We can thank the Finns for their inventions of saunas. Sweat lodges are also popular with Native American Indians and cultures like the Alaska Eskimos and the Mayans are familiar with sweat baths.
Where ever saunas are used, people benefit their health. The heat of the sauna helps the body temperature to rise, which causes the blood vessels to dilate and increase blood flow. It also stimulates the sweat glands which makes the body sweat. Although almost 99% of the sweat is water, toxins are released with it and the body is freed of accumulated waste.
With the relaxation, the sweating and the release of accumulated toxins the body’s health is greatly benefitted. The sauna is considered the poor man’s pharmacy. It benefits so many symptoms such as arteriosclerosis, diabetes, hypertention, insomnia, obesity, psoriasis, etc.
Your body’s health and immune system are stimulated through a series of alternating sessions of hot sauna and cold showers.
According to Dr. Paavo Aviola, an author in health matters:
"The sauna increases the eliminative, detoxifying and cleansing capacity of the skin by stimulation of sweat glands. A steam bath provides a mild cleansing process for the skin as certain body fluids are released through the skin. It also promotes healthy skin tone and texture due to increased blood circulation."
He also said that sauna therapy stimulates the body’s natural healing force and therefore promotes overall health.
HISTORY OF SAUNAS AND SWEAT LODGES
Many cultures throughout the world have used saunas, thermal baths, or sweat lodges. In the days when there were no showers or indoor baths, the thermal bath (public) was to facilitate healing, purification and relaxation.
• Hippocrates, the father of medicine, believed that an induced fever could cure every illness.
• 2000 years ago, the Romans had public baths to meet their friends and relax.
• The Finnish saunas are known world-wide, and are their best prescription against illness and to
promote cleanliness, and healing during their long winters.
• Well known are also the Turkish steam rooms (harara), which are still used today.
• In Syria, the steam bath, or hammam, remains a focal point of socializing, even among working women and busy families.
• In the Orient, public bath are popular and visited at least once a week, mainly because
most private homes don’t have bath (traditionally). They also have steam rooms, saunas, hot stone rooms, and hot sand rooms.
• Many American Indian tribes have also a long history of sweat lodges for cleanliness, relaxation and to revitalize body, mind and spirit. The partaking in a sweat lodge is often connected with rituals and traditions.
WHY SAUNA THERAPY IS BENEFICIAL FOR ARTHRITIS?
Arthritis and joint pain are greatly relieved through sauna therapy. It relaxes the body, toxins are released through sweating, and it stimulates circulation. Warm muscles are easier to stretch and even the joints become more flexible after being heated in the sauna.
The heat penetrates deeply into the muscles and removes uric acids, calcium deposits, and other toxins which are causing most of the arthritic pain.
Time spend in the sauna can also be used for relaxation and visualization for healing.
WHAT OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS ARE THERE FROM SAUNA THERAPY?
• Benefits cardiovascular system
• Clearer skin
• Eliminate dead skin cells
• Improves joint mobility
• Increases blood flow
• Increase circulation
• Kills viruses
• Opens sinus passages
• Promotes weight loss
• Relaxation of the whole body
• Relaxes muscles
• Relieves pain
• Relieves stress
• Speeds up the metabolic process
• Stimulates the immune system
WHICH SAUNA IS BEST FOR YOU?
Sweating is essential to our health as is breathing and eating. Many people who work in closed in offices or air-conditioned homes don’t sweat enough. Sauna therapy helps to induce heating the body to release sweat and therefore detoxifying the body. The changes of heat (sauna) and cold (shower or cold bath) increase the body’s circulation and stimulate the cardiovascular system.
Most of the secreted sweat is water (99%) but the rest is undesirable waste like excessive salt, uric acid and toxic metals. In only 15 minutes of sauna treatment toxins are expelled which would take the kidneys 24 hours.
In recent years scientists have discovered the benefits of negative ions in the sauna therapy. Additionally to the relaxation effect of the sauna, negative ions invigorate the body. Other ways of breathing negative ions is by having life plants around the house or stand by a waterfall.
In Finland saunas with wood burning stoves are most popular. Water is poured over rocks placed on the stove which releases the steam with the negative ions.
The heat of the infrared rays will penetrate deep into the muscle tissue. Far infrared energy is absorbed by the skin and is beneficial to the whole body by reducing muscle spasm, joint stiffness and pains from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. It is especially beneficial if it used immediately after an injury.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND SAUNAS?
Build one in your own home or garden
That’s probably the greatest luxury to have one build in privacy of your own home. With the portable infrared saunas it is just a matter of purchase.
Public health spas or fitness centers
Many health spas or fitness centers have saunas. It is a matter of educating the general public about the benefits of the sauna therapy.