Sauna is claimed to have a similar effect to moderate exercise. Exercise is known to have many health benefits. But what are the health benefits of a sauna?

1. Increased circulation

The heat of the sauna makes the heart beat faster as the body attempts to keep its temperature down. To aid circulation, blood vessels widen, which means that blood makes its way around the body much more freely. This in turn has a good effect on muscle soreness and joint movement. It has even been suggested that people suffering from arthritis experience less pain and higher mobility after a sauna.

2. Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease

Since the heat of a sauna has a similar effect on the heart as exercise, a heart gets trained in the sauna. A higher heart rate means more blood is being pumped through the heart’s cells allowing these cells to function with better efficiency. This is likely to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Sauna use is also associated with lower blood pressure and enhanced heart functions, although more research might be needed in this area.

3. More endorphins released

In a similar way to light exercise, sauna also induces endorphins. The level of endorphins released while in a sauna can produce a “runners high”, a similar level of floating sensation that you get when you run at moderate speed.

4. Possible weight loss

Since the heart rate is in the fat burning range (100 to 150 beats per minute) while in the sauna, the body’s metabolism speeds up and it burns a fair amount of calories. In fact, during a 20-minute sauna session one can spend as many as 500 calories.

5. Helping toxins get out

Although the body is working very fast to keep skin temperature down, the high heat of a sauna does raise skin temperature. This induces heavy sweating. It is not uncommon to lose up to a pint of sweat in one sitting.

But that is nothing to worry about as sweating has an important role for a human – it helps harmful elements leave the body. In the environments we live in today, we are constantly taking toxins in and absorbing them through the skin. Elements like lead, arsenic and cadmium get into deeper layers of the skin. To flush them, sweating is the best option. Sauna is a safe and easy way to help induce a deep sweat that will help clean getting these elements out.

6. Enjoying some quality time

A sauna is best enjoyed in good company. Therefore, taking a sauna with a good friend is a great way to socialise. It’s even better because there are no digital devices or other distractions allowed. It’s quality time with a capital Q. And if you should choose your own company, you can also benefit from not allowing distractions. In an age where we can’t even wait for an elevator without checking our smartphones, some time with your own head only can only be beneficial.

7. Relieving stress

For the time you sit in the sauna, you can cut yourself completely from all obligations, to-do-lists, digital devices and social media. It’s a total time-out, and who doesn’t need one of those every now and again? Sauna is a great opportunity to connect with oneself and engage in some self-care. Most people leave a sauna with an increased feeling of well-being.

The health benefits of a good sauna are at least as obvious as those of exercise. And while we cannot encourage replacing your exercise regime with a sauna, we do recommend a good combination of the two. Your health can only benefit from it.

DISCLAIMER: In case of cardiovascular problems or pregnancy, please consult your health care provider before using a sauna.