With the introduction of our new locker rooms many of our members are enjoying our pristine new sauna and steam rooms.
Not just a way to relax and pamper yourself – the health benefits are numerous.
As our body temperature increases, our nervous system fires up evoking heavy and deep sweating. The capillaries expand to allow for increased blood flow from the faster paced heart. According to a Harvard Medical School published piece, the heart rate can rise from 60-70 to 110-120 bpm in the sauna / steam thus training our heart muscles for a stronger cardio output. This has been shown to also lowering our blood pressure.
Time spent in the sauna or steam can cause a rush of endorphins that can cause a tranquilizing effect on pain in both muscles and joints.
GOOD FOR THE SKIN
And a rise in body heat helps with the natural healing process by reducing levels of lead, copper, zinc, mercury and other toxic chemicals from the pores as well as dead skin.
U.S. Army medical research (Ward Dean, M.D.) reported that sweating off 500 grams in the sauna is possible for someone who is moderately conditioned conditioned. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3916915/
ILLNESS / DISEASE FIGHTING
White blood cells are are cells of the immune system that are involved in protecting the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders. https://www.google.com/search?q=what+do+white+blood+cells+do&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS716US731&oq=what+do+white+blood+cells+do&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.4655j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
And in 2016 researchers from Finland published a 20 year study that associated time in a sauna with a lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. https://academic.oup.com/ageing/article/46/2/245/2654230
Being in a steam room can help ward off the symptoms of flu and cold in that breathing in moist air will moisten and loosen mucus making it easier to breathe and ease throat irritation.
POSITIVE EFFECTS ON ORGANS
The elevated heat from sauna and steam can have many positive effects on various organs. Elevated scrotal temperatures can increase sperm production. There can also be relief of itching of some minor skin diseases. And asthmatics experience less wheezing.
As stated above, when blood vessels expand this stimulates circulation which can increase endorphins. And what’s more is that its a quiet space where you can close the door on the world and do something for yourself for a few minutes.
WHEN TO USE WHICH
Basically you can’t go wrong with either one. The sauna will most likely be hotter but will feel cooler due to the lack of humidity. However the steam can elliviate more breathing and cold & flu symptoms.
BEFORE OR AFTER A WORKOUT
Researching the answer to this questions gave us responses that were pretty much across the board so we turned to Jennifer Connell DPT from Bay State Physical Therapy for her advice. She told us that going into the sauna or steam before or after a workout is a matter of personal preference. Just try not to exceed more than 20 minutes at a time in either.