Many enthusiasts claim that sauna health benefits include relief from arthritis, headaches, colds, hangovers and other ailments.
Many claims are true, but there are also many exaggerated claims. Still, there appears to be a good amount of research that proves there are real health benefits you can enjoy from sweating in a sauna.
Sweating & Health
We live in a very sedentary age and many people just don’t sweat enough. That only highlights the importance of taking saunas and steam baths.
Sweating is as important to your health as eating and breathing. Yes, it’s that important.
Without sweating, your skin pores become clogged up by stuff like artificial environments, antiperspirants, smog, etc.
Many health and wellness professionals agree that heavy sweating in a sauna will help rid your body of harmful waste material.
I’ve even read that some physicians recommend home saunas to supplement kidney machines because sweating is such an effective detoxifier.
Depending on the individual, about a liter of sweat can be excreted during a 15-minute sauna.
Heat Effects On Various Systems & Organs
Kidneys. During sweating, blood is sent away from your kidneys and toward your body’s surface. This can help unburden your kidneys and help purge toxins through sweating.
Liver. Congestion of blood in your liver is reduced while you take a sauna. This may improve your liver’s ability to detox.
Cardiovascular System. During a sauna, both your pulse and stroke volume increase. Surface vessels dilate as blood is shunted from your internal organs to the surface.
Repeated sauna use may help decrease elevated blood pressure by enhancing elasticity of your arteries, removing toxins from your kidneys and helping to reduce excessive sympathetic nervous system activity.
Immune System. Heating your body several degrees may increase white blood cell activity and destroy heat sensitive microorganisms.
Nervous System. Using a sauna inhibits your sympathetic nervous system while strengthening your parasympathetic nervous system. This means a sauna has a strong calming effect on your nervous system.
Detoxification – An important sauna health benefit
You’ve probably read that saunas are good for detoxification.
First of all, heating your body several degrees dramatically increases circulation.
According to Dr. Lawrence Wilson, this helps remove toxins from some hard to reach places like bones, sinuses, and teeth.
Many forms of bacteria are heat sensitive, so a sauna’s heat can weaken or kill some of them.
Also, cells damaged by toxic metals and chemicals are weaker than healthier cells. Exposure to some intense heat may be a death sentence for those weaker cells.
Sweating is a great method for removing toxins.
Many substances eliminated through your kidneys may be eliminated through your skin instead. In this way, sweating helps relieve your kidneys.
In case you’re wondering, sweating from exercise is not the same as sweating in a sauna (or steam room).
First of all, saunas conserve your body’s energy by providing an external source of heat. This leaves energy for detoxification.
Second, sweating with exercise activates your sympathetic nervous system. This reduces the activity of your eliminative organs (liver, kidneys, colon).
Parasympathetic Nervous System Enhancement
Stress from any source increases sympathetic nervous system activity.
For the best detoxification results, your body should be as parasympathetic (or relaxed) as possible. Why?
Parasympathetic activity stimulates your liver, kidneys, and other organs to help eliminate toxins.
Deep Tissue Penetration
Infrared saunas in particular heat tissues from the inside. Some researchers believe this inside-out heating helps facilitate detoxification at deeper tissue levels.
I hope this article helped shed more light about the subject of sauna health benefits.
If you have any health conditions, please talk with your doctor before using saunas on a regular basis.