If you love to sit back and relax in a steam room or sauna, but do not necessarily know what it is about this experience that makes you feel so good, you will perhaps not be surprised to learn that there are several proven health benefits to sauna use.

These include cardiovascular benefits, improved ability to relax and de-stress, dermatological advantages and improved athletic performance due to muscle ache soothing. If you want to generally improve your chances of living a longer healthier life, alleviate stress, anxiety or depression, improve your skin or lessen muscle aches and pains, head over to your local sauna and reap the rewards.

Cardiovascular Benefits

One of the most significant advantages of sauna use, and one that you might not expect, is that it can significantly reduce your chances of dying from cardiovascular-related issues. In fact, according to this sauna guide, regular attendees of a sauna, that is to say, those who go between four and seven times per week, are 50% less likely to die from cardiovascular-related issues. Moderate users, those who visit the sauna between two and three times a week, are 27% less likely to die in this way.

These statistics are based on research conducted in Finland, which also found that sauna use can improve your blood vessels’ ability to contract and expand with changes in pressure. This is known as vascular compliance, and it can reduce your risks of developing hypertension and improve your blood pressure.

Brain and Anti-Anxiety

The above-mentioned Finnish study also found that frequent sauna users had a reduced likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s Disease by 65%. Moreover, saunas are known to improve chronic fatigue syndrome. By improving brain circulation and activating the development of heat shock proteins, your body escapes protein degradation, as well as memory, concentration and sleep loss.

The regular use of saunas also decreases cortisol in the body, which is the main stress hormone. You can improve your mood and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression by visiting the sauna. Saunas can cause a feeling of euphoria and a sense of escape from the rest of the world, both of which can be very beneficial for someone with mental health issues.

Dermatological Advantages

As you probably know, the skin is the body’s largest organ. It is therefore incredibly important that we treat it with love and care. Going to the sauna can cause heat stress to the skin, which might sound bad, but it in fact has positive long-term effects. For instance, it widens blood vessels, increases blood flow and causes sweating.

This allows the body to rid itself of toxins and cleanse inside and out. Flushing out clogged pours by sweating profusely will decrease your chances of getting acne. Moreover, you can reduce swelling by visiting the sauna, as increased blood flow helps to remove waste and byproducts of inflammation.

Of course, as you will lose a lot of water in this process, it is very important that you drink a lot of water to stay hydrated.

Athletic Performance

Finally, using the sauna regularly and particularly after exercise can significantly benefit your muscles and overall fitness. Long-distance runners have found that a 30-minute sauna session post-workout a couple of times a week can increase their baseline – the amount of time they can run until exhaustion – by 32%.

What’s more, sauna use after a workout can relax muscles and reduce pain, swelling, stiffness and cramps. This can make working out the next day much easier, more pleasant and more effective. If you can, try some light stretching in the sauna, as this will increase blood flow and the speed of muscle repair.

The sauna will decrease the build-up of lactic acid in the muscles, and this is the substance that leads to aches and pains post-workout. So, as you can see, the physical and fitness benefits are also numerous. Reduce pain, swelling, muscle damage and tiredness with regular sauna use.

This has been a quick look at how visiting the sauna can improve your health and well-being. The range of health benefits of saunas and steam rooms are varied and incredibly important for a long and happy life. From improving your cardiovascular health to de-stressing, looking after your skin and being kind to your body following a workout, the advantages are many. Regardless of whether or not you are a serious athlete, the benefits are great and very welcome.

So, take a trip to your local sauna if you want to start putting your physical and mental health first. Just remember to stay hydrated!