You might want to add sauna, a historic Finnish relaxation technique, to your self care routine if:
You are battling chronic fatigue
If you have a chronic illness and are dealing with chronic fatigue then sauna is a must for you. The heat from the sauna activates heat shock proteins in your body. These heat shock proteins (HSPs) modulate the process of inflammation by producing anti-inflammatory cytokines in chronic inflammatory diseases. HSPs mediated expression of IL10, which contributes in anti-inflammatory pathways through TLR2 and TLR4-dependent mechanisms. Basically in a nut shell, heat shock proteins combat autoimmunity and inflammation. This can be beneficial in combating inflammation and autoimmune conditions.
You have low thyroid function
Hypothyroid? Cold all the time? Taking time to sauna can help support your body’s natural metabolism. One study showed a correlation in decreasing TSH after sauna. Sauna has an affect on your body’s hypothalatmic – pituitary access that may support temperature regulation and you overcoming slow metabolism and fatigue. The research related to this particular topic is limited and more studies are needed!
You are too tired to exercise
Too tired to exercise? While exercise is a very important part of cardiovascular health. Hitting the sauna can help when you are too fatigued to hit the gym. In one study, participants hitting the sauna had heart rates increase similar to that of medium exertion exercise. This is really important. Often times, with chronic fatigue, the heart does not have much variation in rate because of the inability to exercise. Having regular activity in your heart is important to keep good circulation even when battling fatigue.
You are in pain
This pain is most likely due to the anti – inflammatory properties as well as the heat and blood flow to muscles, however several studies have shown outcomes with decreased pain in patients who sauna regularly. This included patients with fibromyalgia as well as Rheumatoid arthritis. Not only does it help with chronic pain, but sore muscles after workouts and physical exertion. This may be due to the increased hGH ( human growth hormone), that helps with fat break down and building muscle. This was reported in a study as being being increased in women after using the sauna for 30 minutes.
You have Lyme
Those heat shot proteins we were talking about before also help your body recognize and respond to invaders more quickly and effectively. This means they can help your body detect those tricky spirochetes.
You want to age well
Sauna has been shown to also support a healthy brain and heathy heart. Research has shown that sauna use is associated with lower dementia and Alzheimer’s disease rates in middle – aged men. It is also correlated with lower blood pressure rates and inverse cardiovascular disease rates.
You are breathing
If you are breathing you are coming into contact with toxins in the environment. Through the water we drink, food we eat, and air we breathe in, toxins are constantly bombarding our body. Thankfully our body is designed to remove these toxins. However, sometimes it needs some help! With chronic illnesses popping up rampantly this one self care technique is a must to helping support your body’s natural detox properties.
Here is the trick though, just hitting the sauna a couple times is not going to give you these amazing health results. You have to use this practice consistently. That is why it should be added into your routine as a part of your self care. Aim for 3 or more times per week for 20 – 30 minutes. If you have low blood pressure or POTS, sauna may be contraindicated for you. Check with your doctor and never stay in if you feel dizzy. Also, make sure to hydrate very well! Even if you add sauna in just for it’s original relaxation purposes, this alone will increase your parasympathetic response, which will have altering effects on your immunity and health!