The health benefits of saunas have long been overshadowed by the simple pleasure and relaxation that these heated rooms bring to people. But researchers just released a new report about sauna health benefits, and it turns out that this steam oasis may be even better for us than we ever imagined. We think this is a perfect excuse to head over to a spa or gym with a sauna immediately — and after reading about all the exciting findings, you probably will, too!
The August 2018 report published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that frequent sauna bathing is linked to a reduced risk of several health problems, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, neurocognitive diseases, pulmonary diseases, and mental health disorders. Sauna bathing also helped to reduce other health conditions, such as skin diseases, arthritis, headache, and flu. On top of all that, the report also suggests that regular sauna baths are linked to a better health-related quality of life overall.
The research team focused on the effects of Finnish sauna baths on health outcomes, defining Finnish sauna bathing as the exposure to a high environmental temperature (176 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit) for a brief period of time. Researchers conducted a comprehensive literature review, finding that all these incredible health benefits of saunas were linked to the effects that the rooms had on circulatory, respiratory, cardiovascular, and immune functions.
Anyone who's ever been to the sauna knows how happy you feel inside afterward, so we can't say we're totally surprised by this — it just means we have all the more reason to feel happier.
Even more exciting? The researchers also found that the physiological responses from a sauna bath matched almost exactly with those produced by moderate-intensity or even high-intensity physical activity. So maybe if you need a little boost and your regular daily walk doesn't seem to be doing the trick, it might be worth your time to pop into the sauna instead.
After your relaxing sauna session, how about some tasty food? These are the most delicious superfoods that can help you live longer: