Sauna, or sauna bathing, consists of a high-temperature steam bath, which can be dry or humid - depending on its technology and setting. Created in Finland, this practice has become popular around the world, attracting people who wish to reap the benefits ranging from promoting relaxation to skin cleansing. Today, we will show you everything to know about the advantages of saunas on the health of your body, skin, and hair. Check it out!
THE BENEFITS OF SAUNA BATHING
REDUCES THE RISK OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES
According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, people who go to a sauna weekly present less risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
DECREASES THE RISK OF RESPIRATORY DISEASES
Another study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology in 2017 found that saunas can help reduce the risk of respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
One of the main – and most well-known – reasons people go for saunas is to relax. The idea is backed up by a 2014 study published in the Journal of Human Kinetics, which showed that sauna helps reduce stress and improve psychological well-being. Moreover, a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research in 2018 discovered sauna can assist in improving symptoms of depression in patients with major depressive disorder.
IMPROVES MUSCLE RECOVERY
Sauna is also super recommended to athletes once it aids muscle recovery after exercising. This was key information in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport in 2017.
STIMULATES THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
A study published in the Journal of Human Kinetics in 2018 discovered that saunas can assist in stimulating our immune systems, helping increase the production of white blood cells.
THE BENEFITS OF SAUNA FOR SKIN
Sauna is also sought after by people who want to detox their bodies. And it’s excellent for caring for the skin. Check out these benefits below.
SWEAT OUT TOXIC PARTICLES
The process of sweating helps eliminate heavy metals and toxic chemical products from the skin. Even if at a very low level, it alleviates the pressure on other excretory organs such as the kidneys and liver.
CLEANSE YOUR PORES
Sauna’s steam bath opens and unclogs the pores, eliminating toxins and impurities for clear skin.
Since it promotes skin cleansing and detoxification, the sauna is also a great ally in reducing inflammation. This makes it a compelling option for people with certain inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis and acne.
BOOSTS BLOOD CIRCULATION
As we’ve touched upon before, saunas are capable of improving blood circulation. For the skin, it means that the flow of nutrients and oxygen increases, leaving its surface healthy and luscious.
The high temperature of saunas stimulates collagen and elastin production, contributing to the reduction and prevention of fine lines.
RELIEF FOR PARCHED SKIN
The heat of saunas helps stimulate the activity of the sebaceous glands, which produce natural oils that help maintain the skin’s natural moisture.
THE BENEFITS OF SAUNA FOR HAIR
Sauna’s steam opens hair cuticles and eases the absorption of nutrients. Take advantage of the moment following these steps: before going to the sauna, shower at home, wash your hair with shampoo, apply your favorite hair mask, and then head to the sauna. With the steam, the mask will adhere more to the strands, maximizing its moisturizing effect. Once you step out of the sauna, wait about 15 minutes – so your body cools down – and then rinse off the mask in the shower with cold water.
In addition to facilitating hydration, a 2017 study by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare showed a correlation between the frequency of visits to the sauna and a lower risk of male pattern baldness.
HOW SHOULD I TAKE A SAUNA?
It’s important you take a few precautions when using a sauna, considering that excess heat and steam can also harm your skin. Check out tips from Harvard Medical School below.
- Avoid consuming alcohol or medication that increases transpiration before or after the sauna;
- Do not stay in a sauna longer than 15-20 minutes;
- Relax after your sauna and wait until your body temperature naturally comes back down;
- After a sauna session, drink two or three glasses of cold water to rehydrate.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I GO TO THE SAUNA?
Ideally, one should go for sauna sessions at maximum twice a week, staying there for about 15-20 minutes. The excess steam can contribute to early aging and skin dehydration.
WHO CAN DO IT?
People with atopic dermatitis (eczema), rosacea, and dandruff should avoid steam baths since they can aggravate these conditions and worsen skin redness. Given that, it’s always crucial you talk to a dermatologist about possible restrictions and whether they apply to you.