Winters are cold in Wisconsin, where The Wellness Way corporate office is located. You won’t break a sweat easily outdoors, even when wearing lots of layers. It would be a shame to go the whole winter without breaking into a good sweat in a nice warm sauna. Why? Sweating is good for you inside and out. There are massive benefits that make it worth sweating in the sauna. Let’s talk about some top perks and see if you agree that the benefits of taking a sauna are worth the sweat.
1. Sweating is Great for the Skin and Helps You Age Well
Now, we’re not saying it will reverse aging. It won’t reverse aging because, well, you’re already older than when you started reading this article, but a sauna will help you age well. Your skin is your largest organ, and you need to take care of it. The heat from a sauna will increase your blood circulation and heart rate and induce vasodilation. This gets blood out to your skin, keeping it looking young and vibrant. Some studies even show infrared sauna sessions minimize the appearance of cellulite. Taking a sauna is also great for acne, as it opens up those pores and pushes out all the dirt and debris that accumulate there. If you want good skin, get a good sweat.
2. Saunas Support Detoxification
Sauna is great for supporting your detox with a good sweat session. Sweating is one of the ways toxins can exit your body. No matter how you get yourself sweating, your body is detoxing. A sauna makes that happen faster. Being in the sauna gets the blood circulating, which is important for the lymphatic system. With an infrared sauna, the heat gets deep into the tissue helping the body to remove toxins.
3. Taking Saunas Keeps Microbes in Check
One of the greatest sauna benefits is the microbial changes it creates in your body. Yeasts, bacteria, and viruses are very sensitive to high heat. That’s why when you’re sick, you get a fever. Your body is trying to get rid of those pathogens. If you know you’ve been near sniffle-y kids or exposed to an illness while traveling, hop in a sauna and crank the heat up to 150 degrees to kill those little buggers.
4. Saunas Support Cardiovascular Health
One of the most studied benefits of the sauna is that it’s excellent for heart health. The sauna raises your heart rate, increases blood circulation, and boosts your immune function. A sauna affects the body just like a cardiovascular workout. It gets things moving. Studies have shown it normalizes blood pressure, reduces arterial stiffness, and has beneficial effects on some blood markers. (1)
5. Reduce Mental Stress with Saunas
I have heard a lot of anecdotal evidence of how saunas reduce mental stress, especially from women. Stress is a significant contributor to illness, so if there is anything that can help reduce your stress, you should be doing it. One study took two groups of people with major depression and gave one a sauna treatment. The other received a “sham” treatment with the same conditions as the first group minus the heat. The sauna treatment reduced depression by 50% over the sham treatment, and the effects of just one treatment were evident six weeks later. (2)
6. Saunas May Improve Sleep
Now, this is one of the bests sauna benefits. There’s little, if any, research on saunas and sleep right now, but they really should start researching the benefits. Many people report better sleep with regular sauna sessions. It may be because of the heat and the time to relax, but whatever the mechanism, saunas seem to be great for sleep. Try going to a sauna at a spa or YCMA in the evening and see how you sleep that night.
Doc’s Favorite Sauna is Infrared
Sweating has massive benefits no matter how you do it. Whether you steam up the bathroom, do some high-intensity exercise, or go to your local YMCA’s sauna or steam room, you are still getting a sweat going. It’s especially great to sweat when you’re exercising. It’s great for detoxing, great for lymphatics, and great for the skin. Doc’s favorite way to sweat is using an infrared sauna that uses both near and far infrared rays. These go deeper into the skin and heat you up at the cellular level, which raises your temperature faster. It also makes it easier to tolerate high heat for longer. Infrared saunas are popping up in many places, including local spas, so you can likely find a session near you. But even if you don’t have access to an infrared sauna, you can get many benefits from sweating.
Learn more about infrared saunas in this quick tip from Dr. Patrick:
Enjoy the Benefits of Saunas in Winter and Year-round
The nice thing about taking a sauna in Wisconsin winters is that you can jump from one extreme temperature directly into the other in the snow. The body does great in extremes, especially going from high to low temperatures. It has the fantastic health benefit of inducing shock proteins and is excellent for your thyroid. Don’t worry if you don’t have cold weather; you can also jump in a cold pool to get that other temperature extreme. Saunas have benefits year-round, so go ahead and enjoy the relaxing sauna. Sweat out all the bad stuff and soak in all the benefits.