The word sauna is one of the only Finnish words regularly used in English. These sweat lodges have a long and prosperous history around those parts of Europe. In fact, they’ve been around for thousands of years.
There’s a reason why this tradition has lasted so long. Many people believe that there are significant physical and mental benefits of using a sauna. Some studies suggest that toxic elements can be removed from the body through sweat.
Others find that regular saunas not only promote relaxation but may even reduce the risk of psychotic disorders. To find out more about these surprising sauna health benefits, check out the guide below.
History of the Sauna
The first saunas created thousands of years ago were likely a necessity. They provided heat long before the advanced heating technology we use today existed. Back then, they were simple constructions of animal skins enclosing a fire pit buried beneath stones.
The stones hang onto the heat and keep the enclosed area warmer for longer. Water was poured over the stones periodically to create steam, something that contributed to the mystical beliefs surrounding sauna culture throughout history.
Types of Saunas
There are generally four types of saunas: Finnish, dry, steam, and infrared. The former is the most traditional, while the latter is the most recent.
Finnish saunas are wooden, and the humidity is controlled by the amount of water poured over the heated rocks. Steam saunas have even more humidity, are usually hotter, and are in tile, glass, or acrylic rooms. These types of saunas may help with chest and sinus congestion.
Dry saunas are similar to traditional Finnish saunas, but with no water for the rocks. They are not humid, which is ideal for people with conditions aggravated by humidity.
Finally, infrared saunas are a new technology where bathers are enveloped in light, heating inside the body but not the air. You can learn more about this new type of sauna at https://karenthrelkelnd.com/infrared-sauna-therapy/.
Benefits of Using a Sauna
Northern Europeans and Native Americans have been reaping the benefits of saunas for thousands of years. In fact, it’s even common for Finnish city apartments to have their own sauna.
Mental Health Benefits
Saunas are a spiritual place devoid of white noise. When you choose to enter a sauna, you are practicing self-care. You are removing yourself from overstimulating technology and the demands of the outside world.
Obviously, this is beneficial for mental wellbeing. If you visit the sauna with friends and family, as is traditional, you will also benefit from the quality social time spent together.
Because a sauna heats up the body, it increases heart rate, encourages sweating, and improves circulation. This can help with weight loss, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and detox the body.
The benefits of using a sauna are two-fold: physical and mental.
In northern Europe, it can even be quality time for families to spend together. Northern Europeans are taught from an early age to act in the sauna as they would in the church. It’s a sacred space.
For more useful health and fitness guides like this one, make sure to check out the rest of our site!