Did you know that the tradition of the sauna originates from over two thousand years ago? Its users associated it with long life and endurance. Not to say that a sauna would give us that perfect body we all desire, without putting in some extra work (now who wouldn’t want that?) But the sauna and its heating properties play a huge role in increasing our metabolic rates, as does exercising. So if you would like to know more about its effect on the body, carry on reading.
First, let's talk about hypothermic conditioning.The term hypothermic conditioning, describes what happens to the body when subjected to very hot environments such as a sauna. A few changes occur when the body is exposed to intense conditions. For example, it increases the plasma size which improves blood circulation to the heart and helps to reduce pressure on the heart. This in turn helps to avoid the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
1.Sauna Therapy helps you feel energized: Heated conditions encourage blood circulation to the muscle, by assisting in the production of essential nutrients including oxygen. This reduces the bodies’ reliance on glycogen, and allows you to go longer without losing energy. Increased blood flow improves the body’s efficiency in getting rid of waste products such as lactic acid, thus increasing your muscle strength.
2.Sauna gets rid of toxins: Another advantage of hyperthermic conditioning is that you sweat; this helps to avoid overheating in the body. Sweat similarly gets rid of toxins that have accumulated in the body. Furthermore, toxins are deposited in fat cells, so when you sweat the cells are activated and the body removes both fat and toxins.
3. Sauna helps you gain lean muscle: When the body is exposed to hot conditions, it also helps the body to gain lean muscle. This is because during the physiological changes, it helps to limit the amount of protein breakdown in the body, which then increases the process of protein synthesis. It is thus important to keep in mind that protein is the foundation of developing your muscle, so it is best to encourage protein build up and lean muscle mass.
The three ways in which the body may assist in the buildup of mass are as follows:
- The process of Heat Shock Proteins (HSP) is described as a protective stress response whereby the stress (heat) prevents the breakdown of protein, thus avoid lean muscle mass.
- Hyper-thermic conditioning aids in the production of growth hormones which then increases muscle mass.
- Heated conditions also increase insulin sensitivity, which improves the bodies’ acceptance of glucose into the muscles. Glycogen enhances your muscle size and thus, increases the effectiveness of your muscle to help glucose storage.
Here are tips to raise awareness and maximize the benefits of your time in a sauna
- While you sit in the sauna, you should stimulate the skin’s surface by brushing, scratching or tapping different parts of your body such as your back, arms, legs and belly. You should take gentle motions when doing this to avoid any skin irritations. This helps to trigger and open up your pores, which improves blood circulation in that area. Additionally, sweat production intensifies and regulates your core temperature, thus bringing blood closer to the skin’s surface and eliminating toxic waste from the body.
- It is worth it interchanging hot and cold therapies because it is an effective way of controlling your immune system. After spending time in the sauna, you should then swim or take a cold shower because it helps to close your pores, which in turn boosts your immune system. The cold temperature makes the blood to move from the surface of the skin to the part of the body where the vital organs are. This blood flow activates the functions of the organs and immune system.
Studies have shown that the sauna is a remedy for symptoms of minor illnesses such as colds and the experience would leave you feeling revived and relaxed. Why not give yourself a break and rejuvenate the body and mind with a steam or infrared sauna.