10 Sauna Benefits That Will Blow Your Mind

Sauna therapy (including infrared) is an ancient method of detoxifying and healing the body, mind, and spirit.

When it comes to sauna benefits, they stem from a sauna’s ability to help your body detox. Yep, a relaxing sauna can help you remove more toxins than almost any other mode of detoxification!

Our bodies are built to detox to a certain extent on their own. However, because we are exposed to so many more toxins today than ever before in human history, it’s important for us to practice simple detox measures regularly.

I love saunas because they are super safe and make me feel amazing. They also activate our greatest detox organ… OUR SKIN!

Saunas are nothing new

Throughout history, humans have used sauna therapy as a safe and powerful means of detoxification. Examples include Native American sweat lodges and Finnish wood-fired saunas, where saunas have been in use for over 2,000 years.

10 Sauna Benefits (that will blow your mind!)

Sauna health benefits are amazing. Here’s are ten of the biggies.

Sauna Benefits #1 –  Extreme stress reduction

Saunas are huge stress fighters. Thanks to sugar, coffee, lack of sleep, stressed adrenals, and toxic chemical exposure, many of us are stuck in the sympathetic or “fight or flight” state. Saunas encourage our bodies to go into the parasympathetic state, which allows us to de-stress, digest, rest, and heal.

Sauna Benefits #2 – Balance hormones

Stress reduction helps to lower stress hormones (cortisol). When cortisol is kept in balance, thyroid, insulin, DHEA, testosterone, and estrogen are also kept in balance. In fact, progesterone levels can increase if we keep our cortisol in healthy range. Saunas help the adrenals secrete aldosterone, which helps keep electrolytes in balance too.

Sauna Benefits #3 – Get superpowers!

Saunas can make it seem like you’ve acquired super healing strength. A number of studies show that near infrared saunas can significantly improve tissue and wound healing, including retinal injury!

One study found that mice who were blinded by chemicals had their eyesight damage completely reversed because of NIR therapy. Finnish and German studies show that saunas can reduce the incidence of cold and flu by about 30%.

Sauna Benefits #4 – Fountain of youth

Near infrared saunas can help reduce signs of aging and help your skin be healthier and younger looking. The red light stimulates collagen and elastin production. Collagen and elastin help plump and firm the skin which can also help alleviate stretch marks and cellulite.

Deep sweating can also help improve skin cell turnover. It can remove bacteria from the skin, which helps with acne and improves skin health. Additionally, NIR saunas are shown to reduce inflammation, which can alleviate skin issues such as psoriasis and eczema.

Sauna Benefits #5 – Lose weight effortlessly

Saunas can help with weight loss. Saunas can increase heart rate while lowering blood pressure and increasing oxygenation and metabolic rate. These physiological affects are incredibly similar to cardio exercise!

A study involving a group of women riding stationary bicycles demonstrated a 444% increase in weight loss for the group exposed to near infrared light when compared to the exercise only group. Far infrared radiant heat can burn more than 600 calories in a 30 minute session! (That’s my kind of exercise 😉 )

Near infrared saunas can also help with weight loss by stimulating human growth hormone which helps keep us young and fit.

Sauna Benefits #6 – Improve circulation and oxygenation

When you sit in a hot sauna, your body temperature begins to rise. This causes your blood vessels to dilate, which increases blood flow and overall circulation. Blood brings nutrients and oxygen to all body tissues and help them heal. Studies show that infrared therapy recharges mitochondria, so it’s reaching us at a cellular level and is a great practice for increasing energy and stamina.

Sauna Benefits #7 – Avoid heart disease

We already know that saunas reduce blood pressure, increase oxygenation and circulation, all of which support heart health. Studies show saunas are less likely than exercise itself to cause cardiac episodes in men who have underlying heart conditions. However, saunas are just as effective at increasing cardiac output (exercising the heart) as exercise, making them a great alternative for those with some heart conditions that make exercise potentially dangerous.

Sauna Benefits #8 – Helps with medical conditions

Saunas have been shown to be useful in alleviating symptoms associated with depression, autoimmune disease, and chronic pain and fatigue. It helps with chronic tension headaches. Sauna therapy reduced pain and fatigue associated with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.

Sauna therapy has even been used to support various cancer treatments. It is known that high temperatures can kill cancer cells, usually without hurting normal cells and body tissue.

Far infrared therapy inhibited the growth of solid tumor cellsOne study showed that the use of hyperthermia alone resulted in complete overall response rates of 13%. Using hyperthermia, in addition to other treatment modalities, has shown significant improvement in tumors of the head, neck, breast, brain, bladder, cervix, rectum, lung, esophagus, vulva and vagina, and also for melanoma.

Sauna Benefits #9 – Removes heavy metals & chemicals

Many toxins seem to prefer to dump into sweat versus blood or urine. Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury have been shown in studies to be excreted through the skin as well or better than they are excreted in urine.

Furthermore, a Canadian study found that the concentration of phytates (chemicals in toys, fragrances, cosmetics, etc) was twice as high in sweat than in urine or blood.

Another study found BPA in 80% of the subjects’ sweat, while finding no detectable levels in their blood or urine. This seems to point to sweat being the best method for excreting the toxin.

Sauna Benefits #10 – Protect Your Brain

A recent study conducted by researchers in Finland — a country where it’s not unusual for a home have a sauna — found that men who used a sauna four to seven times a week for an average length of 15 minutes had a 66 percent lower risk of developing dementia, and 65 percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s, compared to men who used the sauna only once a week. (Source.) WOWZERS!

Sauna Benefits BONUS – Live to 100

And finally, one huge, landmark study found that the more men used their sauna, the lower the risk for sudden cardiac arrest, fatal cardiovascular disease, fatal coronary heart disease, and ALL-CAUSE MORTALITY. Basically, the more you sauna, the longer you’re gonna live.

“Can’t I just work out hard and reap all the benefits of sweating?”

While exercise is certainly good for you, it has different benefits than sauna sweating. During aerobic exercise, your heart rate is increased but the blood flow to vital organs is lowered. A sauna increases heart rate and blood flow to vital organs, allowing for the excretion of toxins from those organs.

Impressive, isn’t it?

We were truly amazed as we began digging into sauna benefits! Such a great tool for healthy living.

Coming up: an article about the different types of saunas, which is best, plus a review of the sauna we are using.

How about you?

Do you sauna? Which sauna benefits surprised you most?

References

  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC152311/
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25705824
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16120414
  • http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2130724
  • http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/16/3/215.pdf
  • http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2012/07/31/3554997.htm

39 Comments

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  1. Great article! There are numerous benefits of Saunas on health and overall wellbeing. They have been great in curing diseases such as ear infections too.

  2. Great article but I spotted a blooper.

    The article says, “Furthermore, a Canadian study found that the concentration of phytates”…

    WHOOPS!

    Phytates are fine – what the research study says is about the “Human elimination of phthalate compounds: blood, urine, and sweat (BUS) study”

    BIG difference – phthalates are dangerous chemicals and probably hormone disruptors, Phytates are fabulously useful natural food chemicals – more info on that given by Dr Greger at his site https://nutritionfacts.org/video/phytates-for-rehabilitating-cancer-cells/

  3. I will consider the outdoor model from Costco. Go from Jacuzzi to sauna. No technical data, wattage, temperature.

  4. Would you ever use a sauna with a toddler? I’ve had two naturopaths recommend it for my 16 mo who has a really hard time detoxing. They both recommended to take her in for just 2 mins on lower temp. We just bought our own…

  5. I love my sauna ! I was devastated after diagnosed and treated for breast cancer that they would not recommend saunas as my lymph system was compromised. I waited 2 long years and slowly added them in and going on 2nd year w no problems! LOVE this article?

  6. Hello, thank you for this inspirative post.
    I agree with you. Sauna is very good for the health, but do not forget there are important rules to respect.
    A sauna can be harmful if people ignore some simple rules like: avoid alcohol, don’t go to sauna if you’re ill, drink water, etc.
    I like sauna very much, and after many years visiting the sauna and having own sauna at home, now I write about sauna and I’m trying to share my passion with other people.
    Best regards,
    Michaela
    http://www.myownsauna.com

  7. I did not know about the benefits of the sauna until I read this post. So I think I will have sauna more often. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Do all these benefits occur from traditional saunaa as well, any links for this? Our gym doesnt have infrared.

  9. Thanks for nice article. Please, come to Lithuania Pirtis (sauna), we have very old traditions and we’ll help everyone to enjoy benefits of Pirtis 🙂

    • I will be traveling to Lithuania, I will look forward to experience old traditions.

  10. I just tried the isauna love it you are wonderful person for you advice!

  11. What about if you have saline implants? I’ve heard the infrared sauna is not good with them? What do you think ? ❤️️

  12. What a list! Is there anything a sauna can’t do? I know you mentioned your portable sauna… wondering if you came across any difference in benefits between the portable infrared style, and more traditional steam saunas?

  13. what about using sauna after giving birth? is it safe if I breastfeed?

    thank you

    • I am curious about this, too!

    • It should be fine. Consider starting with just a few minutes at a time.

  14. Was about to sell mine, but I suppose I need to tough it out, I have severe RA the fatigue is killing me, I just hate the heat. Your medal was encouraging. Thx

  15. Sir, How do we prepare Sauna therapy for use and detoxification. Thanks.

  16. Hi! Do you consider bikram yoga as some sort of sauna? The room is usually heated up to 100 degrees and you’re doing yoga in this room for 90 minutes sweating like hell. Or by sauna you only talking about the regular relaxing spa. I go to sauna in my gym, it’s usually not hop at all… Very little sweat, kind of pointless. I grew up in Russia, we go to up to 200 degree sauna. You can’t even stay there longer than 5 min lol

  17. Hi Genevieve — thanks so much for this info! I have access to a regular (wood) sauna at my gym. It seems like the best health benefits are from the near infrared saunas, but is it still beneficial to use the old fashioned kind? Also, if I use it after I swim, should I shower off the chlorine first?

    • There are still plenty of benefits to the traditional saunas! So yes, use it. 🙂 As for the chlorine, I’m not a dermatological expert, but I’d think that the body would sweat out the chlorine once you got in there, and then you could shower afterward.

      • In many Finnish saunas they require nakedness in order to avoid chlorine soaked bathing suits in the sauna. I have heard that the hot fumes can be toxic, so yes, please do shower off first!

        • That makes good sense to me. Do what Rick says! ?

  18. Just watched the video and am excited about the benefits. Can you talk about the cost to operate? I imagine your electric bill is taking a pretty big hit. Thanks

  19. Yes wondering which types of sauna’s you recommend?

  20. It seems there are benefits to both near and far infrared saunas. Do you recommend a particular type of both? I’ve been meaning to check out the saunas at http://www.therasage.com but haven’t yet. What brand do you recommend? Can’t wait to read more on saunas!

    • I chose a near infrared sauna for a few reasons.

      1. Far infrared generally emit harmful electromagnetic waves (whereas near infrared saunas produce almost no EMF)
      2. Light from far infrared saunas doesn’t penetrate the body as well
      3. Far infrared saunas typically use more electricity too

      We have been using and loving this little portable sauna from SaunaSpace. Will do a full video review of it in a week or two. ?

  21. I’m looking at a portable one until we move. Any suggestions?

  22. Can you recommend a sauna? Which do you have!?
    Thank you,
    Amanda

  23. We’ve had a brand new sauna in our home since we’ve moved in almost 5 years ago. I had no idea there were so many health benefits! I think we’ll give it a try. Is it safe to use when your pregnant (26 wks)?

    • Tamara, using the sauna is NOT safe while you are pregnant! Be careful!

    • Sorry, no sauna-ing when you are pregnant. ?

      • Genevieve, do you know anything about the benefits/ drawbacks of using the sauna while TTC? I can’t find much online.
        Thanks,
        Carol

        • I would hold off. The first several weeks of a pregnancy are the most fragile and saunas do induce detox. Baby dust to you!!!

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