Mental Emotional

Mental/Emotional/Attitudinal Benefits of Sauna

Mental/Emotional/Attitudinal Benefits of Sauna

  • Stress Management – heat reduces muscle tension, promotes relaxation, helps with sleeping and, let’s face it, a sauna simply feels good, nurturing and is a natural, easy way to care for yourself.
  • Great Addition to Your Self-Care Regimen – See that long list of physical benefits above? Don’t you feel just a bit more relaxed, less stressed knowing that something as simple and enjoyable as hanging out in a sauna for a few minutes, several days/week can be of so much benefit? But seriously, whenever we take time to care for ourselves, we promote well-being—the mind and body are, after all, interconnected. And your well-being positively impacts the well-being of those around you.
  • Dropping the Day’s Worries and Concerns – the moment you close your sauna room’s door, you have both literally and metaphorically shut out the rest of the world. We spend so much of our time stressing out over what we’ve done in the past or what we have to do in the future, we rarely create for ourselves a place to simply be, in this moment. Ah, feel your shoulders drop a notch or two?
  • A Ritual Place to Promote Well-Being on All Levels – since humans first began to create comforting rituals for self-care, for physical wellness and for spiritual nourishment (think Native American sweat lodges, early Roman and Greek baths, Turkish bath, Nordic saunas/baths, Japanese Mushi-Buro, ad infinitum!), we become sensitized to the benefit of ritual space and/or time to care for ourselves on all levels.
  • Anxiety Reduction – a palpable reduction in anxiety is another result of dropping worries and concerns that so often plague us. By giving yourself over to a sauna’s conforting heat, one may verily feel the tensions, worries and concerns drop away.

Further Reading

Further Reading and Peer Reviewed Medical Research

National Institute of Health
(the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and public health research, founded in the late 1870s):

Scientific Evidence-Based Effects of Hydrotherapy on Various Systems of the Body

British Medical Journal
(a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal. It is one of the world’s oldest general medical journals)

Local hyperthermia benefits natural and experimental common colds

European Journal of Epidemiology
(a peer-reviewed medical journal on the epidemiology of communicable and non-communicable diseases and their control)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28905164

Alternative Medicine Review
(the leading peer-reviewed journal designed for sharing information on the practical use of alternative and complementary medicine)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21951023

Dr. Andrew Weil
(Harvard Medical school graduate, botanist and researcher largely responsible for the Integrative Medicine movement):A Better Way to Sweat?
Skittish about Saunas (or Steam Rooms)?LiveSTRONG.com
(one of the best, well physician/MD vetted websites around for general health and for dealing with cancer-related issues):The Purpose of a Sauna
Benefits of Sitting in a Sauna
Wet Sauna Benefits
The Effects of Saunas on the Skin
Pros and Cons of a Sauna
How to Use a Dry Sauna
How to Use a Sauna and a Steam Room Properly
The Effects of Sitting in the Sauna

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed Article Abstracts

Health Benefits of Sauna Bathing
Rita F. Redberg, MD, MSc (a cardiologist specializing in heart disease in women at UC San Francisco)
Journal of the American Medical Association: Internal Medicine

Often I have advised a patient who was considering an unnecessary test, such as a coronary artery calcium test or carotid ultrasonography from a mobile van, to forgo that test and instead spend the money on something that he or she would actually enjoy, such as a massage or spa treatment. In this issue, Laukkanen et al1 present data indicating that my advice would not only help my patients feel good but would also, if they chose to regularly use a sauna bath, help them live longer. Analyzing data from the Finnish Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Study, the authors found that men who took more frequent saunas (4-7 times per week) actually live longer than once-per-week users. Although we do not know why the men who took saunas more frequently had greater longevity (whether it is the time spent in the hot room, the relaxation time, the leisure of a life that allows for more relaxation time, or the camaraderie of the sauna), clearly time spent in the sauna is time well spent.

Do Far-infrared Saunas Have Cardiovascular Benefits in People with Type 2 Diabetes?
Richard Beever, BSc MD CCFP CI – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Clinical Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia
Canadian Journal of Diabetes

Our results suggest that infrared sauna use may be beneficial for lowering blood pressure and waist circumference. Subject adherence to infrared sauna use is greater than adherence to other lifestyle interventions. The combination of favourable compliance/adherence, as well as effectiveness in improving blood pressure and possibly waist circumference, makes infrared sauna therapy an attractive lifestyle option.

Association Between Sauna Bathing and Fatal Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality Events
Tanjaniina Laukkanen, MSc; Hassan Khan, MD, PhD; Francesco Zaccardi, MD; et al.
Journal of the American Medical Association: Internal Medicine

Conclusions and Relevance: Increased frequency of sauna bathing is associated with a reduced risk of SCD, CHD, CVD [sudden cardiac death (SCD), fatal coronary heart disease (CHD), fatal cardiovascular disease (CVD)], and all-cause mortality. Further studies are warranted to establish the potential mechanism that links sauna bathing and cardiovascular health.

Sauna bathing is inversely associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in middle-aged Finnish men
Laukkanen T, Kunutsor S, Kauhanen J, Laukkanen JA
Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Geriatrics Society

Conclusion: In this male population, moderate to high frequency of sauna bathing was associated with lowered risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Further studies are warranted to establish the potential mechanisms linking sauna bathing and memory diseases.

Effect of 3—Minute Sauna Sessions on Lipid Profile in Young Woment
Wanda Pilch, et. al.
Medicina Sportiva

A reduction in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol concentrations was observed in women after 2 weeks of repeated sauna sessions…. These changes can be a good prognosis in prevention of ischaemic heart disease.

Passive heat therapy improves endothelial function, arterial stiffness and blood pressure in sedentary humans
Vienna E. Brunt, et. al.
The Journal of Physiology

A recent 30 year prospective study showed that lifelong sauna use reduces cardiovascular-related and all-cause mortality; however, the specific cardiovascular adaptations that cause this chronic protection are currently unknown.

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