and involves exposure to hot and cold temperatures alternatively for short periods of time. The temperatures in the saunas can range between 80°C to 100°C which is the ideal environment for effective heat therapy. Each 15 to 20 minutes in the sauna should be interspersed with short bursts of cold showers to relax your body and open skin pores for better cleaning.
There do exist alternate forms of heat therapy including infrared saunas, Turkish baths and Waon therapy, but researchers have always been attracted by the traditional Nordic saunas more than the other therapies.
Saunas and Cardiovascular Health
A group of Finnish scientists set out on a research in 2015 to discover the effects sauna has on the health of 2,300 men whose heath was tracked for more than 20 years. Surprisingly, those participants who indulged in frequent sauna bathing were far less likely to die from cardiovascular diseases in comparison to those who didn’t use the sauna at all. A follow-up with the same participants a year later showed that the regular sauna-goers were also less exposed to the risk of developing dementia in old age.
Now more researchers are uncovering the hidden health benefits of taking sauna. A recent study observed the difference in health of 1621 male participants for more than 2 decades and those who took sauna at least four times a week lowered their risk of high blood pressure by half. Scientists are perplexed by the effect sauna has on cardiovascular health but one of the theories researchers have is that the heat therapy reduces blood pressure risk by expanding the blood vessels to allow unconstructed blood flow. This subsequently improves cardiovascular health and reduces risk of various diseases.
Improved Lung Functioning
Moreover, scientists have discovered that sauna bathing affects your body the same way as exercise does, by reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and making your heart stronger. People who combined sauna with exercise benefitted from increased life expectancy and substantial reduction in diseases compared to others who practiced exercise or sauna bathing alone. Other benefits of sauna include pain management and reduction of symptoms for various injury disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Participants of the study also reported that they suffered from fewer headaches related to stress and tension, as well as improvement in lung functioning which improved breathing and lowered the risk of catching cold too often. Asthma and other lung disease patients also noticed an improvement in their breathing after taking regular sauna sessions
Benefits During the Winter
There isn’t a clear explanation for the phenomenon behind improved respiratory health but some scientists claim that the hot steam from the sauna helps clear any congestion in the airway or lungs. Other theories suggest that saunas are also extremely beneficial for reducing stress and inflammation which are known causes of several diseases and infections.
After finding out all the awesome benefits of sauna bathing, we’re convinced that this heat therapy isn’t just great for helping you relax, but also for protecting you against several diseases and cleansing your internal system so that your organs can perform better. Saunas are especially great in winters since we’re more susceptible to catching a cold or increased blood pressure due to the weather. If you can take the heat, sauna bathing is highly recommended.
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