Traditionally, saunas have been used for relaxation and cleansing. However, today saunas are being used more for specific health and fitness benefits. Whether you are a sauna veteran or a newbie, you will have probably heard that it can be great for stress relief, skin, blood circulation and sleep. But do you know about the lesser known benefits, and more specifically, how sauna use can directly affect brain and body?
Yes, it may sound hard to believe, but regular trips to the sauna can aid in new brain cell growth. Research has shown that sauna use increases levels of norepinephrine, a stress hormone that increases focus and attention. It’s also been known to increase levels of prolactin, which promotes myelin growth, helping your brain to function faster and repair nerve cell damage. The heat in saunas increases BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) which encourages neurogenesis (brain cell growth) which can improve your ability to learn and also increases long term memory.
Saunas have traditionally been used in meditative rituals all over the world, and it’s not hard to see why. The solitude and serenity of the sauna can encourage great introspection and relaxation. The sauna gives you a moment in time where you can relax and do nothing. As your mind naturally wanders and drifts off, it can be easier to meditate and find your Zen.
You may have heard your doctor recommend sauna use for muscle recovery after an injury, but did you know that saunas can actually help boost muscle growth and strength? When your body is exposed to heat, it gradually gets used to the sensation, causing a number of beneficial changes to your body. Some of these changes include increased plasma volume and blood flow to your heart and muscles which leads to both an increase in muscle mass and better overall athletic endurance.
Saunas are great for when you want to melt away the tensions and stresses of everyday life. The massaging effect of a sauna can sooth knotted muscles and jangling nerves. In short, you body and mind will feel renewed and restored after a good sauna session.
You may feel relaxed in a sauna but did you know that your body is actually hard at work burning calories. With a single sauna session you will burn as many calories as you would when you are jogging or rowing for a 30 minute period.
To conclude, if you are considering an alternative way to better your general health and well-being then investing in a sauna may be the way to go.