The benefits of regular and consistent sauna use have been studied in the last decades, and the health and wellness improvements are astonishing. However, sauna therapy has roots dating back to 7000 BC. Early uses were aimed towards getting rid of infectious diseases, but little did the earliest bathers know how extensive the benefits were.
The first dedicated saunas were created in man-made rooms covered in animal skins and had a pile of rocks nestled above a burning fire. Our ancestors would utilize the room to warm up, as bathrooms, and sometimes as a place to sleep. Because of this, family traditions and spirtual beliefs are rooted in the sauna experience.
Fast forward to present day, saunas still carry tradition and belief. This tradition that we intend to deliver to the people across the United States through the Edwin Barrel is something we take immense pride in.
(1) Cardiovascular health
As a safe and passive way to induce sweat, consistent sauna bathing may. have positive effects on reducing total cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins, tricglyercides, and blood pressure. In addition, research has shown to enhance endothelial function, immune system function, and cardiorespriatory function.
These enhancements are derived from an increase in blood circulation through vasodilation. In vasodilation, blood pressure increases, but when exiting the sauna and the body returns to homeostasis, sauna goers will see positive acute effects of decreased blood pressure (1).
(2) Autoimmune, chronic pain, and fatigue conditions.
There are a number of autoimmune and fatigue-related benefits that can occur with consistent sauna use. These autoimmune related benefits include enhance quality of life and fulfillment for diabetics, decrease chronic pain and inflammatory symptoms, improvement in arthritis, and improvements in sleep & mood disorders.
Heat stress caused by sauna therapy activates a protein (FOX03) which provides benefits to immune system function, perceived pain levels, stem cell activation, and DNA & RNA repair.
(3) Mental health
Saunas can leave you feeling euphoric. Due to the stress placed on the body from the heat and steam exposure, your brain and nervous system are stimulated which create fast adaptations. From one single session, people can experience powerful antidepressant effects which can last up to six weeks. Furthermore, consistent sauna use can lower cortisol, a primary stress hormone, which will reduce anxiety and cognitive stress.
Saunas can also increase beta-endorphins, which are pain-relieving compounds, as well as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). These compounds and proteins help encourage the growth of new brain cells and, subsequently, make people happier. (3)
(4) Exercise performance & metabolism
According to a 2007 study (4) performed on long distance runners, repeated sauna exposure post-workout resulted in 32% increase in the onset of exhaustion. This is due to the effects the sauna has on our red blood cells, plasma, and total blood volume.
As it pertains to muscle growth, sauna use releases heat shock proteins which repair damaged muscles fibers and protects the body from oxidative stress. Furthermore, increases in natural growth hormone are seen which enhances recovery and lean muscle mass.
As a result of increased blood flow and the state of hyperthermia that we experience when using a sauna, people will begin to sweat out harmful chemicals and metals that we expose ourselves to. We are able to stimulate our detoxification pathways and help our bodies remove toxic heavy metals that include cadmium, arsenic, lead, and mercury.
1) Laukkanen, J. A., Laukkanen, T., & Kunutsor, S. K. (2018). Cardiovascular and Other Health Benefits of Sauna Bathing: A Review of the Evidence.Mayo Clinic proceedings,93(8), 1111–1121. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2018.04.008
3) Fallis, J. (2022, May 03). 13 proven ways saunas can improve your mental health. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from https://www.optimallivingdynamics.com/blog/13-proven-ways-saunas-can-improve-your-mental-health-dry-hot-benefits-depression-anxiety
4) Scoon, G. S., Hopkins, W. G., Mayhew, S., & Cotter, J. D. (2007). Effect of post-exercise sauna bathing on the endurance performance of competitive male runners.Journal of science and medicine in sport,10(4), 259–262. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2006.06.009