5 Interesting Facts about Sauna Use
A sauna is a small room which utilizes dry heat to clean and refresh the body. There are many health benefits to sauna use, from increasing circulation and promoting lymph flow to reducing stress.
I recommend using the sauna for a length of time between 10 and 30 minutes per treatment session, at a temperature between 176- and 212-degrees Fahrenheit (traditional sauna), with breaks during the session as needed. Sweating occurs at lower temperatures in an infrared sauna and hence 125-150-degrees Fahrenheit is sufficient.
Keep in mind that, when we sweat, our bodies lose some electrolytes (such as sodium chloride), so if sauna use causes us to feel dizzy, simply adding a little bit of salt or an electrolyte drink to some water and drinking it will help return us to a more balanced state.
- Sauna use improves the health of our brains.
A 20-year study of more than 2,300 participants was conducted by Dr. Jari Laukkanen and his colleagues at the University of Eastern Finland. This study found that regular sauna use (4 to 7 times per week) at 176 degrees Fahrenheit for 19 minutes lowered the patients’ risk for both Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Accordingly, in the Alzheimer’s Association’s brain health article entitled “10 Ways to Love Your Brain,” breaking a sweat is listed as the number one way to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
- Saunas help with pain management.
Enveloped in a sauna’s high heat, our bodies will release endorphins. These endorphins produce a mild, enjoyable “tranquilizing effect,” and enable us to minimize the pain caused by joint and muscle soreness. Whether you’re an athlete in training or someone who suffers from arthritis, it’s worth checking in with your naturopathic physician to find out if you can take advantage of the sauna’s soothing relief.
- Saunas improve sleep.
Research shows that a deeper, more relaxed sleep occurs in patients who utilize the sauna before turning in for the evening. Both endorphins and body temperatures tend to become elevated in the late evening and then begin to decline around bedtime. This slow, relaxing decline is key in facilitating sleep.
- Saunas can help fight off illness.
Medically-related sauna research in Germany shows that sauna use significantly reduced the incidence of colds and influenza among participants. As our bodies are exposed to the heat of a sauna and steam (in the case of traditional saunas), they produce white blood cells more rapidly, thus helping our bodies to kill viruses and fend off illness.
- Saunas help us to rid our bodies of unwanted waste.
Sweat, which is composed of 99% water, is primarily designed to cool the body. However, deep sweating in a sauna can help reduce our bodies’ levels of lead, nickel, mercury, and chemicals—all of which are toxins commonly absorbed from daily interaction with our environments. There is no shortage of books written by doctors and practitioners which describe the benefits of regular body detoxification.
At Prairie Naturopathic Doctors, our sensitivity-friendly infrared sauna utilizes certified low EMF heaters and contains no glues, laminate, plywood, varnish, pine, or adhesives. Our sauna is made of high-grade untreated white poplar.
If you are interested in learning more about how to incorporate regular sauna use into your health regimen, please contact our office or schedule an appointment with your physician.