In some areas of the world, saunas are a common household feature, often as common as showers. This isn’t only because they offer a great way to relax—like a hot bath but without the wrinkled fingertips—but because they impart numerous health benefits. Saunas as we know them today originated in Finland where they remain as popular now as ever.
In the U.S., saunas haven’t quite taken hold as they have in other parts of the world. You may have one at your gym, but it likely remains empty throughout the day. But with more people realizing the importance of sweating and how it helps to detox the body and even fights off infection, saunas will likely grab hold as the years pass.
Here are 4 reasons that you should make use of the sauna and reap the benefits that our worldly counterparts have been experiencing for centuries.
- 1. Detoxification - Sitting in the sauna is a great way to detox the body. Perspiration helps move toxins including heavy metals out from the skin. That sweat dripping off every inch of your body in a sauna could contain pesticides, nickel, sodium, copper, lead and mercury, just to name a few substances.
- 2. Reduces Muscle Pain - A hot sauna loosens muscles that may be tight from use (in the gym, for instance) or from injury. Some studies have even suggested that sitting in the sauna after a workout can increase the rate of recovery, or reduce the “downtime” between workout sessions.
- 3. Cardiovascular fitness - While in a sauna, your heart rate actually increases due to the increased temperature. It falls back within the normal range during the cooling off process. These changes are good for boosting cardiovascular health.
- 4. Stress relief - When you are in a sauna, you are physically and mentally relaxed. The heat causes endorphins to be released, which boost your mood. In addition, they are a great place to meditate—away from the stress of home, work, and even your cell phone.
Spending time in a sauna, whenever possible, is a great treat for your body and mind. Whether there is one in your gym or at your hotel on vacation, the sauna should definitely be something you make time for.