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Sauna: Sweating is so healthy!

by Josephine Andrews
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Many people associate a visit to the sauna with wellness and health. The sweating treatment is intended to strengthen the immune system, get the circulation going and ensure relaxation. Read here how healthy sauna is , what you should pay attention to and whether you can lose weight with it.

Is the sauna healthy?

A visit to the sauna is popular. More than 25 million people in Germany go to the Finnish bath every year, also known as the sweat room. For a few years now, the Finnish sauna culture has even been part of the intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO.

Things get hot in the sauna: In the classic Finnish variant, temperatures are between 80 and 100 degrees Celsius with relatively low humidity of 10 to 20 percent. Water is poured over heated rocks at regular intervals , which increases the humidity. This type of sauna is often found in public facilities such as swimming pools or thermal baths.

The infrared sauna is to be distinguished from this. Infrared heaters ensure a moderate heat of 45 to 60 degrees. Water is not used. Private individuals often install infrared saunas in their own homes. But they also like to use medical facilities.

Benefits of going to the sauna

When you sit in a sauna, you begin to sweat profusely within a few minutes. Some sauna visitors lose up to half a liter of sweat. The heat increases their skin temperature by up to ten degrees. Your body temperature warms up by up to 1.5 degrees.

The heat makes the heart beat faster and stronger. This causes the blood vessels to widen and contract again. This will make you more flexible.

This has a positive effect on blood pressure. It initially increases due to the heat, but decreases again after a visit to the sauna.

Blood circulation also improves – including in the nose and lawn area. As a result, pathogens can already be caught on the mucous membranes.

In summary, it can therefore be stated that a visit to the sauna has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system, the immune system and the body’s defences. Sweating has similar health effects to moderate exercise.

What else is a sauna good for? It has a positive effect on the psyche. During a visit, the sympathetic nervous system becomes more active to correct the temperature imbalance in the body. It often makes you feel more alert and good. A sweat cure is therefore suitable for depression and menopausal symptoms.

The heat further relaxes the muscles. This helps with tension or sore muscles, among other things. If you suffer from chronic pain or arthritis, it is best to talk to your doctor and carefully see whether a visit to the sauna improves your symptoms.

Disadvantages of going to the sauna

A visit to the sauna is not without risks. There is a risk of dehydration if you don’t drink enough before or after your sweat. Discontinue a session immediately if you experience the following symptoms:

  • dizziness
  • Headache
  • strong thirst

Avoid going to the sauna if you have a bladder infection. The heat is beneficial though. However, your body loses a lot of fluids, which worsens bladder infection symptoms.

There are conflicting study results on the connection between regular sauna visits and male fertility. While a Finnish study found a significant negative effect, this was later disproved. More research is needed to determine if there is an effect specifically for men with low sperm counts or fertility issues.

What effect does a sauna session have on the body?

Studies on the effects of a sauna on the body refer to a visit to a Finnish sauna or an infrared cabin. However, current research on the effects of sweating is often inconclusive. Further studies are therefore necessary.

The most established clinical benefits of sauna bathing are related to cardiovascular disease. There is also evidence that saunas can help people who have the following health problems:

  • rheumatic diseases such as fibromyalgia
  • chronic fatigue and pain syndrome
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • hay fever

This applies to both Finnish and infrared sauna visits.

Some athletes who go to the sauna regularly also had better training results.

Sauna when you have a cold

Sauna and cold: do they go together? no It depends on the time of your visit. Sweating strengthens the immune system in healthy people and thus helps to prevent a cold. This also applies to viral diseases.

However, a sauna for coughs, sore throats and runny noses is not a good idea. In this case, your immune system is already weakened. The heat also affects him. There is also a risk of infecting other people in public facilities. Therefore, avoid going to the sauna if you have an acute cold.

Positive effects on heart health

A small Japanese study showed that patients with chronic heart failure benefited from regular visits to an infrared sauna. After three weeks of sweating five times, you felt more productive again.

A Finnish study found that men between the ages of 42 and 60 who went to the sauna two to three times a week had a 23 percent lower risk of having a heart attack compared to men who went only once a week .

They also reduced their risk of dying from another disease. Regular visits to the sauna therefore seem to have a positive effect on life expectancy.

Sauna beginners with cardiovascular diseases should always start slowly and increase over time.

People with cardiac arrhythmia are better off avoiding going to the sauna. Also, talk to your doctor if you’re taking blood thinners.

Is sauna good for the skin?

Sauna visits also seem to have a positive effect on the skin. A small study found a protective effect of regular Finnish sauna sessions on skin physiology. Above all, the pH value of the surface and the water holding capacity of the horny layer seem to benefit.

For example, a decrease in the sebum content on the skin surface of the forehead was observed in the study participants.

Sweating should also help with psoriasis and stress-related neurodermatitis. However, those affected are best approached slowly, see whether sweating is good for their skin, and talk to their doctor about it.

Sauna and detox

Whether a sauna session is effective for detoxification is more than questionable. Some research has shown that sweating during a sauna session can release toxins from the body or skin. However, the amount found was so small that sweat is not an effective detoxifier.

Does going to the sauna help you lose weight?

Do you feel lighter after a sweat and wondering if you can lose weight in the sauna? The answer is no. You’re just losing fluid. However , fat burning is not boosted. The calorie consumption in the sauna is also low.

Although the metabolism gets going, a healthy diet and exercise are the only effective measures to lose pounds sustainably.

What is there to consider when visiting the sauna?

  • If you have any pre-existing conditions, always speak to a doctor first before using the sauna.
  • People who have already had a heart attack can also go to the sauna in consultation with their doctor. However, you should not jump into cold water afterwards or stand under a waterfall shower. This also applies to people with high blood pressure. Cool off slowly with a lukewarm shower or walk around in cool rooms.
  • When shouldn’t you go to the sauna? Sweating is forbidden if you suffer from fever, open wounds, epilepsy, rheumatic attacks or infections.
  • How often it is advisable to go to the sauna depends on how experienced you are. Beginners should start with once a week. Once your body has gotten used to the heat, there is nothing wrong with going two or three times a week.
  • How long does a sauna session last? Between 8 and 15 minutes is recommended. Three sauna sessions are possible per visit if you go to the sauna once a week. Two sauna sessions are sufficient if you are there several times a week.
  • In the case of uncomplicated pregnancies, sweating cures are still possible for experienced visitors. If you have not been in the sauna before or are unsure, it is best to talk to your doctor about it beforehand.
  • Children from the age of three are often allowed to visit a public sauna. It is important that your child is doing well. If you are unsure, it is better to talk to your pediatrician again. The duration mustn’t exceed three minutes at the beginning. Later, you can slowly increase the time to five minutes. However, never leave your child unattended and stop immediately if they feel uncomfortable. Children should also not inhale essential oils.
  • Alcohol is also taboo in the sauna.

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