When many of us think of things we can do to help our bodies be in optimal health, we think of eating healthy, exercising, staying hydrated and sanitizing our hands on a consistent basis. I’m sure many of us wouldn’t initially think of utilizing saunas to aid in our overall well-being. Well, saunas have many beneficial properties, and there are many types of saunas that are specifically constructed for many purposes that promote a healthier mind, body and spirit.
Many of us may be familiar with what a particular sauna looks like, but do we really know how beneficial they can be for us? Before I list the different kinds of saunas, here are but a few benefits from Top 11 Healthful Benefits of Sauna (n.d.) of why we should incorporate the use of saunas in our lives:
- FLUSHES TOXINS. We are all exposed to toxins around us-whether they be from the foods we eat or environmental elements. With that being said, we should do our best to purge our bodies from these toxins and sitting in a sauna is a great way to do that! The heat from the saunas open up our pores and activate our sweat glands that cause us to sweat a great deal. Because sweating in a sauna is a deeper kind of sweating, we are able to eliminate heavy metals in the body like copper, zinc, nickel and mercury.
- CAN HELP FIGHT AND PREVENT ILLNESSES. Because of the heat from the high temperatures, we are not only sweating out toxins, we are also killing harmful bacteria that is in and on our body. This is why it is important to take a cool or cold shower after leaving a sauna in order to close the pores to prevent other toxins from getting back into the body. You add eucalyptus or other essential oils to the water so when the steam forms, it helps clear symptoms of illnesses like sinus infections or congestions.
- CAN IMPROVE CARDIOVASCULAR PERFORMANCE. Although using saunas is very calming, it can increase your heart rate to a rate that is similar to what it would be if your engaged in aerobic exercises. With your heart rate increasing at a healthy rate, more blood is being pumped into the body. Regular use of a sauna can also aid in reducing high blood pressure because of the increased blood circulation and release of endorphins due to the calming feeling we get when in a sauna.
- AIDS IN PHYSICAL RECOVERY. After an intense workout, it is great to detox in a sauna afterwards. Blood circulation is increased, toxins are being eliminated from the body and we are more relaxed and calmer in a sauna-all helpful factors that aid in physical recovery. Saunas aid in relaxing the muscles and reducing soreness and inflammation, and can give us a tranquilizing feeling when we’re wrapped in its warmth. Also, growth hormone increases tremendously, which aids in reducing muscle atrophy after a strenuous workout.
- HELPS BURN CALORIES. Even though you are only sitting or laying down in a sauna, you still sweat quite a bit. Whenever we sweat, we are using energy, as well as accelerating our heart rate, which causes us to burn calories. Use of a sauna will not necessarily make you lose weight, but it could certainly help with shedding additional calories after a good workout.
- CLEANSES THE SKIN. With the increased deep sweating you get from being in a sauna, it cleanses the skin from toxins in the epidermis and allows the dead skin cells to be replaced. This creates smoother, clearer skin and can give you a natural glow because those toxins have been sweated out of the body.
- RELIEVES STRESS. As previously stated, being in a sauna is like being wrapped up in a warm, calming blanket. When eliminating the toxins in the body, it not only cleanses the body but also helps clear the mind. Endorphins are released and it helps restore your mind and body to its more optimal health. Adding calming essential oils, like lavender, eucalyptus or chamomile can also help reduce stress in the mind and body.
- CAN AID IN A DEEPER SLEEP. Not only do saunas help reduce stress, but they also promote a deeper sleep. Since saunas increase your level of relaxation, your mind and body are put at ease. They prepare the body to wind down for the day/night which aids in a more restful, deeper sleep. Many people who used saunas on a regular basis reported having deeper, quality sleep.
- CAN BE USED FOR RECREATIONAL/SOCIAL PURPOSES. Going to a sauna alone is the norm at times, but it can also be a fun and relaxing social activity that you can do on with friends. It is a quiet environment that allows you to have more intimate, mindful conversations with old friends or new friends that you meet there. Since endorphins are released when you are enjoying the sauna, you are more likely to be more open to meet others and have nice, quiet conversations.
- CAN BE CONVENIENT. Saunas can be found at your local gyms, spas and wellness centers, and can even be built into our homes. They also have foldable, portable saunas that are relatively inexpensive, so you can take it with you when you travel for work or when you go on vacation! I know I will be getting a portable sauna in my home soon!
Once again, these are but a few benefits of why you should start using a sauna on a consistent basis. Here are a few types of saunas that were built for specific purposes from “Different Types of Saunas” (2017):
TRADITIONAL FINNISH SAUNA: This traditional sauna is lined with wooden slats
and consists of benches, heated rocks, a bucket of water and a ladle. The humidity in the sauna is controlled by adding water to the heated rocks.
DRY SAUNA: This type of sauna can be found in some of your local gyms. A dry sauna is similar to the Tradition Finnish Sauna because it also has heated rocks, but there’s no bucket of water or ladle present.
STEAM BATH: This sealed sauna is built with glass, acrylic or tiles with a low temperature and 100% humidity, which makes it feel hotter inside than it really is.
INFRARED SAUNA: This sauna is very different from the other three due to the fact that there is no humidity. You are basically sealed in a heat glove which warms up your body temperature.
So as you can see, saunas can be a very effective way to promote our optimal health and well-being. They can be found in some of our local gyms, at spas and wellness centers, and even in some of our own homes. Also, since we are detoxing and sweating whenever we sit in a sauna, it is important to properly hydrate in order to replenish the body with the water that was just lost. Hopefully we are all now more aware of the many helpful ways a sauna can aid in our health and go out to find our local sauna in order to incorporate it into our lives.
“Different Types of Saunas.” (25 Sept. 2017). Retrieved October 11, 2019.
Finnleo. (n.d.). Top 11 Healthful Benefits of Sauna. Retrieved October 11, 2019, from