The Health Benefits of Sauna, Part III: Active Body Maintenance on the Benches

Now that we have gotten in to the subject during the first two articles of the the Health Benefits of Sauna series (part I here, part II here) let’s dig in deeper to the benefits sauna has on you when you combine it with an exercise before or during the bathing. Sauna also has multiple advantages in taking care of your respiratory organs and skin!

Taking a sauna is a worthwhile investment on wellbeing in the short as well as the long term. Often it’s not only effortless, but also stripped down and self-contained of an activity.

However, sauna bathing can be even more rewarding when aligned with the particularities of one’s own preferences and personal lifestyle. This can be achieved for instance by setting the sauna as the endpoint of an exercise or as a platform to explore new forms of fitness, or by integrating different kinds of treatments into the experience.

Boost Your Excercise

Letting the glow of the sauna stove loosen the whole body is an appropriate way to crown a workout session. Strained or otherwise sore musculature rests on the benches by itself, and in addition, the gentle heat makes for an easy and pleasing place to do stretching. Sauna ensures good recovery that is essential for boosts in performance to take effect, but the surprising benefits it gives especially for athletes to train their physique don’t stop there.

Biomedical expert Rhonda Patrick talks about so-called hypertermic conditioning, which refers to a phenomenon where adjusting to high temperatures increases plasma volume and intensifies blood flow. Simply enjoying the heat can thus enhance endurance, and by activating growth hormone even add muscle mass.1

The hot room itself can be turned into an environment of movement. Sauna yoga and sauna pilates are disciplines developed in Finland, bringing the techniques of yoga and pilates into a temperature that is milder than an average sauna yet still softening enough to make one’s build more flexible up to to every joint. This way, even the stiffest bothers of the body and the most stubborn troubles of the mind can be appeased admist the peace by the pail.

Enhance recovery

The Finnish sauna experience often involves alternating between hot and cold. Some say that ice swimming is actually another good way to enhance recovery after exercise. Having contact with cold water by throwing yourself into an icy lake or shower is always refreshing, but particularly so when combined with sauna. The nervous system reacts to the cold by producing more norepinephrine, which may alleviate pain. Repetious cold therapy could also strengthen the immune system.2

Sauna is also suitable for other wellbeing methods. Salt therapy reputedly nurses respiratory organs and the skin. Organic, clean and purgative peat has been observed to treat the skin as well as the inside through absorption. According to peat geologist Riitta Korhonen, there is evidence that the humic acid found in peat has, at the very least, an invigorating effect on circulation and the rest of the body, plus the ability to contribute to excretion by gathering metabolic waste.3 A Finnish study conducted by Korhonen and gynaecology specialist Leena Larva implies that peat treatments in a sauna can ease the side effects of menopause.4 Larva also considers peat sauna an efficient means to clear the psyche suffering from stress.5

Having a sauna is a very skin-friendly thing to do even without the inclusion of additional activities. Every sauna visit energizes surface blood flow and humidifies the skin momentarily. Moreover, based on a study presented in the academic journal Dermatology, regular sauna sessions protect the skin by balancing its pH and improving its water-holding capacity.6 Moreover, some have seen relief in their skin diseases after spending time in the steamy space. These reasons explain the existence of the persistent claim that sauna bathing downright makes you more beautiful.

Sources

  1. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/05/24/sauna-benefits.aspx
  2. https://saunafromfinland.com/sauna-articles/cold-therapy-many-health-benefits/
  3. https://www.aarrelehti.fi/jutut/artikkeli-1.219587 (in Finnish)
  4. http://www.suo.fi/pdf/article9879.pdf
  5. https://saunafromfinland.com/sauna-articles/virtual-stress-makes-people-ill-a-peat-sauna-could-be-the-solution/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18525205
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