Saunas are more than just the bookend to a great workout at the gym. In fact, sitting in a sauna is associated with tremendous health benefits. These benefits can improve your longevity, and increase your quality of life.

But if you have never been to a sauna before, you might be a little skeptical. If that’s the case, some of the benefits of going into a sauna might shock you. Keep reading for seven surprising benefits of using a sauna.

1. Reduces Inflammation

One thing saunas inherently do is reduce inflammation. This is what makes them such a great finale to an awesome workout. By increasing circulation, the heat in a sauna will help relax your stiff muscles.

But sitting in a sauna will also reduce inflammation levels in the blood. This is what makes saunas good for more than just a post-workout pitstop. People with chronic pain can be seriously aided by saunas.

If you struggle with arthritis, fibromyalgia, or other chronic pain diseases, making a few trips to a sauna every week can help you. Saunas cannot cure your condition, but they can help make the discomfort more palatable.

2. Increased Circulation

The heat from saunas helps your blood vessels to expand. This is great for your muscles, your brain, and especially any injuries you might have.

Increased circulation means that your blood is carrying nutrients to different parts of your body faster than before. This is exactly what you need to heal from an injury.

Increased blood flow to the brain is also really good for neural activity. This doesn’t mean it will make you smarter, but it could improve your cognition and help prevent certain neural diseases. This is what makes sitting in a sauna good for your long-term health as well as your short-term health.

Similarly, the increased circulation to your heart caused in a sauna can help prevent things like cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure, according to a 2018 study in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. The report also says that increased time in a sauna can reduce the risk for many other diseases, as well as alleviate chronic conditions.

Increased circulation will also boost your immunity and help you fight off certain colds and bugs. If you’re staying healthy, you can thank your sauna routine. Ultimately, all of the health benefits caused by increased circulation could increase your lifespan.

3. Helps You Lose Weight

Now, sitting in a sauna is not a replacement for your workout regimen. You still have to pump some iron to be in good shape. But it can help you lose weight.

It is estimated that saunas help with weight loss because the heat raises your heart rate. Like running on a treadmill, raising your heart rate will help burn fat.

That being said, you can’t walk into a sauna for the first time and sit in there for a long time. Like exercise, you need to work up to maximum benefits. Try sitting in a sauna for five or ten minutes every couple of days until you’re ready to ramp up to 20-40 minutes per visit.

4. Social Benefits of Sitting in a Sauna

More and more people are purchasing or building home saunas. These are great for daily uses. But one of the perks of a sauna is it promotes social activity.

You cannot bring your phone or laptop into a sauna due to fear of damage. Headphones are not a good idea either. This frees you up to chat with your friends, or maybe make some new ones.

Studies show that there are many benefits to socialization. Embrace your sauna time as a social experience.

5. Rids Your Body of Toxins

Do you know what people mean when they say “sweat it out?” After sitting in a sauna a few times, you will.

Saunas are great for ridding your body of toxins. Any harmful chemicals come to the surface and disappear via sweat. Repeating this process frequently can prove beneficial to your overall wellness.

But if you’re going to sweat all the toxins away, you need to drink a lot of water before and after. It is not helpful to get lightheaded in the sauna and risk passing out.

While you are getting rid of toxins, you are also producing helpful chemicals while in the sauna. The steam in the sauna will trigger the release of endorphins in your body.

Endorphins make you feel good and can motivate the repetition of healthy behavior. Producing endorphins is one of the many benefits of sauna therapy.

6. Great Skin

Glowing skin doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. It is actually all about hydration. The heat and steam present in a sauna will open up your pores and help you sweat away the toxins.

Think of sweating as a way of rinsing your pores. By stimulating this rinsing with a trip to the sauna, you are helping your skin achieve a healthy balance.

Additionally, if you struggle with pimples or blemishes, saunas can help. Increased blood flow is what helps heal deep cystic acne and leave your skin looking fresh.

7. Relaxation

Last But not least, saunas are a great way to relax. This is true for a couple of different reasons.

First, saunas provide time away from screens. This allows your brain to slow down.

Second, your time in the sauna will help you slow down your breathing. You can minimize anxiety and let go of stress this way.

Third, you walk into a sauna with the intention of resetting. That intention is important with any sort of health practice, saunas included.

Settle Into Sauna Time

Now that you know how great sitting in a sauna can be for you, what are you waiting for? Find a sauna near you or buy one for your home.

Looking for more health tips? Check out our Life section for more information.

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