Sauna bathing may be more than just a relaxing experience. It has some well-studied (and quite profound) benefits:
Improved cardiovascular health
Lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
Improvements in pain and range of motion in people with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis
Decreased chronic pain for people with conditions like fibromyalgia and low back pain
Improvement in depression symptoms
Reduced risk of developing psychosis (in a study of the general male population)
Possible mild improvements in breathing for people with asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
Reduced skin scales in psoriasis
Reduced inflammation and decreased cortisol (stress hormone) levels
Excretion of toxins and heavy metals via sweat
Reduced risk of stroke
Decreased headache intensity in those who get frequent headaches
Fewer colds and viral illnesses
Sauna benefits for heart health
A lot of research shows the benefits of regular sauna bathing on the heart and cardiovascular system. Evidence suggests that a sauna can affect the cells, arteries, and nervous system, which can all impact heart health.
One study of men in Finland showed an incredible 63% decreased risk of sudden cardiac death in those who used saunas. The benefits seem to be most substantial with frequent use — for more than 20 minutes a session, at least 4 times a week.
Here’s a list of the heart-specific benefits of regular sauna bathing:
For people with heart failure, it can improve symptoms and increase exercise tolerance.
In coronary artery disease (CAD), daily sauna use can improve how much oxygen is flowing to the heart muscle. This can reduce the risk of dying from this type of heart disease.
In people with hypertension, saunas can help reduce blood pressure. And for people without hypertension, it can also lower their risk of developing hypertension later in life. Even though a sauna session will temporarily increase heart rate and blood pressure (like during an exercise session), research shows a long-term benefit of lowered blood pressure.
People with peripheral artery disease, which limits blood flow to the lower extremities, have improved walking endurance. There’s an improvement in overall cholesterol profile.These benefits can be even more significant when you combine regular sauna use with physical exercise.