Sauna Health

Many claim that there are extensive health benefits from sauna bathing. Saunas are supposed to be good for many things such as losing weight, cleansing the body of toxins, lowering cholesterol, relieving pain, and clearing the respiratory tract. Many claims may be exaggerated, but others may have scientific foundations.

Losing Weight

There are many weight loss programs that suggest saunas are an effective way to assist weight loss. Studies point to the fact that a sauna creates elevated heart rate because the body is working to cool itself. Some suggest that 300 to 500 calories are burned during a 30 minute session.

It is a fact that heart rate increases during a sauna; this causes the body to burn calories. However, it should be noted that during a normal exercise routine many muscle groups are used while a sauna uses only the heart muscle.

Toning and building muscles is far more important in weight loss that heart exertion. If a person wants to lose weight it is important to follow a daily exercise routine. A sauna will help relax and rejuvenate the bather after the exercise but will not be of much help in actual weight loss.

Toxins

'Saunas rid the body of toxins.' This claim is often made by sauna manufacturers, retailers and is a common belief among sauna enthusiasts. There is no scientific evidence that toxins such as heavy metals (i.e. lead or mercury) or any other type of toxins are eliminated from the body during sauna use. This type of claim is a common reference when speaking of Infrared saunas; however there is no evidence that any type of sauna rids the body of toxins.

Lowering Cholesterol

This is another claim made by many sauna retailers. They claim that regular sauna use will reduce cholesterol without any change in diet or exercise routines. There is no scientific evidence to prove this claim.

Are There Any Real Benefits?

After taking in all of the quackery associated with saunas, some may be tempted to write off any claims of therapeutic value. However, there are many excellent benefits of sauna bathing and their use can be part of a regular health regime.

Physical Effects

While using a sauna the heart rate increases and the blood vessels dilate to allow the increased blood to flow through freely. Blood flow to the skin increases and heavy perspiration is induced. The nasal passages open allowing the sinuses to drain.

The heat a bather is exposed to in a sauna has very real health benefits. Pain and joint stiffness associated with arthritis or other bone or joint problems can be relieved by a sauna.

The biggest health benefit of a sauna is the relaxation induced. Modern society is filled with stress, the affects of which are the root of many health problems. Saunas are relaxing and calming and provide an ideal way to unwind at the end of the day. A sauna before bed promotes deep sleep which is necessary for the body to rejuvenate and recuperate.

Those with health problems should consult their medical practitioner before using a sauna, but for most the sauna is safe and beneficial when used in moderation.


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