Sauna Bathing goes back over 2000 years. The Sauna was Originally invented by the Finnish but similar forms of health benefits can be found in a Russian Banya, Indian Sweat Lodge, Turkish Steam Bath, Arabic Hamam and even as far back as the Roman Bath House.
The use of hot air and humidity cause the body to increase in temperature and start to perspire. In defense the body increases its blood flow to the surface of the skin to keep it cool. By doing so the heart rate is elevated which can be equivalent to a mild work out.
Sweating is also the body’s natural way to remove toxins that are can be stored up in the body. The immediate after effects of a sauna bath are an enlightened sense of well-being as endorphin are built up in the body’s brain. However after an hour or so a sauna bather will feel a calmness and an ultimate sense of relaxation.
Some sauna bathers prefer to take a cold shower in-between each short bathing session. This cause the body heart rate to be even further elevated and is a practice that most Finnlanders enjoy. With an outdoor barrel sauna, bathers can also jump in to a lake or if you are really bold, jump in the snow in the winter time!
Saunas can also be a great place to socialize and share stories. Families and friend have gathered for decades in the sauna as a means of social gathering. However a sauna can also be a great place to meditate and clear the mind leaving you invigorated both physically and mentally.
Some people like a dry sauna which means no water is added to the rocks. Generally it will take longer to bring the body to a sweat. By adding water to the rocks, the humidity is increased which cause the bodies poor to open quicker. This is called a wet sauna.
Saunas are great therapy tool that are used in sports medicine and athletic and physical therapy. You will most often find public sauna at fitness center for this reason. Heat can also be good for arthritis pain as well as muscle aches!
It is always advised to consult with a physician if you have heart problems or are pregnant before going into a sauna.