10 Outdoor Sauna Benefits for Your Body and Mind
Many people use an outdoor sauna simply for the relaxation or because it feels good to be immersed in warmth. Others, especially those from Scandinavian countries, love outdoor saunas because they’re ingrained in their culture. But, did you know that there is a multitude of proven benefits for your body and mind as well? Let’s look.
1) Improved Cardiovascular Health
According to a report by Harvard Medical School, a trip to your outdoor sauna will likely increase your pulse by 30% or more and almost twice as much blood will pump through you heart. It’s almost like a workout, but it doesn’t always come with a rise in blood pressure. Some studies have indicated that just two weeks of using a sauna daily can improve vascular function as a result. Most importantly, the university notes that saunas are safe for most people—including those with certain heart issues, but recommends that people touch base with their doctors before using one if they have concerns.
2) Reduced Stroke Risk
Naturally, when cardio health is improved, stroke risk tends to go down too. However, researchers ran a study to confirm this and it deserves its own point.
3) Relief from Itchy Skin Conditions
The Harvard report also indicates that people who suffer from psoriasis, a chronic disease which presents with itchy, scaly patches of skin, have fewer issues too.
4) Diminished Arthritis and Fibromyalgia Pain
When it comes to fibromyalgia, researchers used a mixture of aquatic and sauna therapy. Literally every participant in their study reported significant reductions in pain and other symptoms. Arthritis has been addressed in a number of studies under various conditions. It’s a win across the board.
5) Reduced Muscle Soreness
Research related to the impact on muscles is rather interesting. Scientists like to work with athletes because they experience rather extreme conditions and keeping them in top form is essential. This in mind, there’s a wealth of information. For example, partaking post-exercise can increase athletic performance, which researchers hypothesize comes from increased blood volume. Partaking pre-exercise can also decrease muscle soreness after exercise. And, if you’re just plain sore after a hard day, it will help with that too.
6) Improved Breathing
Research shows that people certain breathing conditions may have less wheezing and can breathe easier after being in a sauna. This is due to a mixture of the heat and humidity, which loosens phlegm and opens airways. Of course, the reduced stress doesn’t hurt either. Additional research suggests using one can decrease the risk of developing a respiratory disease too.
7) Reduced Alzheimer’s Risk
To be fair, scientists found a correlational link between Alzheimer’s and sauna use; not a causal link, but it’s certainly exciting to explore. Basically, researchers in Finland ran a 20-year study that followed more than 2,000 healthy men. They found out that those who partook 2-3 times per week had 22% less chance of developing dementia and 20% less risk of developing Alzheimer’s. When the men partook 4-7 times per week, the risk dropped by 66% and 65%, respectively.
8) Decreased Inflammation
Much of the benefits outlined here come down to one thing; decreased inflammation. For what it’s worth, researchers have looked at overall markers of inflammation and find them diminished with regular sauna use too. That also means there’s a whole lot more conditions an outdoor sauna may help with that haven’t been explored by science yet. This may be why it’s often leveraged as treatment for all sorts of chronic pain and even headaches.
9) Healthier Immune System
Using an outdoor sauna can boost your immune system too. Researchers say it stimulates the immune system and causes the body to produce more white blood cells.
10) Increased Well-Being
Many people report using a sauna for relaxation and about 99% of Finland uses a sauna at least once per week—they’ve been the “Happiest Country in the World” for several years running now. If that’s not enough research out of Japan found it as an effective treatment for mild depression too.
Improve Your Health with an Outdoor Sauna
If you’re one of the many who has been putting off getting an outdoor sauna because you can’t justify the expense for a relaxing backyard excursion, consider how much you’ve been spending on gym memberships, sick days, and doctor’s visits. That’s not to say a sauna will cure all your woes, but there’s certainly enough scientific research to prove there are real medical and mental health benefits to having one.