The comprehensive health benefits of sauna bathing

Regularly taking a sauna is more than just a relaxation activity. It is a wellness practice that offers numerous health benefits backed by scientific research. In this article, we explore how sauna not only boosts your immune system, but also contributes to heart health, revitalizes the skin, and can even improve the quality of your sleep.
What happens to your body in the sauna?
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What happens to your body in the sauna?

If you want to understand why the sauna is so beneficial to your health, you should know what happens in the sauna at the cellular level. The heat in the sauna simulates an artificial fever that warms the body’s core by 1 to 2 °C. This increase in core temperature starts various physiological processes:

  • Improvement of blood circulation: the heat leads to vasodilation, causing blood vessels to dilate and blood pressure to decrease, while the heartbeat increases.
  • Stimulation of the immune system: the change from hot to low temperatures during cooling quickly constricts the blood vessels again, which increases blood pressure and leads to the release of adrenaline.

These reactions of the body, especially during the resting phase after the sauna session, help to strengthen the cardiovascular system, immune system and general well-being.

The top 8 health benefits of saunas

  1. Increase in general well-being: the heat induces the release of endorphins, the so-called hormones of happiness, which reduce stress and pain and lead to a feeling of satisfaction.
  2. Positive effects on the cardiovascular system: regular visits to the sauna can make blood vessels more elastic, similar to mild endurance training, thus helping to prevent heart disease.
  3. Strengthening the immune system: the body interprets the heat of the sauna as a fever, which triggers an immune response. This process “teaches” the immune system to respond more effectively, strengthening it.
  4. Promote muscle relaxation and recovery: after exercise, sauna sessions can help relieve muscle tension and speed up the breakdown of lactate, which shortens recovery time.
  5. Relief from respiratory problems: The moist air in the sauna can help moisturize mucous membranes and ease breathing for conditions such as asthma.
  6. Support for deeper sleep: sauna visits activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation and thus can improve sleep quality.
  7. Skin benefits: by opening pores and eliminating impurities, saunas can help treat skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema.
  8. Headache reduction: regular sauna use can help relax and reduce tension headaches.

How to integrate the sauna into your lifestyle

For best results, use the sauna year-round, not just during the colder months. Experts recommend saunas 1 to 3 times per week for 15 to 20 minutes to reap the many health benefits.

Conclusion: Your path to better health through saunas

Taking a sauna is a proven way to promote physical health and increase well-being. By incorporating this practice into your regular wellness schedule, you can take a holistic approach to improving your quality of life.

Sources:

German Heart Foundation (https://www.herzstiftung.de/)
Robert Koch Institute (https://www.rki.de/)
German Sport University Cologne (https://www.dshs-koeln.de/)
German Dermatological Society (https://www.derma.de/)
NetDoktor (https://www.netdoktor.de/)
Apotheken Umschau (https://www.apotheken-umschau.de/)

 

Melanie Sommer