I originally come from a country of Ukraine where people for ages tried to prevent any illnesses naturally by constantly going to the sauna, or as we call it in Ukrainian “banya,” considering that the hospitals were not always easy to get to. Ukrainian people view their visits to a banya as both preventive and healing. For them it was and still is a key to continued good health, especially with regards to circulatory and respiratory illnesses. Many people around the world would agree now that the sauna is particularly important for preventive maintenance of good health and balance in the body.
Let’s look at some benefits of why going to sauna might be beneficial to you:
· Muscle recovery
· Opens up pores, stimulating toxin elimination with up to thirty percent of waste and toxins excreted through perspiration.
· Improves blood circulation and heart and vascular systems, increasing the number of red blood cells and hemoglobin quantity.
· Intensifies capillary activities
· Boosts metabolism
· Increases overall cell oxygenation level.
· Alleviates tiredness, stress and mood swings, promoting a state of relaxation.
· Increases mental clarity and emotional stability and provides an overall sense of well-being.
According to Rhonda Perciavalle Patrick, Ph.D., increasing your core temperature for short periods, as is done by using a sauna, may offer dramatic improvements to your athletic performance. She calls this concept “hyperthermic conditioning,” which emerging research suggests has multiple positive effects on your body, from increased endurance to the growth of new brain cells.
Using a sauna is effectively immersive heat therapy. As such it is a powerful method to relax muscle contraction and inflammation following exercise. Workouts such as weight training and sports involving periods of sprinting, cause a particular level of muscular tightening. The whole-body heat therapy provided by using a sauna is an efficient way to relax muscles and loosen muscular contraction, which lessens muscle aches after strenuous exercise. The release of compounded tension and muscle tightening can in turn can help to avoid injury. By increasing blood flow, saunas enhance the availability of fresh blood cells throughout the body, providing the availability of oxygen to the muscles. Oxygen availability is a vital component in muscle function and particularly important in aiding muscular recovery.
Despite the extensive health-giving benefits of exercise, the application of stressors to the body during a workout does cause the reactive release of oxidants. Free radicals are released by cellular mechanisms responding to impact and cardio-muscular stress - specifically reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS). As a general rule, the more strenuous the exercise - and therefore the more muscle exertion required - the higher the level of free-radicals. Although the benefits of regular exercise and fitness far outweigh this reactive free-radical production, the detoxification effect of sauna use makes it another beneficial incentive for sporty individuals. As saunas enhance circulation to the surface of the skin, this encourages the body's natural detoxification process and oxidative by-products and toxins are released through the sweat. Aiding the body's natural detoxification process further helps to counteract the oxidant by-products of strenuous exercise, enhancing the benefits and aiding overall recovery.
The reduction in stress levels when using a sauna may be linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular events. One study, conducted in Finland, followed 2,315 men ages 42 to 60 over the course of 20 years. Findings suggested that people who use a sauna may have a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
Health risks and precautions
Moderate use of a sauna appears to be safe for most people. However, if you have any heart condition/disease, speak to a doctor first before using the sauna.