Saunas provide dry heat of up to 185 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat may produce profound effects in the body, which is generally useful to maintain health and well-being. The most common reason for visiting a sauna bath is for relaxation purpose. People find it a way to deal with stress and to get refreshed after all the sweat has gone out of the body. However, there are other positive health effects other than relaxation and stress reduction. The following discusses the health effects of sauna in the body:
• Enhances the cardiac tone
A 20 minute stay in a sauna bath allows your heart rate to increase by 50 to 75% similar to the effects of a physical exercise. In fact, sauna bath provides same metabolic results as exercise in the form of brisk walking.
• Increased flexibility of the blood vessels
The heat that goes into your body allows the blood vessels to dilate. This results in increased blood flow to the skin and the extremities. In addition, the increased cardiac output from a rapid heart rate and dilated blood vessels enhances the circulation of nutrients to the tissues on the surfaces of the body.
• Improves the skin characteristics
The increased circulation in the tissue surfaces also improves nutrition and oxygenation of the skin cells allowing for improved moisture as well as the texture of the skin. Going to sauna baths may lead to a glowing and clear skin.
• Cleanses the sweat glands and the skin
Since the heat allows for sweat to excreted, going to sauna baths allows you to cleanse your sweat glands and your skin pores all in all. Sweating also allows the skin to excrete some of the accumulated toxins in the body, which makes steam baths good for detoxification.
• Enhances the healing process
Sauna may also cause the temperature and the basal metabolic rate to increase because of the heat. A “feverish” state and an increased metabolic rate is essential for body repair because they stimulate the immune system to produce disease fighting cells and chemicals such as white blood cells, interferon and antibodies. Sauna baths not only increase the immunity, but also allows the person to recuperate from any tissue injury.
• Aids in cellulite reduction
Sauna baths are also used to loosen the fatty tissue for better utilization and burning; thereby reducing the incidence of cellulites.
• Aids in relaxation of strained muscles and relieves pain and stiffness
Heat also allows the muscles and other soft tissues to relax; thereby relieving muscle strains, joint stiffness and pain.
• Relieves respiratory congestion
Heat or steam allows the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract to relax and also helps moisten the mucus for easier expectoration.
These are the major health effects of sauna baths. Sauna is relatively safe for most people; however, it should be noted that people with cardiovascular conditions should consult their physician first regarding sauna baths because an increase in the heart rate may precipitate a cardiac event.
Aside from this, people should institute precautions before and after going to the sauna such as:
• Avoid alcohol to prevent severe vasodilation of the blood vessels.
• Avoid staying in sauna baths longer than 20 minutes. Studies show that a 10 to 20 minute sauna bath is already adequate to yield beneficial results.
• Ensure cooling down mechanisms after the bath to allow the body to return to its normal temperature. However, also make sure to cool down gradually.
• Observe for symptoms while inside the sauna. If you feel that something is wrong, go out of the sauna to allow your body to cool.
Indeed, saunas are healthy; however, people should make sure that they always employ precautionary measures to avoid harmful effects.