Health Benefits of Sauna


Health Benefits of Dry Finnish and Wet Russian Sauna in Boston

Sweating out the toxins is one of the main reasons why many people use saunas worldwide. But research indicates that there are more health benefits to saunas than detoxification. Saunas have been around for centuries and still continue to be a favorite place for people to relax and unwind. Saunas had been a way of life for the people of Finland, where it was first created around 2000 years ago. The word Sauna means Bathhouse in Finnish language. Not only does it help you relax, but it also rejuvenates your body and makes you feel good. Although the options for having a sauna bath are limited in Boston when compared to cities like New York and Los Angeles, there are few places that offer top class services.

So what is a sauna? Simply speaking, a sauna is a room that is heated to very high temperatures, typically in the range 70 to 100 degree Celsius. While traditional Finnish saunas involve dry heat, there are other types of saunas like Turkish saunas (hammam) and wet Russian saunas that involves a high level of humidity. Sitting in a sauna can raise the temperature of your skin to about 40°C, which in turn causes you to sweat heavily. As your body tries to cool down, the heart rate rises. Saunas could have different sources of heat, including wood burning saunas, electrically heated saunas, infrared saunas and steam rooms.

Dry Finnish saunas are the type of saunas mostly seen in health clubs, which consists of wooden hut heated by a wood-fired or electric stove and a heap of heat retaining stones placed upon the stove. The Finnish sauna is kept at a temperature between 80 to 100º C. In spite of splashing water on the hot sauna rocks to produce steam, the humidity level in the whole room still remains low, in the range of 10 to 15 %, which makes the Finnish sauna a dry sauna, when compared to a steam bath or steam room that has a very high humidity level.

What is a Russian Spa?

A Russian spa, also known as a Banya is one of the oldest Russian traditions, which is still popular today. The sauna is a small wooden room or structure which features a steam room that is kept at temperatures above 199 degrees Farenheit (93 degrees Celsius). People often massage themselves or others with a bundle of dried branches of white birch, oak or eucalyptus that are moistened with very hot water before use. This type of massage helps in improving blood circulation. In addition to cleansing the body, the Russian spa also offers numerous health benefits.

Health Benefits of Sauna

Irrespective of the type of sauna, the effects it produces on the body are similar. When you spend some time in a sauna, your body temperature rises, heart rate increases and blood vessels widen, leading to an increase in blood circulation. These effects on the body may have several potential health benefits. Let's see what these benefits are:

Beautiful and Glowing Skin

Saunas help improve your skin by opening up the pores and removing dirt and dead skin cells through your sweat. The dirt, dead skin cells and oily sebum produced in the skin can clog your pores, leading to infection and acne. The high heat from a sauna helps to get rid of these built-up wastes, thereby preventing infection. It also causes your heart rate to rise, increasing the amount of blood pumped every minute. As the blood flow increases, there is a boost in the supply of oxygen and other nutrients to the skin cells, leading to a healthy and refreshed skin. Sauna also promotes the production of collagen that increases the elasticity and suppleness of your skin, giving you a youthful look.

Helps You Relax

The main advantage of having a sauna bath is the relaxing effect it can give to your mind and body. The heat of the sauna widens your blood vessels, which helps in lowering your blood pressure. This gives a soothing feeling and helps to relieve the effects of stress. Saunas also reduce muscle soreness and encourage recovery by relaxing the muscles. The increased heart rate during a sauna session helps release a wide variety of hormones, like endorphins, which are known to reduce stress and make you feel good.

Helps You Breathe Easy

We all know how soothing it is to inhale steam when you have a cold or blocked nasal passages. Likewise, wet saunas are also extremely helpful if you have sinus problems. The moist heat loosens the mucous, opens up the sinus passages and allows you to breathe easily. However, make sure to avoid a wet sauna if you are an asthma patient, as the wet sauna's moist air may trigger an asthma attack.

Weight Loss

While sitting in a sauna, all that heat and sweating, forces your body to increase its metabolic rate and makes your heart pump faster. This kind of metabolic activity can be helpful for weight loss. As the sauna causes you to sweat profusely, your body gets rid of salt and water, causing you to lose extra weight. When you are sitting in a sauna, it is mostly water weight that you are losing. So, as soon as you drink water, some of the lost weight will come back. But doing a sauna bath regularly will help you lose weight. While the increase in metabolism does increase the amount of calories burned, it is not as significant as you may hope. However, you can increase the number of calories burned in a sauna by doing mild exercises.

Saunas help you feel better, because in addition to serving as a place for relaxation, these steamy retreats cause several changes in your body that attribute to numerous cosmetic and health-related benefits. Ten to twenty minutes a day is all it takes for you to feel good and look good. Whether it is due to the changes that occur in your body during a sauna session, or it is the soothing and relaxing time spent in the steamy retreat, everyone who has used the sauna agrees that it feels fantastic! In this fast paced life, full of stress and tension, the sauna offers an indulgent retreat, where you can relax and rejuvenate your body.