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A Deep Dive into the Health Benefits of Sauna

In this post, we are taking a deep dive into the benefits of sauna use with the help of Dr. Rhonda Patrick. Dr. Patrick is a cell biologist with a Ph.D. in biomedical science from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. She is also the Co-Founder of FoundMyFitness.com. 

For more information and research, check out Sauna Benefits Deep Dive and Optimal Use with Dr. Rhonda Patrick & MedCram.


Cardiovascular Health

When it comes to cardiovascular health and sauna, frequency matters. The more you sauna bathe, the more robust the benefits for cardiovascular health. Why? Because the sauna mimics a moderate intensity workout session. Your heart rate elevates, blood flow increases to the skin and muscles, and you sweat. Then after a sauna or a workout, your blood pressure goes down and your resting heart rate is lower. This is all so important for cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that for cardiovascular and all-cause mortality (refers to death from any cause such as disease or harmful exposure), sauna bathing 2 to 3 times per week was associated with a 24 percent lower risk and 4 to 7 times per week with a 40 percent reduction in risk compared to only one sauna session per week. 

Alzheimer and dementia 


Observational data shows that the risk of Alzheimer's and dementia can go down with the use of a sauna, possibly by 60 percent if used 4-6 times a week for 20 minutes. 


Why is this? Because the heat of the sauna increases blood flow to the brain, reducing inflammation, hypertension, and blood pressure. These are all risk factors for the disease. Another reason is that heat shock proteins are activated by heat stress. Heat shock proteins are stress response proteins that help proteins inside your cells keep their three-dimensional structure. To learn more about heat shock proteins and the lowering of Alzheimers and dementia go to: https://www.foundmyfitness.com/topics/sauna#heat-shock-proteins


Depression and mental health


Studies have also shown that sauna use can have an impact on depression and mental health. The elevation of core temperature by even one or two degrees can have an anti-depressive effect that lasts up to 6 weeks. These studies are ongoing. If you want to learn more about this topic look to the work of Dr. Ashley Mason


Eustress


Have you ever heard of the term eustress? Eustress is moderate stress that can be beneficial. Being in the high heat of the sauna can be “stressful” for the body. However, the stress you feel from the sauna is eustress, beneficial stress. A type of stress that leaves you feeling satisfied and well. Exercise and fasting also produce eustress. 


Fitness and endurance 


Does the sauna impact fitness level and endurance? 

Time and distance can be improved with the use of the sauna. By acclimating yourself to the high heat of a sauna (this takes time and it’s important to start small and work your way up), you will better be adapted to the heat of working out. This will help you workout longer, faster, and harder over time. 


Heavy metals and toxins 


In our world today, we are exposed to more heavy metals and toxins than ever before. It’s important to be aware of this and also find ways to excrete these toxins. Sweating is a great option! The sauna makes you sweat, and many heavy metals can be eliminated through sweat. Any activity that makes you sweat is going to be helpful to your overall being. 


There are many benefits of sauna use, and the best way to learn about them is to try it out for yourself! Find the time to have a consistent sauna routine and notice how it affects your body, mental health, and overall well-being.  


For more information and research, check out Sauna Benefits Deep Dive and Optimal Use with Dr. Rhonda Patrick & MedCram.




Other Resources: 

Sauna use as a treatment for depression: https://www.foundmyfitness.com/episodes/ashley-mason

Sauna Use: Implications for Aging and the Brain

Cardiovascular and all cause mortality: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150223122602.htm#:~:text=For%20all%2Dcause%20mortality%2C%20sauna,sauna%20seemed%20to%20matter%20too.