Is Sauna Healthy or Unhealthy? 9 Reasons to Visit a Sauna

Those who sweat regularly in the sauna swear by their positive health, attractiveness, and wellbeing. We explain how the sauna affects your body and soul and give you 9 good reasons why a visit to the sauna can make you healthy, beautiful, and younger.

Why do people go to the sauna?

More than 124 million Americans often go to the sauna or steam bath, another 21+ million at least occasionally (source: Statista 2020).

According to a recent survey by YouGov from the beginning of 2017, two-thirds of Americans would have been in the sauna before, one-third never. Those who did not go to the sauna justified this in the survey with the usual heat (42 percent). 24% of non-sauna-goers have not come up with the idea yet. And 19% would avoid the sauna out of shame or boredom.

The convinced sauna-goers were completely different: 63% stated that they visited the sauna because they found relaxation there. 46% stated that the sauna was beneficial to health. 24% of sauna-goers cited fun as a reason for visiting the sauna, 16% would like the heat. For 14%, a sauna is a place where they can spend time with friends and acquaintances.

What makes the sauna healthy?

Visiting a sauna makes your body sweat properly: you lose up to a liter of sweat during two or three sauna sessions. This is ensured by the heat, which varies depending on the type of sauna. Between 40 and 110 degrees Celsius is expected in saunas.

The Reaction of the Human Body to the Heat of a Sauna

Your circulation works at a high-performance level as soon as you are in the sauna room. You get into stress – purely physically – and corresponding stress hormones are released. Your blood vessels widen, and your heart beats faster. Your blood pressure drops. To supply blood to all organs in your body, your heart now has to work harder.

Important: To not overwhelm your heart, you should not stay in the heat for more than eight to twelve minutes per sauna session.

Because of the high temperatures, the muscles in your body relax. At the same time, thanks to the hot air in the sauna, the blood circulation in the mucous membranes in your nose, mouth, and throat is improved. Your metabolism also gets on its toes in the heat of the sauna. Likewise, the body’s defense system (immune system). Your skin can reach temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius, and the blood flow doubles. The temperature in the core of your body increases by one or two degrees Celsius.

But: The sauna is only healthy if you give your heated body a cold shock.

Why? Because of the cooler air outside the sauna room and the cold water, your blood vessels contract suddenly, the blood pressure rises, and the body switches to an alarm. That is why adrenaline and hormones are released.

During the subsequent relaxation phase, your heart beats evenly, full of power, and comparatively slowly. Your skin feels comfortable.

The benefits of the sauna – 9 good reasons for visiting the sauna

You will get the most of the health benefits of the sauna if you use the sauna regularly. After half a year of sweating regularly, you can certainly feel the diverse effects of it. In our list, we give you 9 positive effects that you can count on:

Taking a sauna strengthens your body’s defenses

The alternation of hot (sweating) and cold (cooling down), typical of the sauna, is said to have a beneficial effect on the vegetative nervous system. At the same time, it reduces inflammatory processes in your body. An optimally positioned defense does not give pathogens a chance – the sauna thus prevents infections such as colds and the like in the long term.

The sauna gets your circulation going

The repeated temperature changes in the sauna also have a stimulating effect on your circulation. Regular visits to the sauna would thus become cardiovascular training, which would improve your body’s supply of oxygen. According to a study, regular sauna visits are particularly effective in protecting against sudden cardiac death and other cardiac risks.

Using the sauna increases life expectancy

According to the clinically relevant study by the University of Eastern Finland mentioned above, those who regularly use the sauna should also be able to expect a longer life expectancy – although the study was unable to prove why this was so.

Using the sauna improves

The complexion of your skin Because of the sauna’s heat, your blood vessels widen, the blood supply to the skin is increased, and it is better supplied with oxygen. As you cool down after sweating, your blood vessels constrict again. This trains the blood vessels, and your skin appears rosy and fresh. Because of the improved supply, the skin appears healthier and more beautiful overall. A sauna session also removes dead skin and thus ensures pore-deep cleanliness. Dry skin also benefits from the high humidity in the sauna; it can store more of it, according to a study. Lack of moisture promotes wrinkling. All in all, regular sauna visits rejuvenate your complexion. Anyone struggling with skin diseases such as psoriasis, acne, and neurodermatitis should also be able to alleviate these with regular sauna visits.

Using the sauna improves your breathing

Your respiratory organs are also stimulated by the temperature change between the sauna room and the surrounding area. You can even breathe deeper in the heat than outside. Breathing deeply trains your respiratory organs, and in the long run, you should be able to catch more air. You benefit from the hot, humid air, ensuring that your mucous membranes are better supplied with blood if you have problems with your bronchi. Asthma patients and sauna-goers suffering from chronic bronchitis should be able to alleviate their symptoms by taking a sauna: In the hot sauna air, the bronchial muscles of the airways are warmed and relaxed, which stimulates the production of mucus.

Sauna relaxes your muscles

A visit to the sauna would do you particularly well if you have just been active – a study has also confirmed this: You can prevent sore muscles by going to the sauna.

Sauna improves wellbeing

According to a study, anyone who goes into the hot temperatures of a sauna induces the body’s production of so-called happiness hormones such as serotonin and endorphins, increasing wellbeing and triggering a feeling of euphoria.

Using the sauna helps against problems falling asleep

The increased serotonin level in the brain after going to the sauna is said to have a sleep-promoting effect.

Using the sauna relieves headaches

A small study has shown that regular use of the sauna reduced pain and headache in patients suffering from chronic headaches of the tension-type CTTH.