10 Benefits of Sauna Use: The Power of Dry Heat

/ Jul 30, 2023

Whether it's a traditional sauna or an infrared sauna, there are many reasons it's a good idea to have a sauna at your home. Research is uncovering some amazing health benefits that come from just relaxing in a sauna on a routine basis. These included profound effects on body temperature, physical activity, and overall health conditions. Sauna bathing in the dry heat may even make you feel mentally revived and physically refreshed the first time you try one.

To show you what can come from adding a sauna visit to your busy schedule, we've put together a quick list of proven benefits. These include everything from improved cardiac output, relief from symptoms of respiratory diseases, and even alleviation of common cold symptoms. There aren’t many things that can deliver quick and consistent results, but this is one of them.

1. Elevated Cardiovascular Function

A small study published in the International Heart Journal in 2015 found that sauna therapy, which increases your body and skin temperature, improved cardiac functioning and exercise capacity for people experiencing chronic heart failure. The therapy involved sitting in a dry sauna for 15 minutes and then resting under a blanket outside of the sauna for 30 minutes to maintain warmth. This process of raising body temperature could potentially raise your cardiac output or heart rate.

Performing this 45-minute treatment once a day for 3 weeks significantly improved the cardiac functioning of study participants, contributing to overall heart health. You can also use this technique as a preventative measure against cardiovascular diseases and to enhance your physical activity or workout routine. Resting in a sauna after performing an intense cardiovascular exercise can help open the blood vessels, increasing nourishment from enhanced blood flow to the muscles you just worked.

2. Improved Circulation

How does time spent in a sauna help with cardiovascular functioning? The heat opens the blood vessels and increases blood circulation throughout the body, influenced by the rise in body temperature. That blood provides nourishment for every organ in your body, including your heart and skin.

Improved circulation is great for people with heart failure who struggle with circulation, but it’s also a great way to maintain your heart to reduce your risk of heart disease and failure. That blood flow is also critical to healing wounds and maintaining your energy levels.

3. Lower Blood Pressure

In addition to improving blood circulation, research has shown that regular sauna bathing is associated with lower blood pressure. That’s one more reason saunas are associated with a reduced risk of heart attack and stroke. It’s also connected to our next benefit: stress management.

4. Stress Management

Sauna bathing gives you the opportunity to step away from the busy world and truly relax. You’re in a quiet, soothing environment that changes your body from the inside out, easing cold symptoms, and having beneficial effects on respiratory diseases. If your daily life is fast-paced and chaotic, you may find yourself taking deeper breaths, closing your eyes, and releasing tension from head to toe.

Saunas, whether traditional or infrared, are also believed to lower cortisone levels. That’s the hormone associated with stress. The more you allow yourself to relax while in the sauna, the more it may help you manage your stress levels between sessions.

5. Reduced Joint Stiffness and Soreness

Research has connected frequent sauna bathing with reduced systemic inflammation. That’s the inflammation that takes over your body and contributes to stiff, sore joints and muscles. It also contributes to many painful health conditions like arthritis. Improving blood circulation has the added benefit of reducing inflammation, which in turn reduces chronic pain and the stiff, sore muscles that may interfere with your quality of life.

You can also use this benefit to your advantage when working out at the gym. Relaxing in the sauna after your physical activity or workout can get your blood flowing and help keep your muscles and joints from getting stiff. You can also try it out between workouts if you feel sore.

6. Pain Relief

When blood circulation is improved and inflammation reduced, pain is often relieved as well. Research has shown that inflammation, stiffness, soreness, and chronic pain all resolve for the short term following a session. That means the pain will come back if you can’t address the root cause, but the sauna can give you short-term relief. Think of it as a natural boost to any pain medication that you may take on a routine basis.

7. Stronger Immune System

Just 15 minutes in the sauna can give your immune system a boost, particularly useful for fighting off common cold symptoms. If you bathe in the sauna regularly, it supports your overall health and wellness by helping you combat colds, the flu, and other illnesses that are passed around throughout the year. A boosted immune system may also heal wounds or cuts faster while fighting serious diseases that could otherwise deteriorate your quality of life.

One study published in the Journal of Human Kinetics found that athletes benefited from a boosted immune system more than participants who weren’t as well trained. As you work on maintaining a healthy body weight and training your body, you can multiply the positive impact of your sauna sessions.

8. Enhanced Athletic Performance

All of the benefits already discussed make it easy to see how spending even short periods of time in a sauna can improve your athletic performance. It may reduce your recovery time after intense workouts and help keep your joints and muscles in prime working condition. Athletes may also benefit from the mental benefits if they utilize their sauna time to meditate, visualize success, or simply relax and clear their minds.

This benefit isn’t limited to pro athletes. If you’re starting a new exercise program or have a hobby sport, this is great for you as well.

9. Positive Mindset

Many people experience a positive boost in mood after visiting the sauna. You may find it easier to keep your mindset positive when you make sauna bathing a routine rather than a one-time experience. The benefits may come from the relaxation and reduced stress hormones in addition to that nutrient-dense blood coursing through your veins at an accelerated pace.

10. Healthy, Radiant Skin

Finally, you will exit the sauna with a fresh glow on your rosy cheeks. The more you sweat in the sauna, the more it can detoxify your skin and help clear up acne and other problems. As your blood circulates and sweat is released, you’re also pushing out toxins that can have a negative impact on your health and wellness. This can also contribute to weight loss. Enjoy the glow!