Cedar Barrel Sauna: Health Benefits
The existence of saunas is not a recent phenomenon. For thousands of years, a certain version of the sauna has existed in different regions of the world. Mayans, as mentioned in the Harvard Health Publications, used sweat houses 3,000 years ago. In Finland, saunas have been used for thousands of years as well; so much so that 1 out of every 3 Finns still use them. As this beneficial practice catches on, more and more nations are accepting it in its culture. In the United States, for example, there are thought to be over a million saunas as reported in “Sauna: Health benefits, risks, and precautions,” By MaryAnn de Pietro.
With all this heritage and following, there have been benefits found that are linked to the use of saunas. In this article, we will be going over some of these benefits, namely: increased blood circulation decreased muscle or joint pains, decreased stress levels and improved cardiovascular health and others. But with all these benefits, users must not be blinded to think that they do not have to express care when using the sauna. We have included these precautions at the end for anyone who may need them.
Increased Blood Circulation & Heart Rate
When using a sauna, the body reacts to the increased surrounding temperature by attempting to cool it down. This results in the body trying to dissipate heat as efficiently as possible. One manifestation of this heat dissipation is the increased blood circulation by the body through the means of higher heart rate. By circulating the blood, the body avoids creating a hot spot of blood which keeps the whole body cooler overall. This is very similar to to the concept of heat pipes found in the radiators of cars. This increased heart rate accompanied by increased blood flow has been compared to having a similar effect as having done low to moderate exercises.
Decreased Muscle or Joint Pains
Since the body is reacting to the heat by attempting to dissipate quickly, the body also increases the diameter of the blood vessels to accommodate the increased blood flow. With a larger volume of blood passing through these blood vessels, micro torn and sore muscles are soothed. The increased blood flow contributes to more oxygen reaching the sore muscle which helps decrease soreness.
Decreased Stress Levels
Stress which is associated with the feeling of frustration and helplessness is decreased when attending a sauna session. This is achieved by the sauna user by fully experiencing the session and letting go of all worries due to the conducive environment. Through isolation, the sauna user can clear her/his mind allowing her to think more objectively and clearly. Furthermore, the increased blood flow help promotes relaxation. All this contributes to the feeling of improved well being.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Due to the increased heart rate, the heart and its system undergo similar conditions as light to moderate exercises. If done regularly, the cardiovascular system can get a workout and improve.
In a study done in Finland, 2,315 men were observed for 20 years. Their age is falling in the 42 – 60 age bracket, they found that for men who attended a sauna session 2-3 times a week, the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease is 22% lower compared to a man who only attended once a week. In line with these men, who attended sauna seasons 4-7 times a week were 63% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease compared to a man who only attended once a week. Though this research is not definitive, the results are promising.
With all these benefits, it is easy to be tempted to forego care. Therefore we’ve added a list of precautions to guide you through your use of saunas.
Blood Pressure Risks
Saunas are enclosed controlled heated environments. With proper use, the heat can create an environment that is soothing and relaxing for users who healthy. Unfortunately, this environment is not safe for everyone, especially users with recurring high blood pressure. Since the sauna creates an environment where the heat would result in a heart rate increase, people who are prone to high blood pressure could be easily triggered. This puts them in high risk of suffering high blood pressure related risks.
Given that saunas are powered by heat and are very relaxing, users could easily lose track of time. This is dangerous because sauna users run the risk of dehydration. If the sauna user is not careful, they may fall asleep and unknowingly get dehydrated. The best way to combat this is to set a timer which would remind the sauna user that a certain time limit has been reached. The usual recommended amount of time for first-time users is a maximum of five to ten minutes. As their bodies get more acclimated to the heat, the maximum time may be gradually increased to a maximum of twenty minutes.
Throughout the pregnancy cycle, the body stays hyper alert sensing if the mother is in danger. If the body senses that it is in danger, it strives to protect the mother over the unborn child. Given this, higher than normal temperatures can stress a pregnant woman. If stressed enough the body could react negatively, hurting the baby or the mother.
Hence, to properly appreciate the great benefits of a sauna, it is recommended that if you are susceptible to these risks to consult a doctor before using a sauna.
In conclusion, upon taking all necessary precautions, saunas are very beneficial to overall health. With proper precautions, the sauna user may reach the great benefits in the form of increased blood circulation & heart rate; decreased muscle or joint pains; decreased stress levels; improved cardiovascular health and many more.