Sore?… Nah. The Surprising Benefits of a Regular Sauna

HEALTH

Regular saunas can do a lot more for you besides recovery

The Finnish are clearly onto something. Regular sauna trips may benefit you in many ways including help you live longer, a Finnish study published in JAMA Internal Medicine has found. Saunas are to Finland what BBQs are to Australia. For a population of 5.3 million people, there are 3.3. million saunas in Finland, according to InterNations.org. And they have good reason to cherish their sweatboxes. 

According to the researchers, saunas are thought to improve blood vessel function, exercise capacity, even lower blood pressure for those suffering hypertension. This new study also suggests there’s an even greater benefit like a lesser likelihood of death from heart, attack, stroke and other heart-related conditions.  

Participants in the study were a randomly selected sample of 2315 men aged 42 to 60 years who resided in Kuopio, Finland, or its surrounding rural communities

They were asked how often they used saunas (at about 70 degrees C); their answers ranged from once weekly to every day. During almost 20 years of follow-up, more than 900 men died. Deaths from heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems were nearly twice as common in once-a-week users than those who frequented a sauna at least four times a week. Time spent sweating mattered, too. Fatal heart-related deaths were less common in men whose sessions lasted over 19 minutes, compared with those who spent less than 11 minutes in the sauna. 

Dr. Jari Laukkanen, a University of Eastern Finland researcher and the study’s lead author, mused that high temperature and humidity may cause beneficial changes in the cardiovascular system, but more rigorous research is needed to determine how saunas might prolong one’s lifespan.

In the meantime, get sweating. If you can’t ward off a heart attack, at least you’ll relieve sore muscles and flush toxins from your body.

 What Benefit is an Infared Sauna?

According to Healthline, “Unlike a traditional sauna, infrared saunas don’t heat the air around you. Instead, they use infrared lamps (that use electromagnetic radiation) to warm your body directly.”

“These saunas use infrared panels instead of conventional heat to easily penetrate human tissue, heating up your body before heating up the air,” explains physical therapist, Vivian Eisenstadt, MAPT, CPT, MASP.

An infrared sauna can operate at a lower temperature (usually between 50˚C and 60˚C) than a traditional sauna.

Infrared light has been shown to promote cell autophagy, a critical process our body undergoes to ensure cells are renewed and restored or killed off. Infrared all keeps our circulation up whilst resting the muscles after a workout to help clear out lactic acid bring vital nutrients and enzymes to the muscle for repair.

What are the benefits of using an infrared sauna?

The supposed benefits of using an infrared sauna are similar to those experienced with a traditional sauna. These include:

  • better sleep
  • relaxation
  • detoxification
  • weight loss
  • relief from sore muscles
  • relief from joint pain such as arthritis
  • clear and tighter skin
  • improved circulation
  • help for people with chronic fatigue syndrome

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