Sauna bathing can be as good as moderate exercise

Check the date; this is no April fools joke. Scientists who studied the effects of a 30-minute sauna session found that getting steamy might similarly affect our heart and circulation as moderate exercise.

Sauna bathing might also be responsible for a 40% lower risk of premature death by all causes, and a 60% reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

But that's not all. Read on and see five more amazing things the sauna can do for you.

1. Tough immune system

The rise of artificial temperature in the sauna can trick your body into thinking it has a fever, causing it to increase the number of white blood cells to deal with illness. But this only happens when your body gets quick episodes of both heating and cooling. In Finnish winter, many cool off by swimming in icy lakes between episodes of warm sauna bathing.

2. Glowing skin

There's a reason why you see people leaving a sauna with a fresh and healthy glow. The sauna increases blood flow, which widens the pores enough for sweat to flush out all those hidden toxins. But getting the best effect from the sauna means not getting steamy for too long, and alternating between cold and hot temperatures every ten minutes. If you apply a moisturising cream to your skin after your steamy session, your complexion will glow brighter than a reflector under a high-beam headlight.

3. Easy breathing

Going to the sauna three times a week significantly reduces the chances of developing an array of respiratory diseases. One study found that regular sauna goers were less likely to develop COPD, asthma and even pneumonia when compared to infrequent sauna users. So throw some löyly and show your lungs some love.

4. Hot and happy

Sauna sessions pump the body full of feel-good endorphins such as dopamine. These chemicals improve mood, increase energy, and even give you a sense of euphoria. In fact, studies suggest that sitting in the sauna can induce a "runner's high," without you having to move a muscle.

5. A good night's sleep

After leaving the 80-100 degree heat of a typical sauna, your body begins the gradual cooling down process, which makes you feel sleepy and ready to go to bed. And as the sauna also reduces muscle pains, tension and stress, it makes your body and mind feel more relaxed, and ready to get some high quality sleep.

Want to know more? If you want to give this age-old Finnish pastime a try, check out A Foreigner's Guide To The Finnish Sauna. It'll make you a sauna pro in no time.

Leave a comment