Sauna is a preventive tool from infection, injury, and stress. Studies show the more we use the sauna the more resilient we are. Our muscles are looser, our minds are calmer, we are more grounded after a sauna.
The heat develops feel good hormones helping to improve mood and stress. The cabin itself provides an environment to connect back in with oneself and unwind.
Pain – Inflammation
Studies have found that infrared saunas can help relieve stiffness, aches, and chronic pains. One study out of Finland showed that levels of C-reactive protein, a biomarker for inflammation in the body, were lower in those that used sauna more regularly.
In fact, it was a function of how often they used their sauna. The more regularly the 2000 men in the study used a sauna, the less CRP their body exhibited.
Recovery from Exercise and Overload
Infrared light promotes cell autophagy, a process that ensures cells are renewed and restored so you don’t get as sore after exercise.
Hermetic Stress & Heat Shock Proteins (HSP’s)
A hermetic stress is a physical stress response within the body which results in net positive results.
Think ice baths where the cold shock to the system shocks the body into releasing higher levels of norepinephrine for vigilance and activates cold shock proteins which aid in cellular autophagy.
Heat stress is no different. Infrared sauna can create heat shock proteins (HSP’s). HSPs play an important role toward optimising immune function, cell signalling and cell-cycle regulation, the process of cell turnover.
HSP’s promote longevity by preventing protein disorder, repairing proteins that have been damaged, providing protection against chronic diseases and slowing atrophy.
One study showed that 30 minutes at 73 degrees was enough to double the heat shock proteins within the body.
Hormesis experienced in infrared sauna has been shown to promote vigilance and improve our ability to handle real world stress more easily without going into a shock state. Hermetic stressors are also a key toward reducing daily stress levels.
Sleep benefits – Relaxation & managing Stress
Infrared saunas activate the parasympathetic nervous system which takes us out of a stressful state, relaxing us and making us calm before bed.
Heart – Cardio-vascular benefits
As you sit in the sauna, your cardiovascular output increases significantly to facilitate the bodies heat response system.
Study – One study out of Finland showed that men who used sauna regularly compared with those who did not were 22% less likely to die from cardiovascular related causes of death. Sauna users were also 40% less likely to die from all causes of premature death, regardless of age or lifestyle factors.
During infrared sauna blood vessels dilate, heart rate increases, and circulation increases as your body works to carry more oxygen into the joints and muscles. It’s not unusual for users to be panting heavily by the end of a hot sauna session. This work on a regular basis mimics the work of jogging or even running when using sauna at higher temperatures and proves to be an effective way at providing cardiovascular conditioning on the body.
Through regular use, sauna can increase the total amount of oxygen that the blood can carry too, making for better sustained cardiovascular performance and plasma volume.
As the infrared sauna increases your blood circulation, you begin to breathe more heavily to facilitate the increase in oxygen requirement from your body due to vasodilation talked about in the previous chapter
As the circulation begins to increase in any painful or inflamed areas, take the hands for example, this oxygen rich blood enters the muscle and circulates the joint, creating relief from the pain. This increased circulation helps move out any debris from the area and helps minimise the build-up of inflammatory markers within the muscle or joint.
Hydration is also being moved through the blood, assisting in further joint lubrication and minimising pain.
Increase circulation also allows any micronutrients and muscle tissues easy access to the damaged site, making it more possible for your body to repair any damage to the joint, muscle, or bone. into the joint providing a sense of ease.
Increase in mobility
Infrared Sauna also acts as a quick way to increase our stretching ability and overall mobility. The mechanism for which is like the above. As our circulation increases, our joints become freer as a product of increased blood and oxygen flow.
The infrared sauna works by heating the body deeply. This heat penetrates down into the subcutaneous layer of the skin, where we begin to sweat from. This isn’t a surface sweat, it’s a deep sweat. And because we are sweating from the subcutaneous layer where your body has stored all these toxins as a protective mechanism, in infrared sauna you are sweating and removing these long storage toxins out for good. Whilst in comfort, listening to music or reading a book.