People have been using heat therapy for the detoxification of harsh contaminant buildup in the body, to promote relaxation, to ease stress and anxiety, and even to support weight loss goals for years. In fact, the practice goes back centuries; the Native American sweat lodges and the steam baths of ancient Rome, for example.
The benefits of heat therapy are well documented, and there’s some evidence that suggests that regularly using dry saunas is actually even better for your health – particularly the health of your heart. While using a sauna is generally considered safe, there are a few safety tips and precautions that should be exercised and considered prior to being surrounded by dry heat in a cedar-lined room. To find out more about the safety suggestions, as well as the numerous dry sauna benefits, as well as how they compare to the use of infrared saunas and steam rooms, keep on reading.
Health Benefits of Dry Saunas
Regularly using a dry sauna has been found to over a long list of physical health benefits. Some of the most notable benefits include:
- Improved cardiovascular health. In a study that was published in 2015, it was revealed that regularly using a sauna may be able to help improve heart health, and even lengthen life expectancy. Most notably, this study indicated that dry sauna use reduced the risk of the following heart-related and general health issues:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Coronary heart disease
- Sudden cardiac deaths
- All-cause mortality
- Reduced rheumatic disease risk. In 2018, a systematic review was conducted to examine the clinical effects of regular use of bathing in a dry sauna. This review found that sauna therapy may be beneficial for people who suffer from rheumatic diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and ankylosing spondylitis. The review also indicated that regular dry sauna sessions may also be beneficial for individuals who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and allergic rhinitis.
- Psoriasis relief. Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the skin. It results in the development of red, raised, patches that resemble scales on the exterior parts of the knees, elbows, and the scalp. The patches can become itchy, they can sting, or they can burn. According to a report that was published by Harvard stated that dry sauna use was found to reduce the severity of symptoms among those who have been diagnosed with psoriasis.
- Increased physical performance. Individuals who are very active – those who engage in strenuous activities, such as weight lifting, running, swimming, and other athletes, for example – may benefit from regular dry sauna sessions. Studies found that bathing in the dry heat that a sauna creates may be able to boost exercise performance. It’s important to note that the findings of these studies are only based on interventional trials that were not conducted in a controlled setting, and these trials only studied the physiological effects of regular sauna use among athletes.
- Reduced risk of dementia. There is also evidence that suggests that regular use of a dry sauna may be able to help lessen the risk of dementia. In a study that was performed in 2017, a connection between the frequency of sauna use and the reduced risk of the development of cognitive conditions, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease amongst me. Researchers noted that they believed this reduced risks was related to the fact that sauna therapy promotes relaxation and promotes overall well-being, which may be a factor that has a positive impact on the development of diseases that lead to impaired memory.
- Reduced asthma symptoms. Asthma is a chronic health condition that occurs when the lungs and airways become inflamed and narrow, which makes it difficult to inhale and exhale. Those who suffer from asthma may realize a reduction in their breathing difficulties, including reduced wheezing, if they use a dry sauna on a regular basis.
Dry Saunas Compared to Steam Saunas
Which is better, a dry sauna or a steam room? The answer to that isn’t so simple, as it really depends on your specific physical conditions, as well as your specific goals. In a steam sauna, as the name suggests, fills the air in the space with steam. The steam, in turn, increases the concentration of humidity in the space, creating a wet environment.
As you can imagine, the damp air is quite different from the dry air that is experienced in a dry sauna. As such, some of the health benefits of a steam sauna differ from the health benefits of a dry sauna. The benefits of using a steam sauna are many. Some of the benefits include:
- Improve circulation
- Help to loosen stiff joints and muscles
- Improve the health of the skin
- Open up the pores and promote detoxification
- Help to break down congestion that may be clogging the lungs and sinuses
Dry Saunas Compared to Infrared Saunas
While both dry and infrared saunas heat up the body, that’s about the only thing the two have in common. Infrared saunas generate infrared waves that mimic the waves the sun naturally creates (the waves that make sunshine feel warm). As such, when you sit in an infrared sauna, your body absorbs the infrared waves, which warm up your body via a process that is known as electromagnetic radiation. In a dry sauna, however, the air in the room – and thus, around you – is heated, and this type of heat then warms up your body via a process known as convection (similar to how an oven heats up food).
Infrared saunas function at a significantly lower temperature than dry saunas. The former usually reaches between 120 and 150 degrees F, while dry saunas can reach temperatures in excess of 200 degrees F. As such, infrared saunas are more comfortable, which makes it easier to stay in longer and may be tolerated better by those who are sensitive to heat.
Which to Use?
Again, it all depends on your needs and goals. To find out which option will yield the best results for you, give us a call today!