There are countless ways to detoxify your body and improve your health through diet, exercise and healthy eating. Did you know that regular sauna sessions are just as healthy as any of these other methods? We were surprised to learn all the amazing benefits that regular sauna visits supply your body with and we’re happy to share our findings with you!
Origin of the Sauna
The sauna concept originated in Finland. In fact, in Scandinavian culture regular sauna sessions are a part of everyday life; it is used for bathing, treating symptoms associated with illness and even as a setting for giving birth! Many Finnish people even consider the sauna a type of sacred place and treat it as if they were in church. When compared to the typical American, there was no contest as to who was healthier!
Benefits of Sauna
Sitting in the steamy, heated environment of a sauna is relaxing, for sure – you just feel good when you’re in one. There are other things happening in the sauna though that you may not be aware of. The sweat produced by the heat helps to balance the body’s immunity to many health problems. The steamy heat is also an excellent treatment for hypertension, physical aches and discomfort and fatigue, and it can even help to fight off certain cravings if you are dieting. In Japan, a study was done using sauna and water exercise sessions for fibromyalgia sufferers. In just three weeks, every participant in the study reported a decrease in fibromyalgia discomfort and symptoms.
Benefits of Detoxing Sauna Treatments for Athletes
A study in New Zealand was done using long distance runners as the focus of the study. Regular sauna baths were found to increase the runners’ ability to run 32% further before reaching exhaustion. To a runner, the ability to run longer before fatigue sets in (also known as “hitting the wall”) is invaluable! Increased endurance isn’t the only thing the study revealed – red blood cell volumes increased by 3.5%, meaning more oxygen was being delivered to the muscles during exercise. Additionally, levels of blood plasma also increased by 7.1%, which significantly reduced recovery times for athletes after a strenuous workout. This is important, especially for athletes training for competitive events, because it means less time is spent in recovery mode and more time is spent in training mode, all without the use of any illegal or banned performance-enhancing drugs. Sauna baths are 100% natural and a great way to boost your athletic and fitness performance!
Sauna Therapy for Detoxing Your Body
Toxins naturally build up in the body and can be stubborn to remove. With regular sauna detoxification sessions, however, toxins such as uric acid, sodium and lactic acid are all removed by the sweating process that the sauna induces. Even the toxins stored in subcutaneous fat are removed by the sweating process. Additionally, toxins found in deeper levels of tissue in the body will travel up into the subcutaneous fat layer, which makes it much easier to detox your body of these harmful toxins by sweating. Saunas also improve circulation, which increases blood flow, thereby increasing the oxygen levels in your blood cells. Better blood oxygenation improves your skin and athletic performance, and decreases recovery times when you are injured or sick.
Sauna Baths and Treatment of Illness
Nothing drains the life out of us like getting a cold. The National Institute of Health conducted a six-month study with 50 participants over the course of six months. Twenty-five participants were asked to go about their lives as per usual; the other twenty-five participants engaged in regular sauna baths for the six-month period to see which (if either) group was more or less inclined to suffer a cold. The group that participated in the regular sauna sessions was found to have significantly fewer instances of the common cold than did the group without the saunas. Another reason to add a sauna bath to your regular exercise program!
Sauna and Supplements
When using sauna baths to improve your health, particularly to lose weight, there are medically documented benefits to adding niacin as a daily supplement to regular sauna treatments. The research in this study was first conducted on New York 9/11 first responders, most of whom were experiencing an increase in illnesses and health problems after being exposed to so many toxins in the aftermath of 9/11. Most of the study’s participants were unhealthy, and most were overweight. Dr. George Yu supervised the study. The regular sauna baths were used in combination with a reduced-calorie, clean diet with additional niacin supplement. It seems the niacin helped to mobilize the toxins stored in the body fat of the participants using niacin much faster than in the participants who used no niacin supplement. Additionally, the participants who supplemented with niacin lost more weight and kept it off even years after the study. Eating foods high in niacin will also help keep your body detoxed naturally!
- Article. (2013). “5 Health Benefits of Sauna Use.” http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/5-health-benefits-of-sauna-use/. Internet. Retrieved 05 March 2015.
- Abstract. Sardeth, T. (1990). “Regular Sauna Bathing and the Incidence of the Common Cold.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2248758. Internet. Retrieved 05 March 2015.
- Yu, M.D., George. (2014). “Niacin, Exercise and Sauna: A Simple and Effective Detox Program.” http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/05/04/detoxification-program.aspx. Internet. Retrieved 05 March 2015.
- Drake, Carly. (2014). “3 Day Detox Plan” for Fitness Republic. https://fitnessrepublic.com/nutrition/healthy_eating/3-day-detox-plan.html. Internet. Retrieved 05 March 2015.