“I like the sauna, but does it have any real benefits?” is a popular question we hear on SaunaScape. The answer is yes! In recent years, a number of studies have shown a regular sauna gives many benefits. Here are our top ten:
10. Saunas make your hair look great
We spend a lot of time and money on different hair care products to keep our hair looking natural. The truth is, we don’t need to. Our body has many specialized organs that condition our hair better than the synthetic products on the marketplace. The trick is getting them out.
A few minutes in the sauna will activate the sebaceous glands on your scalp, releasing a set of compounds that moisturize and condition your hair. If you wash the dirt away and spend some time in a sauna, a quick rinse is all it takes to reap these benefits. Our sauna and hair care post has more information.
9. Saunas are cardio everyone can do.
Saunas are a unique way to get your heart pumping. As your skin heats up, your heart goes into overdrive to bring cooler blood to the surface and lower your skin’s temperature. Inside of a sauna, you can raise your heart rate up as much as mild exercise while not moving.
8. Saunas help you reach a healthy weight
There is a myth that you can burn up to 600 calories an hour while sitting in a sauna. That is not true, however it comes from a medical study that proved sauna users are more likely to stay on a diet and reach a healthy weight. Overweight people who used the sauna regularly lost much more weight than a control group who didn’t use the sauna. That same study found underweight people who used a sauna were more likely to gain weight than people who didn’t.
Read our post “Weight Loss in the Sauna” for more information about how saunas benefit those trying to lose weight.
7. Sauna users catch fewer colds
An Austrian study found that people who use the sauna regularly are less likely to get sick than people who don’t. In fact, the group who used the sauna regularly caught half as many colds as the group who didn’t.
Read our post Fewer Colds for Sauna Users for more information.
Of course, if you already have a cold, stay out of the sauna.
6. Saunas can get rid your acne
Acne, pimples, blemishes, blackheads, spots – the bane of our teenage years – can be caused by your pores getting blocked by buildup of oils from your skin or dead skin cells. The heat of the sauna and your sweat can help your skin mobilize these contaminants leaving you with clean, clear skin.
For details and a procedure for using the sauna to eliminate acne, read our post Sauna your skin clear
5. The sauna boosts your energy
We’ve already told you that the sauna is a type of exercise, and exercise always gets your heart pumping to give you an energy boost. The sauna does more than that. If you rid yourself of your tight clothes, and use your time in the sauna to clear your mind, it can reboot you from your busy day and give you that boost you need.
Regular sauna use can have longer term effects that boost your energy too, lowering your stress levels and helping you sleep better. These are two of the largest drains on your energy according to our article Boosting your energy with a sauna
4. The sauna helps you recover from a workout
There is a reason most good gyms have a sauna: It’s a great way to recover from a strenuous workout. Sweat is one of the ways your body eliminates its metabolic wastes. Sweating in a sauna while your muscles are at rest quickly mobilizes all the waste products your muscles just generated and gets them out of your skin. This cuts way down on the stiffness many people experience later in the day after they’ve worked out.
Other post-workout benefits include increased blood flow. Blood flowing to your tired and strained muscles helps them recover more quickly. The heat itself helps as well. Just applying heat to sore muscles can block their pain messages for a half hour or more.
See our post Heat – It’s good for your health for more information.
3. The sauna makes you look younger
Our skin is the largest organ on our bodies, but how can you exercise it? In the sauna of course.
As we age, our skin gets less elastic, and more likely to hold onto dead skin cells. A few sessions in the sauna every week gets blood flowing to your skin. This spurs new skin growth and helps exfoliate all the dead cells that are building up. The heat of the sauna also mobilizes the oils in your skin which are natural moisturizers and antibiotics.
2. The sauna lowers your stress level
When you’re sitting in a hot sauna, it’s hard to concentrate on anything else other than your immediate environment. Spending time in a sauna is like meditation: It clears your mind of all the little things that are bothering you while you’re inside. When you emerge, your mind has been “rebooted,” letting you start fresh with a new focus on your tasks.
Dr. Stephen Colmant, a licensed psychiatrist, talks about this and other psychological benefits of the sauna in his sweat rituals video
1. The sauna makes you feel great
Spending a half hour every few days in the sauna is going to leave you relaxed, refreshed, healthier, ready to lose weight, and looking radiant. Those things alone should make you feel great, but there is more to it than that. The time you spend in a sauna reboots your brain, and actually can change your mood. People who use the sauna on a regular basis are happier than people who don’t.
So what are you waiting for? Find a sauna near you and get started. There are too many reasons not to.