Physical Benefits of Sauna
Warm steam or dry heat is a vasodilator, opening up blood vessels and lowering blood pressure for those with mild hypertension, among other things.
Faster Recovery from Exercise
Metabolic waste builds up in muscles causing soreness and fatigue. Taking a sauna followed by a cold shower helps clear the body of these waste products—or jump in an icy stream like the Norwegians do!
Heat (dry or steam) opens up pours and allows us to perspire freely therefore helping to clear skin. It also softens body hair and reduces razor burn while shaving. 15 minutes is the minimum recommended time to see significant improvement.
Heat and/or steam opens up pours and allows botanicals to be absorbed into the skin more readily and facilitates breathing allowing herbal essences to be inhaled with ease. Note: sauna rooms can have an aroma (or essential oil) pump installed.
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A study conducted at the Common Cold Unit at Harvard Hospital reported that “Nasal hyperthermia [raised sinus temperature] can improve the course of a common cold and also give immediate relief of symptoms.” Sauna heat/steam has positive effects on the symptoms of sinusitis, bronchitis and allergic responses. A long-term study found that saunas also reduce the risk of respiratory diseases.
Our bodies naturally raise our temperatures to fight infection: Many invasive organisms cannot survive once the body exceeds its normal temperature. Dr. Zane Gard, board-certified applied kinesiologist, said that “The only detoxification program that has proven successful in removing fat stored toxins from the body is hyperthermia or heat stress detoxification” (from Alternative Medicine, Second Edition: The Definitive Guide).
Dr. Andrew Weil says, in regards to using a sauna or steam shower, “Sweating helps the body rid itself of excess sodium, drugs, and some toxins, thereby reducing the workload of the liver. It also improves general circulation.”