4 Scientifically-Backed Sauna Benefits
Whether you're dealing with chronic health issues or just looking to relax and recharge, you will be amazed to learn what an infrared sauna session can do!
1. Improved cardiovascular health
Keeping your heart healthy and your vascular system free of cholesterol buildup is something that all of us need to pay attention to. The vascular system brings blood supply to everything in your body, which means keeping it functioning properly is crucial to staying healthy. Vascular problems can even impact brain function, as is the case in vascular dementia and strokes. There is also some medical literature that argues that Alzheimer's disease should also be categorized as a vascular disease rather than a neurodegenerative one.
What does this have to do with using a sauna? Well, two large studies of 2,315 Finnish men over the course of 20 years found that frequent sauna users had better cardiovascular health than non-users, even when adjusting for confounding factors like resting heart rate, LDL cholesterol levels, smoking status, etc.
Stunningly, the studies found that sauna users had:
- 66% reduction of dementia risk
- 65% reduction of Alzheimer’s risk
- 63% reduction of sudden cardiac-related death risk overall.
2. Decreased pain
Pain is an all too common experience and it can be hard to find ways to manage pain. But the following studies showed a decrease in pain for three groups of people with tricky-to-treat chronic pain: people with rheumatoid arthritis, people with fibromyalgia, and people with chronic pain syndrome. If the sauna can help these groups of people with difficult pain conditions, then it is worthwhile to see if it helps with your pain, too.
People with rheumatoid arthritis in this study felt a decrease in pain and stiffness over the 4 trial weeks of using a sauna regularly. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18685882/
A study of people with fibromyalgia found a decrease in pain with a combined treatment of far-infrared sauna and underwater movement therapy
Even people with Chronic Pain Syndromes found relief and improved mobility after regularly using a sauna (with impacts noted even 2 years out from the study).
3. Improved depression and fatigue
Depression and fatigue are frustrating symptoms that so many of us deal with. Whether it is a seasonal dip in mood from gloomy weather, the product of stress during a difficult time, or the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, depression and fatigue can drain our enjoyment of life and make simple tasks require gargantuan effort to accomplish. However, some studies found that regular use of a sauna did have a positive impact on depression and related symptoms like energy level and appetite. One of the studies, done on patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, concluded that over 77% of the participants in the sauna use group saw improvements in depression and related symptoms!
4. Improved breathing
The ability to breathe well and deeply is something that we are a little less likely to take for granted since the global Covid-19 pandemic. With a nice, dry heat, the sauna clears the lungs and helps people with breathing issues get better oxygen saturation when they breathe. This study on COPD patients who regularly visited a sauna during a 4-week study saw improvement in pulmonary pressure and oxygen saturation that the control group did not show. So, breathe deeply and enjoy the heat!