- Decreased risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) and fatal coronary heart disease (CHD).
A comprehensive study done a JAMA International Medicine correlated a lower risk of death by heart related issues for those with high frequency sauna use, about 4-5 times per week. This can be attributed to the positive benefits of high temperatures on the body, specifically contributing to lower blood pressure by way of dilated blood vessels and increased blood flow.
- Increased blood flow to skin, promoting younger healthier looking skin
Due to the nature of our bodies, profusely sweating clears pores. This helps rid the skin of impurities, which leads to healthier, clearer skin. The high temperatures characteristic of a sauna causes our internal body temperature to rise, in turn increasing blood flow to the skin. This increase in circulation delivers oxygen and nutrients to the skin aiding in the production of collagen. Increases in collagen, the protein responsible for the elasticity of our skin, helps clear the skin of dead cells and promotes the growth of new cells, leaving skin looking bright, nourished, and moisturized.
- Lower Blood Pressure
Under the high temperatures of a sauna, our bodies release a molecule called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a special signaling molecule and when present in the body, can result in the dilation of arteries, which leads to increased blood flow. It is commonly understood that heightened levels of stress contribute to high blood pressure levels, making the stress free environment of a sauna the perfect place to achieve a balanced and relaxed mental state.
- Warm up and sooth muscles before a workout.
The high heat of a sauna essentially functions as a passive cardiovascular workout: elevating heart rate and increasing blood flow to muscles and skin. Warming up in the sauna before your workout can ease muscle soreness and joint pain getting you ready for your exercise routine.
- Increased Metabolic Rate
The high temperatures experienced while using a sauna increase heart rate and blood flow similar to levels reached during exercise. This extreme increase in body heat elevates metabolic rates, in turn leading to more calories burned for energy.
- Detoxification of the body.
When in a sauna at very high temperatures (180-200 degrees) deep sweating occurs in the body. Sweating, a function of cooling the body, also benefits the body by releasing toxins—some of these toxins being lead, zinc, mercury and other harmful chemicals easily absorbed by our bodies through day to day life. Sweat has the ability to both house and expel more toxins from the body than blood or urine, making sweating the most efficient way to detoxify the body.
- Increased Resilience to Stress
The ambiance and social climate of sitting in a sauna can by typically associated to relaxation and wellness, however there are other significant ways sauna use positively impacts stress reduction. By entering a very hot environment, your body is prompted to produce stress proteins, among these including Heat Shock Proteins. These HSP’s are responsible for stress resistance and preventing free radical damage.
- Promotes immunity to illnesses like the common cold and Flu.
When exposed to the heat of a sauna, the body more rapidly produces white blood cells. These blood cells, the most important component of the immune system, are directly responsible for protecting the body from foreign invaders. These cells help fight off disease and infection, and keep our bodies free from sickness.
- Increased focus and attention, promotes the growth of new brain cells.
Exposure to high heat, or “heat stress”, has been studied and show to greatly increase prolactin and norepinephrine secretion in the brain. Prolactin is a hormone responsible for promoting myelin growth—the insulation around nerve fibers—leading to faster brain function. Norepinephrine, a stress-response hormone, increases focus and attention. Most remarkable however, is the release of a protein called Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF), promoting the growth of new neurons through the activation of brain stem cells. BDNF has been studied to show protection and reversal of brain degradation.
- Sauna can help with recovery and healing.
Sauna use increases Human Growth hormone. During sauna use, growth hormones stimulate the production of IGF-1. IGF-1 works with human growth hormone to help reproduce and regenerate cells in the body. Inflammation, which is attributed as the root cause of many diseases, remains low when IGF-1 is present. This promotes the overall health and healing of the body.