When was the last time you had a sauna? The health benefits of sauna treatments are well known in Scandinavia. A lot of Scandinavian homes come with an inbuilt sauna, or a sauna down by the lake. It sounds strange to the rest of the world, but the Scandinavians really do appreciate their saunas. They are used all year around in countries like Finland, Sweden and Norway and perhaps you should consider having one installed as well. After all, it can only do you more good than harm.
Saunas have been popular for a long time in Scandinavia, and it is rumored that the Vikings came up with the idea. They are said to have had small huts by the water with a wood burning fire. They burned birch wood which is very slow burning, and heated up the little hut. When it got to be too hot, they simply jumped in the water only to go back in the sauna later. Today, many hundreds of years later, the sauna is more popular than ever. But what is it good for?
Boosting your immune system and circulation
The Scandinavians are still great believers and lovers of cold water swimming. They believe that swimming in cold water will boost your immune system, and they could well be right. However, they like to make up for it as well. Once they have been for their cold swim, they jump into their sauna. A sauna can be really hot, and it will make you sweat very quickly. Scandinavians believe that by raising the body heat, you will sweat out any impurities that you have in your body. This is one way of making sure that your immune system stays in good working order.
But is it a weapon against heart disease? Quite possible actually. Doctors have found that regular users of saunas have lower blood pressure and better lung function. So, what is going on here? It is simple. when you swim in the cold water your arteries will become slightly shorter, but once you go into the warm sauna , they will stretch out again. What you are doing is giving your heart and circulatory system a workout without doing any aerobic exercise.
The same thing happens with the lungs. One minute you are inhaling cold air and the next minute hot air. All of the small blood vessels in your lungs get a good workout just like the circulatory system.
Better Skin health
Most Scandinavians also believe that regular saunas are good for the skin. This is possible be true as the heat in a sauna will open up the pores, and give your skin a good cleansing. But what about the birch wood beating? That is said to stimulate blood circulation to the upper part of the skin, and could be true as well.
Ladies in Norway, Finland and Sweden now firmly believe in sauna treatments when it comes to dealing with cellulite. After all, cellulite is a skin problem which can be aided by improved circulation in either a steam room or sauna. Beating yourself with branches of birch wood will probably help to speed up blood circulation, and even relax your muscles a little bit.
Before you run off to build your own sauna, and jump into your cold lake, get yourself a check up. The cold and hot may come as a shock to your system and you should be careful. Scandinavians are used to saunas and often start using them when they are quite young. It may be totally different for you, and you should bear that in mind.
Otherwise, you should consider taking regular saunas. Using a sauna at least twice per week all year around can be good for, but you you should never use it alone. Scandinavians like to make it a social or a family event, and this is a good idea. If it gets too hot, you might pass out and this is why you should have a friend with you. Drink as much water as you like when you have sauna, and you will give your kidneys a little workout as well.
Above all, appreciate that there are many health benefits of sauna treatments, and you may even want to try a Swedish massage in a sauna.