A day at the sauna has long been associated with relaxation, self-care, and mental wellbeing. However, a new report shares emerging evidence that sauna bathing is also associated with a reduction in vascular disease and mental health disorders. The evidence, as Science Daily reports, suggests regular sauna baths and improved quality of life, are in fact, linked.
According to the report, sauna bathing also is linked to reductions in neuro-cognitive diseases, nonvascular conditions, as well as the alleviation of conditions such as headache, skin diseases, flu, and arthritis.
The findings were published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
The research team was led by scientists from the University of Jyväskylä, the University of Eastern Finland, and the University of Bristol. Researchers first conducted a comprehensive literature review on the effects of Finnish sauna baths, which are defined by exposure to environmental temperatures of between 80 and 100 degrees C (158-212 degree F) for a brief period of time. A number of positive findings were reported with this first step, suggesting sauna bathing health benefits are linked “to the effects of sauna on circulatory, respiratory, cardiovascular, and immune functions,” the article stated.
Regular sauna baths are beneficial in that they stabilize the autonomic nervous system, reduce inflammation and blood pressure, while also reducing oxidative stress, circulation of bad cholesterol, vascular resistance, and arterial stiffness. And just in case that alone isn’t enough to start doing the mental math associated with figuring how to afford a home sauna, there’s more.
According to the report, regular sauna bathing also contributes to increasing circulation hormones to beneficial levels. No time for a sauna bath and your workout today? Science has you covered once again. Findings show that the physiological responses resulting from a standard sauna bath are equivalent to those resulting from moderate- to high-intensity activity, such as walking.
Even short-term exposure to saunas is proven to have plenty of health benefits, say the same research team that has published several other studies. Noted as health benefits are a reduction in blood pressure, inflammation, arterial compliance, cardiovascular functions, and specific cardiovascular biomarkers. And if you need a mental pick-me-up, feelings of relations and well-being associated with sauna sessions might be linked to an increased level of circulating endorphins, the research team reported.