When it comes to improving your health, some of the simplest strategies can have a tremendous impact.
Sweating in a sauna, for example, has many great health benefits, including expelling of toxins, improving blood circulation, killing disease-causing microbes and improving mitochondrial function.
Research has even shown that regular sauna use correlates with a reduced risk of death from any cause, including lethal cardiovascular events, and may help stave off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Sauna Bathing Promotes Brain Health
There are many reasons why sauna use may boost brain health, including lowering inflammation and blood pressure, improving vascular function and enhancing relaxation and well-being.
Other research has shown sauna use increases levels of norepinephrine, a stress hormone that increases focus and attention, as well as prolactin, which may promote myelin growth, helping your brain to function faster and repair nerve cell damage.
Sauna Benefits Your Heart as Well
As your body is subjected to heat stress, it gradually becomes acclimated to the heat, prompting a number of beneficial changes and adaptations.
These changes include increased blood flow to your heart and muscles (which increase athletic endurance) and increased muscle mass due to greater levels of heat-shock proteins and human growth hormone (HGH).
Heat, Sweat and Detoxification
Your skin is the largest organ in your body and your sweat glands are one way of cleansing your skin and releasing toxins that build up in your cells. Lack of sweating may actually result in an increased toxic load over time, which in turn can adversely affect your heart and brain.
Compared to other detoxification strategies, sauna bathing has a number of benefits, and may be one of the best ways to lower your toxic load in a natural way. While still often downplayed by modern medicine as a means of detoxification, studies have shown that sweating can help excrete heavy metals such as cadmium, arsenic, lead and mercury, for example, all of which can have very serious health effects.
Other Health Benefits of Sauna Therapy
Individuals suffering from fibromyalgia have also experienced great results from using saunas to reduce discomfort and pain. In one small study, 44 patients with fibromyalgia found a reduction in pain between 33 and 77 percent.
Six months after the study ended, the participants continued to report a reduction in pain between 28 and 68 percent.
Sauna therapy has also demonstrated benefits for patients with asthma, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis report positive effects from infrared sauna therapy specifically. After four weeks and eight treatments, pain and stiffness were significantly reduced and improvements were seen in increased energy.