The Life- Giving Benefits of Saunas
good and warming you up weren’t enough, a healthy mind is a great reason to sauna.
Colder weather is hard on our bodies for many reasons. The air dries and cracks our skin, freezing temperatures cause old injuries to flare up and joints to ache, and the conditions make it just plain hard to exercise. What’s a fair-weather bird to do? Head to the sauna! Sauna use has been popular in Finland for thousands of years, and there are compelling reasons why. Not only are there many bodily benefits, but science is telling us it may also protect the mind. We’ve known for a long time that saunas can help with blood circulation, stress relief, and cardiovascular health. Traditional saunas use heat to get your blood flowing and promote circulation, and the sweating that goes on during a sauna experience is said to purge toxins from your body. It’s a rejuvenating ritual that releases stress along with endorphins. Now, the health journal Age and Ageing has found evidence linking sauna use to a lowered risk for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Men aged 42–60 who participated in frequent sauna bathing sessions were found to have lowered rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s. If feeling
And while the simplicity of the traditional sauna is part of what makes it great, some facilities have added a modern twist: infrared rays. Infrared saunas, already hot in New York City and Los Angeles, are starting to pop up everywhere. If you have trouble dealing with the heat of a typical sauna (average sauna temperatures are kept around 212 degrees F), this latest trend is for you. The average temperature of an infrared sauna is 150 degrees F, making it a more tolerable experience. One New York studio touts infrared’s ability to stimulate collagen production, an added anti- aging benefit. Need another bonus? Infrared saunas are said to release up to 20 percent more toxins from the body than traditional saunas. Whichever type of sauna you decide to visit, the potential health benefits speak for themselves. If you don’t get to escape to Miami or Cancun this winter (and even if you do), it’s a relaxing way to warm up and ease winter ailments. Treat your body and yourself to a sauna experience!
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