Sauna culture is mostly attributed to the Nordic region, but it was used by the Ancient Greeks and Romans, as well. In the Americas, Native Americans used sweat lodges for purification ceremonies, or simply to sweat. They knew instinctively, sweating is incredibly beneficial — they could feel it.
Sauna popularity is spiking in modern times, along with other sweating activities and exercises such as hot yoga. Nowadays though, studies have proven what our ancestors already suspected — saunas and sweating are extremely beneficial at boosting health.
Saunas are small rooms built for having wet or dry heat sessions. In this list, we’ll go over some surprising benefits of the sauna, and why it’s worth dealing with the heat.
- Saunas are a super detox.
Sweat is one of the ways the human body gets rid of toxins and impurities. But extreme sweating, like the kind the body will do in the sauna, is an excellent method to remove toxins that have entered in any number of ways.
- Saunas boost weight loss.
The beauty of sauna bathing is that it doesn’t require any necessary action to lose weight in them. Due to the dry heat, simply being in the sauna drastically amps up the heart rate. It is estimated that a 20-minute session of 170 Fahrenheit burns over 500 calories. This process essentially tricks the body into thinking it has exercised, which speeds up metabolism. Sauna bathing is the closest one can actually come to “melting fat away.”
- A sauna a day, keeps the doctor away.
The sauna is proven to improve the immune system. Sessions trigger the production of white blood cells — the body’s sword and shield for attacking and defending against infections. In fact, regular sauna-goers have a higher white blood cell count, they stay healthier and if illnesses occur they recover quicker.
- Saunas increase endurance.
The human body has a heat threshold. However, consistent sauna uses raises that limit significantly. This translates directly into better performance in endurance sports as sauna-goers experience less fatigue and can sustain high energy levels for longer.
- Saunas make hair look better.
The sebaceous gland on the scalp releases compounds that moisturize and even condition hair. Going to the sauna activates this gland, thus triggering the release of these compounds. Sauna baths are a great activity to add to your hair care regimen for this exact reason.
- Saunas decrease workout recovery time.
It’s no coincidence many gyms have saunas. Saunas are remarkably effective for recovering from workouts. Sauna-induced sweating encourages the body to rid itself of metabolic wastes. As heart rate increases, so does blood flow to strained and tired muscles. All the heat adds up to a faster recovery and a deeper sense of relaxation for the body.
- Saunas make you appear younger.
The skin is the largest organ of the body. It also plays an obvious and significant role in perceived age. The healthier skin is, the younger one will look relative to their age. As we age, dead skin cells accumulate onto our skin pores. On top of that, skin becomes thinner and less elastic. Sauna sessions counteract these natural drawbacks of age by improving blood flow, which removes the dead skin cell accumulation and encourages the growth of newer, healthier skin. The sauna also mobilizes oils — our natural antibiotics and moisturizers. Saunas are an ideal way to regain that coveted youthful glow.