Can a sauna a day keep the doctor away? How regular sauna use can benefit your health
Cold and flu season is just around the corner, and unfortunately Covid-19 is still lingering. There are several things that we can do to protect our health, but did you know that bathing regularly in a sauna was one of them?
Although there is an element of indulgence and relaxation to sauna bathing, more people are choosing to install a sauna at home due to the health benefits offered.
How does a sauna impact on your health?
Regular sauna use can help to strengthen the immune system, building up effective barriers against various stressors. Each sauna use reinforces your body’s defence mechanisms. The heat inside the sauna raises your core body temperature by 1°-2°C. This is like having an artificial fever, and your body’s cells react accordingly.
Coronaviruses generally (including Covid-19) are quite sensitive to heat, so the hot air in a sauna can help to deactivate Covid-19 and other viruses that affect the respiratory tract.
Your skin temperature rises, higher and faster than your core body temperature, after around 10 minutes in the sauna. This significantly stimulates and increases your metabolic rate. Unlike your body, many bacteria and viruses that cause illness are unable to cope with such high temperatures. This makes using a sauna an effective way of combating infections before they attack.
Furthermore, strong heat stimulation and significant cold stimulation after a sauna bath help to boost the immune system.
The thermal journey of a sauna
When you overheat while using a sauna, the medical term is “hyperthermia”, which is a positive effect in this case. Effectively, you’re voluntarily subjecting your body to extreme conditions – quickly heating then cooling the body, with temperatures ranging from between around 90°C and 100°C down to 0°C.
The alternation between hot and cold stimuli during sauna use helps to “exercise” your blood vessels. They expand in the heat and contract when you cool down. This is one of the major health benefits of using the sauna as it stimulates your vascular system, which in turn stimulates your metabolism.
It is important to be aware that the health benefits of a sauna are only effective with the inclusion of the body cooling process immediately after.
When you use a sauna regularly and correctly (i.e.: alternating between hot and cold), it is possible to train your body to adapt better to sudden changes in temperature between indoors and outdoors, which stops you from getting cold so quickly. Using the sauna correctly and regularly, with the complete cycle of alternating between hot and cold, is how you can strengthen your immune system.
Based on many years of medical experience Prof. Dr med. Karl-Ludwig Resch from the German Institute for Health Research in Bad Elster has researched the health-promoting effects of sauna use.
“After six months of taking sauna baths regularly, the susceptibility to colds can drop by up to 50%” says Professor Dr. med. Karl-Ludwig Resch from the German Institute for Health Research in Bad Elster.
Other physical benefits offered by a sauna
In addition to strengthening the immune system, heat therapy from a sauna or steam room, can help to relieve certain other physical symptoms, such as muscle tension, back pain, and stress at the end of a long day. Regular saunas can even relieve hay fever symptoms.
“In order to achieve the fortifying effect on the immune system, which has been extensively documented by scientists, regular repetition is essential – and that’s particularly easy if you have a sauna at home,” adds Prof. Dr. Resch.
Talk to the experts at Guncast
While a sauna can be an indulgent way to pamper yourself, it also has therapeutic health benefits. For these reasons it is useful to have a sauna at home. More and more people around the UK are seeking the authentic sauna experience at home, for various health and wellbeing reasons. If you’re considering installing a sauna or other thermal cabin in your home, contact the Guncast Pools and Wellness team to discuss a bespoke sauna to meet your needs and suit your home. Contact us to start planning your bespoke sauna and wellness area at home, today.