5 ways in which sauna lowers and reduces blood pressure
- 1 5 ways in which sauna lowers and reduces blood pressure
- 1.1 How do saunas work?
- 1.2 How sauna lowers blood pressure and improves heart quality
If you have high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease, your doctor or friends may have recommended you to go to the sauna. Sauna bathing has been a tradition in Finland and Japan through spas for centuries. The rate of heart disease and hypertension in Finland and Japan is very low. Although it may be a coincidence, the high life expectancy in these countries and the correlation between sauna bathing and cardiovascular health indicate that something else affects it. Medical studies have shown that regular sauna bathing can alleviate and prevent many chronic and acute medical problems.
In this article, we will go through the positive effects of saunas and infrared saunas on blood pressure and heart health. We will start a quick review of saunas and infrared saunas, as well as their use.
How do saunas work?
The sauna is a safe and relaxing space where you can go and experience the warmth. The calm warmth of the sauna heals the skin and reduces stress by taking you far from the rigors of everyday life. Even a short but regular sauna bathing has far-reaching health effects that can last a lifetime. Today there are many different types of saunas, including traditional and modern versions for your own home at an affordable price.
A traditional sauna uses steam to heat the air. Sauna visitors throw water into the stove to create steam. The high temperature of the steam in the air warms the body of the bather, which is reflected in sweating. High temperatures in the sauna can be difficult to tolerate at first if you are not used to high heat and humidity. At first, it is recommended to start with lower temperatures and go to the sauna for short periods of time. Drinking water is also recommended and important, because when you sweat in the sauna, your body removes fluids.
An infrared sauna
The more modern sauna is the infrared sauna. Infrared saunas use infrared light to safely heat the body in very small spaces. They are today the most accessible saunas for home use. Infrared light, like sunlight, penetrates deep into the skin and warms the body from the inside. Infrared light has also been shown to have specific disease- and cancer-killing effects, and is good for the skin. There are also portable infrared saunas, which are even more affordable and accessible. They work as efficiently as traditional saunas. The difference lies only in the fact that they are smaller and less spacious.
Remember safety in the sauna
Before using a sauna or infrared sauna, it is a good idea to talk to a doctor if your health requires it. The sauna is safe for almost all people. After all, 90% of Finns have a sauna either at home, and people have been using saunas for thousands of years. However, some people, such as young children or pregnant women, should be more careful, since it is easier to face heat exhaustion in the sauna if they are not used to it.
How sauna lowers blood pressure and improves heart quality
Given the prevalence of saunas and heat therapy in different cultures around the world, many detailed studies have been conducted on the health benefits of saunas. The high temperature of the sauna has many beneficial effects on hypertension and cardiovascular health. Researchers have found five common ways in which sauna and heat can improve your well-being. These include low blood pressure, decreased stress, low cholesterol, improved vascular stiffness, and more efficient blood circulation.
1. Sauna as a blood pressure reducer
The use of the sauna has several physical effects on the users. In the sauna, the heart rate rises rapidly, up to 150 beats per minute, which for most people is at the level of aerobic training. Studies conducted in Europe showed that blood pressure and the speed of blood pumped by the heart both decreased by 30 minutes in a hot sauna. The reasoning for how a sauna can cause these effects is multifaceted. A typical hot sauna increases the heart rate, which then increases sweating and hormone production. This causes a decrease in blood pressure, since the hormones produced in the high heat of the sauna are similar to those produced during high physical exertion. There are several cascading effects that work together to lower blood pressure and create numerous other important health effects.
2. Sauna reduces stress
You may have noticed that you feel more relaxed or get a “runner’s height” after a long aerobic workout. This effect is caused by various hormones produced by the body and brain, including endorphins and norepinephrine. Although these hormones are temporary, their effects can last a long time. Almost all medical professionals recommend regular exercise for its benefits for long-term health.
Saunas can also cause the body to produce the same hormones that increase relaxation, promote well-being and thus lower blood pressure. The mental side of relaxation and concentration offered by the sauna cannot be overestimated. Relaxing in the sauna also leads to a decrease in the perceived stress level. Studies have shown that mental stress often leads to physical effects. A high level of mental stress causes damaging physical problems that are simply caused by stress perceived in the mind. On the other hand, regular sauna bathing can create a good mood and peace, which fights stress, depression and promotes relaxation.
Infrared saunas are also good for sleeping. A good night’s sleep is necessary after a long and stressful day. The heat of the sauna has been shown to enhance deep and restorative sleep and reduce chronic fatigue and pain.
3. Saunas reduce oxidant and bad cholesterol
Oxidants are an imbalance in the body between toxins and hardworking cells of the body. If your body can’t work fast enough to balance the formation of oxidants with antioxidants, it can lead to damage to DNA or other cellular structures. This causes symptoms of aging, damage to the walls of blood vessels, as well as an increased risk of cancer and heart failure. It is important to fight oxidative stresses as soon as possible.
Studies have shown that one sauna habit was able to reduce the level of oxidants in the blood by 20%. It had the same effects as 30 minutes of aerobic exercise in a sample of 43 healthy individuals. Hormones produced by the body in the heat stimulate the body to produce antioxidants. The sauna also cured many other beneficial cardiovascular signs. For example, the level of bad cholesterol and lipids in the blood was found to decrease moderately after Finnish saunas. Scientists have also discovered infrared saunas to improve the immune system, which prevents colds and flu. The heat of the sauna creates the same effect as antioxidants, such as vitamin C.
4. Saunas improve the quality of blood vessels
Several studies have shown that heat therapy improves the functioning of blood vessels. The arteries were less rigid and blood pressure decreased after regular use of infrared and traditional saunas. Rigid blood vessels are a significant risk factor for heart disease. Increased blockage and inflammation of the arteries can lead to heart attacks. Even if the arteries are not completely blocked, sufferers may feel out of breath, find it more difficult to participate in aerobic activity, and are at risk of future cardiovascular problems.
Saunas can lead to the production of natural biomarkers in the body, which triggers the expansion of blood vessels and thinning of the artery walls. This means that the blood vessels dilate and blood can flow more easily. Of course, this process also causes lower blood pressure due to the larger diameter of the arteries. One study found an improvement of about 10 to 20 percent in each metric after eight weeks of using an infrared sauna. To reduce the risk of heart failure, sauna therapy can be an effective and simple solution.
5. Sauna boosts blood circulation
Wider blood vessels enhance better blood flow. Saunas lead to reduced signs of inflammation in the blood, which allow the blood to move more freely with less polluting substances. The heat from the infrared sauna warms the body from the inside and raises the body temperature. This causes the blood flow to increase steadily, which reduces blood pressure and reduces the load on the heart.
Saunas also benefit the lungs, which mainly carry oxygen to the body. High heat, steam and sweating reduce congestion in the lungs and allow the lungs to work more efficiently, bringing more oxygen into the blood. Your heart doesn’t have to work so hard to pump oxygen into the body if your lungs are working better.