Being sweaty hasn’t traditionally been regarded as a good thing (unless you’re a professional athlete). In fact, we’ve been told to do the exact opposite.
Do you remember the ads like I do (OK, these are dating me…)?
Want to be confident and secure? Don’t sweat.
Want to be successful in your career? Never let them see you sweat.
And for us ladies, make sure you’ve got something that’s strong enough for a man, but made for a woman!
Now of course, having body odor is not a great thing. But in my experience helping people detoxify I’ve found that optimizing the body’s detoxification system actually helps reduce or even eliminate stinky B.O. without using aluminum-laden antiperspirants. And interestingly, sweating is one of those things that promotes detoxification.
Sweating through physical activity is a great thing. But some people don’t sweat regularly either due to a lack of physical activity or maybe they just don’t sweat easily.
A few years ago when I was struggling with chronic Lyme disease along with chronic pain and chronic fatigue, I was in just that type of situation. I needed to detoxify, but couldn’t work out enough to work up a sweat. And so I turned to the age-old tradition of using a sauna. Here are some benefits of regular sauna therapy that you won’t want to miss:
BENEFITS OF SAUNA THERAPY:
- Promotes detoxification – Heavy metals arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury as well as the chemicals BPA and phthalates are released through sweat.
- Blood pressure and cardiovascular health – Regular sauna use improves circulation and may help lower blood pressure in those with hypertension and improve cardiac function in congestive heart failure.
- Alleviates pain and improves joint mobility – This can be helpful for arthritis and chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia as well as helping with post-exercise recovery.
Improves skin hydration – Studies have shown that regular use of sauna can improve skin quality and elasticity.
- Longevity and brain health – A Finnish study found that men who used sauna 2-3 times per week had a 23% lower risk of death from a fatal cardiovascular event than those who used it just once per week. And those who were more frequent users (4 to 7 times per week) had a 48% lower risk. The same group also found a reduced incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease in frequent sauna bathers.
- Metabolism and weight – Metabolic rate can increase with sauna use. A 2009 study showed that infrared sauna use for 3 months resulted in weight loss and decreased waist circumference
- Lung function – May improve respiratory function in patients with chronic conditions like asthma, bronchitis, and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Should not be used during acute respiratory infection though!
- Immune function – A study showed that twice weekly Finnish sauna (dry heat) for six months reduced the common cold during months 4 to 6 of the protocol. I used sauna therapy to combat my chronic Lyme and associated infections.
- Chronic fatigue – A case report of two women with severe chronic fatigue who received far infrared sauna sessions for 15 minutes followed by rest for 30 minutes, 5 days a week for 6 weeks, and then continued 1 to 2 times per week, reported improvements in fatigue, pain, and sleep. Near infrared light which is found in full spectrum infrared saunas can increase ATP production (energy molecules) when bare skin is exposed.
CONTRAINDICATIONS AND CAUTIONS TO SAUNA USE:
- Unstable angina
- Recent myocardial infarction (heart attack)
- Severe aortic stenosis
- Severe orthostatic hypotension
- Early or complicated pregnancy
- Current fever
- Certain skin conditions (allergic skin rashes, urticaria, open wounds or sores)
- Care should be taken to maintain hydration and to replace electrolytes lost through sweating
- The use of alcohol should be avoided prior to and during sauna use
Talk to your doctor before using a sauna
Stay-tuned to find out which type of sauna I choose and why and to learn how you can win your very-own in-home sauna!