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The Steamy Health Benefits of the Sauna

By Chris Brown

A rest in a good sauna always leaves me feeling rejuvenated and more positive about the day. The benefits of saunas are not just psychological, however. Saunas have been used for centuries to heal and are scientifically proven to provide a number of health benefits.

Benefits of the Sauna

In a 2018 systematic review of dry sauna bathing, researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne (Australia) concluded that saunas had several potential health benefits, particularly by reducing cardiovascular, neural, and rheumatological diseases and boosting athletic performance. Much of saunas' benefits are believed to originate from the heat's ability to cause vasodilation and increased blood flow to vital organs. This blood flow promotes healing as well as cellular waste removal.

Pain reduction - Saunas reduce pain from muscles, joints, and arthritis by increasing circulation and blood to injured areas.

Anxiety reduction - The circulation-inducing effects of a warm sauna helps bring your body into a relaxed, parasympathetic, state as you sit in the quiet release of the sauna room.

Cardiovascular improvements - Stress reduction and regular sauna bathing (4-7 sessions a week) has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular health issues in multiple studies. In one particular study, it reduced incidents of stroke by 62 percent for 1,600 men and women over a 15-year period.

Lowered Alzheimer's risk - Finnish men from 42-60 years old, who took 4-7 sauna sessions a week, had a 66 percent reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer's according to a 2018 study of over 2,300 participants.

Increased athletic performance - A morning sit in the sauna may just help your athletic performance that afternoon. This is because the increased blood flow to the heart circulates more oxygen-rich blood plasma to the organs and muscles, temporarily improving functionality.

Improved brain functionality - The brain-derived neurotropic factor, which influences brain cell growth and boosts the brain's learning ability (through improved neuroplasticity and neural connections), has been shown to increase with regular sauna use.

Cleared breathing and asthma reduction - The heat from saunas opens the airways and dries out or loosens phlegm to clear breathing pathways dramatically.

Faster muscle growth - A study found that the body's natural production of human growth hormone, a hormone important in muscle growth and recovery, increased by 2-5 times after one week of twice-daily sauna sessions.

If visiting a sauna is too difficult in your region, many of the same health benefits can be obtained from a visit to a chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic. And with The Joint's stress-free walk-in sessions and affordable, insurance-free pricing, there is no reason not to stop by today.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Jacksonville Beach, Fla.

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