Sauna for stress relief & other top health benefits

Heather Campbell
 min read

Sauna for stress relief is not as unusual as you may think.

Sauna for stress relief & other top health benefitsSauna bathing is one of the healthiest things you can do for both body and mind.

A sauna is often considered a luxury, or help for weight loss, but it is scientifically proven that besides being healthy for your skin, it encourages the production of serotonin. It also helps you experience different body changes and thus gives your mind a break to concentrate.

Do you lead a busy life? Do you experience stress on a daily basis? Do you find it difficult to stay balanced in this achievement-oriented society?

Read on to understand why a sauna could be just the place for you to really unwind and recharge your batteries. And what’s more, it is scientifically proven!

Sauna for stress relief: Introduction

Sauna use is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, just like eating a varied diet, limiting your alcohol consumption, exercising enough, getting enough sleep and keeping your brain active by continuously learning (even later in life).

If you go into the sauna, you will soon notice its effect on your body. After all, the temperature there is a lot higher than you are used to.

To neutralize this heat, your body starts to sweat to cool itself down.

Your pores open up and after only a few minutes you feel the first drops of sweat sliding down your forehead or back. After 10 minutes you are often all wet with sweat.

Sauna is healthy for your body

By sweating like this, your body protects itself from overheating. But in addition to this protective function against overheating, sweating has another benefit that does well for your body.

In fact, when you sweat, your body gets rid of waste products. Think of it as a vigorous clearing out in your body. These wastes go out of your body through sweat and if you drink a large glass of water afterward, this is how you replenish your fluid reserves with fresh, clean water.

Sweat well and drink water afterward. It’s like an internal cleansing and refreshing of your insides. Natural detoxification at its best!

In the warm temperatures of a sauna, your heart is also put to work and hence a sauna use is a form of (passive) exercise.

Your heart will start beating faster to push the blood around and your circulation speeds up. This way you have excellent blood flow throughout your body, right down to your little toe.

In this way, all the cells of your body are provided with the right building blocks and your cell generation is boosted.

Finally, an important health benefit of sauna use is boosting your immunity. In fact, sauna sessions are a workout for your cardiovascular system.

First, your blood vessels expand due to heat and then contract when you take a cold shower or plunge pool. Your body gets stronger that way. You can think of the sauna’s heat as a kind of natural fever.

Sauna is also healthy for your mind and mental well-being

Apart from a sauna’s physical benefits, there is also a beneficial effect on your mental health.

In the sauna, so to speak, you are forced to stop brooding. You become so aware of the physical sensations in your body that all your attention will focus on this.

This is similar to being in the now that you experience during intense athletic efforts. It’s really an interesting method to take your mind off things.

So going into the sauna is not only a boost to your physical well-being because your mental health also benefits. So, only benefits!

Related postFeeling uncomfortable in your own skin? Causes, signs & 10 tips to feel better

Giving your brain rest and space thanks to the sauna

Giving your brain rest and space is important, but this is easier said than done for many people.

Many people find it difficult to really calm the brain completely, find deep relaxation, and banish all disturbing thoughts.

Peace of mind positively affects all aspects of your life, both body and mind.

Therefore, it is important to take some time regularly to give your brain some rest and space.

You can do this effectively and efficiently by taking a seat in the sauna. The fact is that the sauna has a calming effect on your brain and can even improve your concentration.

It is actually always good to schedule a sauna session for yourself on a regular basis.

Of course, it’s wonderful if you have your own sauna, but if you don’t, be sure to schedule a set time each week or month to take a break at a wellness center.

The brain is subjected to a great deal of pressure

Our brains are actually always active making choices, evaluating situations and, of course, busy with day-to-day concerns.

This is often accompanied by additional stress, such as high workloads or the loss of friends or family.

Therefore, it is important to regularly give your brain some rest and space, which can be done perfectly in the sauna.

This will prevent thoughts from getting mixed up so that you can no longer give everything a proper place.

Being in the sauna releases various substances in the brain, including neurotransmitters, adrenaline, norepinephrine and acetylcholine.

This improves the flow of information that is constantly active in your brain, making you better able to manage everything in your head.

The sauna frees up space in your head

A sauna session has several positive influences on your body.

Inflammation decreases, muscle aches are relieved, joint pains decrease, etc. These are just a few examples of positive effects on the human body.

But these positive physical effects are not enough if your head remains filled with worry and stress.

Fortunately, you can give your brain peace and quiet in the sauna by making sure you relax to the fullest.

This works better when you use soothing sauna fragrances and close your eyes during the session.

The more senses you quiet and satisfy, the easier it will be.

You will notice that you have more space in your head after the sauna session, allowing you to better concentrate and process information.

Many people go to the sauna primarily to simply relax or alleviate or eliminate physical complaints.

Yet we must not forget the brain because our brains also play a very important role in how we feel.

The beneficial effects of sauna divided into phases

Taking a sauna bath consists of several phases. Each sauna has its own beneficial effect on your body.

Specifically, the beneficial effects of a sauna can be divided into the following phases:

Warm-up phase

  • Increase in body temperature
  • Possible normalization of blood pressure
  • Perspiration and elimination of harmful substances
  • Relaxation of the muscles and psyche

Cooling phase

  • Psychological effect of invigoration and restoration of strength
  • Normalization of body temperature
  • Gymnastics for skin pores and blood vessels
  • Restoration of blood oxygen levels

Total effect of the sauna session

  • General sense of well-being
  • Training of the heart muscle through adjustment of the circulatory system
  • Stimulation of hormone production by the pituitary forelimb and the adrenal cortex
  • Stimulation of cell renewal
  • Increases resistance and protects against infections
  • Provides a cleansing of the skin
  • Production of serotonin (see below for more info)

Facts about the production of serotonin

Several scientific studies have been done on the link between heat and health.

A groundbreaking discovery was made regarding the link between elevated body temperature and well-being. One identified a specific group of neurons in the brain sensitive to heat.

As body temperature rises, these neurons release more serotonin, the happiness hormone.

In other words, there is a connection between going to the sauna and our feeling of happiness. People who go to the sauna regularly tend to be more stress-resistant and feel more relaxed and fulfilled than people who do not go to the sauna.

Sauna for stress relief: Conclusion

Sauna is a great way to dedicate time for your own well-being.

It’s not just the satisfaction of taking time out for yourself; it is scientifically proven that it does the mind and body a world of good.

So make sure to try to book some feel-good time for yourself, and reap the benefits of a sauna for stress relief.

Tip: Additionally, sauna use benefits the skin as well, as explained in our other article Benefits of sauna for skin: Roadmap to cleansing for radiant skin

About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More