SOURCE OF REGENERATION
First and foremost, regular saunas strengthen the immune system. The body’s blood vessels are “trained” to react quickly in order to adjust the body temperature upwards or downwards. This switching mechanism strengthens the veins and arteries, keeping them elastic. In Finnish literature, saunas have been referred to as a “source of regeneration”. Medical research is constantly providing new evidence on the positive effects on body and soul of exposing naked skin to heat and cold.
Finland’s sauna tradition goes back several hundred years. Here in Norway, very few people realise that taking a sauna is a process. Sitting in the heat for as long as you can stand it is not only the wrong way to do it but can be harmful to your health. To deliver the desired effect, taking a sauna requires different cycles of both heat and cold in a defined order. Once you feel you have had enough heat, you must leave the sauna. Switching between hot and cold stimulates both the autonomous and somatic nervous systems. The heat, which dilates the blood vessels, reduces muscular tension and activates the body’s sweating mechanism. A cold shower or bath makes the nervous system reverse this process, causing the blood vessels to contract and the pulse to normalise. The result is an incredible feeling of health and wellbeing.
Cooling down is just as important a part of the sauna cycle as warming up. Experienced sauna users like to take a hot shower and wait for a few minutes before entering the cold pool. Lower yourself slowly into the pool, putting your head under water last of all. There are no rules as to the order in which you should use the different sauna rooms, for how long and how often. One useful piece of advice is to listen to your body. The slightest sign of discomfort tells you that enough is enough.
Hot and effective
There is a seemingly endless list of the sauna’s beneficial effects, but here are some of them in no particular order:
- It provides deep cleansing of the entire body
- It boosts and strengthens the body’s immune system
- It boosts the metabolism
- It makes the skin “younger”, by nourishing it from within
- It treats eczema and other skin problems
- It reduces colds and flu
- It relieves pain and chronic complaints
- It boosts the circulation and oxygen uptake
- It has a protective effect on the arteries, something which is particularly important for diabetics
- It helps to regulate high blood pressure
- It has a relaxing effect and reduces muscle pain
- It releases heavy metals such as copper, cadmium, lead and zinc from the body
- It counteracts stress and aids sleep
- It relieves low mood and depression
- It has a balancing effect on the psyche and emotional life
Here we have collected a number of articles that discuss the various health benefits of saunas.
Forskning.no 09.01.2018: Badstue er like sunt som trening [A sauna is as good for you as training]
Telegraph 09.10.2017: Going to a sauna twice a week cuts pneumonia risk
Truththeory.com 18.05.2016: What happens to your body after using a sauna