Despite popular opinion, sauna benefits extend well beyond the relaxation and de-stressing that most associate with the experience. Having an escape from todayís stressful world is nothing to thumb your nose at, yet there are far more benefits of sauna that you should be aware of. Once you realize all of the potential rewards, you may just decide to go out and buy one for yourself, as more and more people around the world are doing.
Although all saunas offer a therapeutic experience, some offer more than others due to the way that the heat is delivered to the user. In the traditional sauna, with a wood-burning, gas or electric heating unit, steam comes off the rocks in the stove and heats the air in the room. This heat raises your heart rate, dilating the blood vessels and improving circulation. Due to the higher temperatures one of the benefits of sauna is increased sweating, which releases toxins from the body, similar to that which takes place during a run or other cardiovascular exercise. Add in a fragrance diffuser with some lavender or eucalyptus and all a sudden you have the added benefits of aromatherapy to further relax or maybe even invigorate you instead.
Offering even more sauna benefits is the infrared sauna, which uses special natural heat to deeply penetrate the skin directly rather than warm the air in the room. As such, they operate at much lower temperatures, creating a more breathable environment and allowing you to reap the benefits of sauna without feeling uncomfortable even after extended periods of time.
This deep heat increases your heart rate as well as your metabolism, so you can actually lose weight while you relax. Many people look to saunas to help them burn extra calories without having to get on the treadmill. The experience also loosens muscles and relaxes the entire body, which is why they are ideal for pain relief after an intense workout or to nurse an injury or tight spot.
Of course, letís not forget that sauna benefits your skin by getting rid of dirt and chemicals from pores, as well as removing dead skin cells. This can help your complexion immensely, and as such can be an effective treatment for acne, psoriasis and other blemishes.
Many studies have yet to be done to prove some of the claims of sauna benefits, particularly those of infrared. But the popularity (along with the affordability) of both continues to rise despite the lack of concrete medical evidence of the benefits of sauna. The main reason is the experience- just step into a sauna and you almost instantly feel better. The euphoric feeling that can come from steam or deep heat is so intense you may wonder how you have done without one this long.
With saunas becoming very affordable and even coming now in do-it-yourself-kits (some starting as low as $1200), you have very few excuses for not getting one. No matter the cost, itís a great investment for your health, and one you will not regret.