If you run a search online for ‘sauna benefits’ you’ll get pages and pages of hits. The scientific community is also starting to dig deep with a PubMed search for ‘Sauna’ yielding 1,147 citations.
A lot of the benefits though are hard to notice. I’d challenge anyone to feel their red blood cell count increasing for example.
So if you decide to have saunas a few times a week for say, a month, what changes might you actually notice?
In the past 2 or 3 months I’ve been going to the sauna a lot – at least 5 times a week.
Here’s what I’ve noticed:
1. Better Sleep: nothing improves my sleep like a sauna an hour before bed. The heat stress produces deep relaxation which really sets you up for sleep.
2. Better body temperature regulation: I am more comfortable now in hot weather, but also seem to be less sensitive to the cold weather as well. I can also stay in the sauna for longer even though I start sweating earlier. Thermal regulation seems much more responsive.
3. Mood enhancement: Sauna’s make me feel better. Many others have commented on this as well. There seems to a relationship between the dynorphin that is released (to help regulate body temperature) and the sensitising of endorphin (feel good hormone) receptors in the brain. You just feel better.
4. Strengthened Immune System: I haven’t been sick this year and feel stronger. This may be as a result of others things, but I do feel that regular sauna has been supportive here and the science backs this up.
There’s a whole list of other positive physiological changes that happen in the body as a result of sauna, but these are what I’ve noticed most.
Saunas are a wonderful way to protect and strengthen your body so go for it!
NOTE: Saunas are serious business, so take it easy at first. Start with say 5 minutes see how you go from there. If you are on medication, you should check with a doctor first. Don’t drink alcohol before a sauna.