Feeling tired, sluggish, or sore?
Regular use of traditional saunas has been shown to increase lifespan, improve cardiovascular health, reduce inflammation, improve muscle recovery and detoxify the body.
For increased muscle relaxation, which ultimately leads to increased overall body relaxation. Stimulating the process of new neurons forming and raising endorphin levels in the brain to reduce inflammation and accelerate recovery.
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Regulating body temperature (thermoregulation) is the body’s way of maintaining balance. In the sauna, the body increases blood flow to the muscles and encourages the body to sweat in order to cool down. This process uses a considerable amount of energy and is the reason using a sauna encourages relaxation and increases sleep quality. Next time you’re struggling to sleep, try a sauna 2-3 hours before bedtime and feel the effects for yourself.
Sauna therapy benefits
Pro-tip: Alternating the sauna with a cold shower or an ice bath for a few rounds will enhance the effects.
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What is Sauna Therapy?
Sauna and steam use is characterised by short term passive exposure to extreme heat. This results in mild hyperthermia- an increase in the body’s core temperature that induces a thermoregulatory response that restores homeostasis and conditions the body for future heat stressors. There are various types of sauna therapy that also involve using cold plunge pools and indoor heated swimming pools.
The infrared spectrum
Near-infrared (NIR) wavelength is the shortest infrared wavelength that penetrates the skin very well. It can promote skin regeneration, cell health, wound healing and tissue growth.
Far Infrared (FIR) is a long wavelength that penetrates deep into the soft tissues where inflammatory processes occur.
Using both types is what makes infrared such an effective treatment when used in conjunction with sauna therapy.
An infrared sauna differs from a traditional dry sauna or steam room. The infrared light penetrates your skin and warms you up from the inside. The traditional sauna and steam room increase the temperature of the room or the humidity to increase the core temperature and elicit a response as your body tries to cool down.
What Happens to Your Body During a Sauna?
During the exposure to extreme heat your body elicits a rapid response:
- Core body temperature increases and you begin to sweat
- Blood flow increases 50-70% to your skin to facilitate sweating. On average, people lose 0.5kg of sweat during a sauna session.
- Heart rate mimics moderate intensity exercise- increasing to 100bpm up to 150bpm
- Plasma volume increases and heart can do less work for each beat as it’s pumping blood to deliver oxygen to tissues
These are just the visible signs of heat stress, it is through the invisible responses to heat stress that occur at a deeper level that provide the most benefits. This is likely through the physiological phenomenon know as hormesis.
Hormesis is a defensive response that occurs following exposure to a mild stressor. The hormetic responses to stress are typically disproportionate to the magnitude of the stressor. The end result is the triggering of a vast array of protective responses in your body that elicit long term adaptations, repair cell damage, and provide protection from subsequent exposures to more devastating stressors.
Click here to find out more about heat shock proteins, NRF2, FOXo3 and more on the molecular responses of heat stress.
Sauna Therapy supports cardiovascular and heart health
Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland tracked 2,300 middle-aged men for an average of 20 years.
They found that those that had 2-3 sauna sessions per week had:
- A 22% reduced chance of sudden cardiac death*
- A 27% reduced chance of dying from cardiovascular related causes*
Those that had 4-7 sauna sessions per week had:
- A 63% reduced chance of sudden cardiac death*
- A 50% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease-related death*
- A 48% reduced risk of coronary heart disease-related death*
- A 40% reduced risk of death (from all causes) *
*Benefit compared to participants who had 1 sauna session (at least 20 minutes) per week
Researchers reported that the benefit to cardiovascular health was likely due to the decrease in blood pressure and an increase in blood vessel diameter that heat exposure can provide. Study
The study also revealed that frequent sauna use reduced the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in a dose-dependent manner. Men who used the sauna four to seven times per week had a 66 percent lower risk of developing dementia and a 65 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, compared to men who used the sauna only one time per week.
What You Should Know Before Entering the Sauna
When using saunas, be aware that you are losing a lot of water in the process of sweating. So, it is important to keep hydrated, and if you are new to saunas, take frequent breaks for fresh air. Also, when using a sauna, start on a lower bench. As you progress, you can move up to the higher benches to increase heat intensity.
There are, of course, instances when to avoid saunas altogether. For example, there are health conditions that can make them quite dangerous. Please consult a doctor before using a steam room or attempting sauna therapy at a spa if you have any of the following conditions:
- Asthma or other breathing conditions
- Heart disease
- Or if you are currently pregnant.
Book Your Sauna Session in Brisbane Today
If all of this interests you, why not book a session with us at our Brisbane clinic today? With a huge variety of treatments to choose from, there will be something suited to your needs to help you relax.
How long should you sit in a sauna?
The longer you sit in the sauna, the more water is lost through perspiration, so a general rule is to cap your time to 15 to 20 minutes to avoid dehydration, especially if you are new to saunas and steam rooms.
How many times a week should I use a sauna?
Generally, spa treatments are recommended to be used three to four days per week. If you are healthy and tolerate the four days, you can use the saunas daily. Just be sure to consult your physician if you notice anything abnormal.
Should I shower after a sauna?
You should shower directly afterwards in hot, cool, or even cold water to ensure that you have washed any sweat or bacteria off the skin that could cause odour or discomfort later in the day.
What is proper sauna etiquette?
Clean off any sweat or dirt so you enter fresh; everyone will appreciate it. Public saunas can get full, so be considerate of how much space you are taking up. If someone new enters, make space for them so everyone can sit comfortably and relax.
What should you not do after a sauna?
Don't do anything that can further dehydrate you, such as consume alcohol or recreational drugs before, during, or after sauna use, and don't eat a large meal before using a sauna or steam room.