Four valuable reasons to NOT ignore the health benefits of sauna usage
(NaturalHealth365) Cold showers are supposed to be very healthy for us but aren’t they really,, really hard to take? Especially in the morning, who wants to take a cold shower?! Thankfully, saunas are a completely different story and, today, we’ll focus on why this can be a real winner for your health.
The truth is: you can get many of the health benefits of a cold shower with something much warmer and pleasurable – like a sauna. And, you’re about to discover just a few of the reasons why saunas are so profoundly healthy.
Saunas make the body ultimately resilient
Saunas, like cold showers, exercise, and intermittent fasting (IF), are forms of positive, controlled stress that you create for yourself in order to build your tolerance to overall stress. Saunas and cold showers, for example, are ultimately healthy because the frigid cold or excessive heat that is endured by the individual is brief in measure and not excessive in its dosage.
Now if we were truly suffering in desert heat for days on end or lost hopelessly in a freezing snowstorm in the Tundra, the experience would exhaust our systems and we’d die.
But, practically speaking, hermetic exercises like heat endurance, cold endurance, exercise, and IF challenge the body in specific ways that set off cascades off healthy cellular processes that make us more resilient to disease, toxins, and help the mitochondria to become maximally healthy so they can power your body with more energy than before.
Healthy stress that makes the body resilient to any kind of stress
Have you heard of Nicholas Taleb? If not, you might have heard the character Taylor quote him on Billions when saying, “like Taleb says “Become anti-fragile or die.”
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This captures the science of hormesis perfectly. What does not kill us makes us stronger. With exercise the body gains strength, endurance, and bigger muscles as it rests from major stress of running on the cardiovascular system and repairs small muscle tears, and this repair process is what creates lean, healthy muscles.
Intermittent fasting is one of the healthiest ways to eat and it helps individuals prevent and even reverse type 2 diabetes. We’ve learned that going 12 to 16 hours without food can be profoundly healthy (and, in many cases, not at all harmful) for both the body and mind.
Cold showers activate all kinds of amazing processes in the body, from wound-healing to speeding the metabolism, to boosting concentration and memory. You only have to remember to make it as much a “shock” to the system as possible. In short, if the body doesn’t think you’re suffering a bit, it won’t kick in all of these “rescue” and healing processes – which are so incredibly healthy.
Saunas, as stated earlier, are also a form of hormesis and feel much more warm and pleasurable than cold showers. Plus, unlike cold showers, a big benefit of a hot sauna session is that it’s one of the most enjoyable ways to improve circulation (and detoxify the body).
Let’s talk about a few of the most impressive health benefits
Saunas may increase longevity through the activation of something called “heat shock proteins.”
Have you heard of the C. elegans worm? This particular worm shares so many genes that mirror human genetics in both type and number that this is one of the few creatures scientists can use in studies that will give them much of the result of a human body.
Well, in studies, c. elegans worms exposed to sauna-like heat stress increased longevity by 15% and their resilience to age-related diseases increased as well.
Two of the most famous studies on the benefits of hot saunas were conducted in Finland, where sauna is just as much a daily norm as eating, sleeping, and bathing. The Finnish study found that the men they studied who took saunas 4 to 7 times a week (as opposed to less than 4 per week) not only had a lower chance of dying from all causes of mortality, they also had a 48% lower risk of developing heart disease.
One reason that scientists believe saunas are so healthy and longevity-promoting is that they activate these fascinating things called heat-shock proteins. Heat shock proteins, as one researcher notes, “can repair damaged cells, promote autophagy (the recycling of damaged cell parts) and also prevent future damage” by “scavenging free radicals and increasing antioxidant capacity through the maintenance of glutathione, a master antioxidant.”
In fact, women with a polymorphism that causes them to produce more of these heat shock proteins in the body than normal live longer lives than other women.
Saunas help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 65%
In the Finland study of men who took saunas, they found that taking saunas almost daily was not only good for the heart but for the mind as well. In fact, they found, they men who used a sauna 4 to 7 times a week have a 65% reduced likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s.
In fact, the men who took the most saunas, 4 to 7 times a week proved to be 65% less for both Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Saunas help to remove unwanted toxins from the body
In studies, saunas have proven as or more effective than exercise for detoxifying dangerous heavy metals in our food, water, and general environment such as mercury, cadmium, lead, and arsenic. Saunas also help detoxify three of the most dangerous compounds in our water and shower steam – chlorine, chlorine-by-products, and fluoride.
Of course, it should be noted, nothing is better for avoiding disease than avoiding these toxins, as much as possible. But, no doubt, living in the “modern” world – detoxification has become a must.
Saunas are an easy and very pleasurable way to experiment with and enjoy some of the benefits of hormesis without having to endure freezing cold showers or exercise, even. Why not see what you can do for your body, your figure, your mental powers, and your energy level by focusing on building resilience to stress.
Sources for this article include: