Many cultures around the world include the regular use of a sauna for a healthier lifestyle. It is believed to have considerable benefits for the body such as easing pain, helping the immune system, relieving tired muscles, extending lifespan, and many others. Many also adapt to regular sauna sessions to help manage their chronic diseases.
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What Are Chronic Diseases?
Chronic diseases are illnesses that last for a long time or have effects that last. They usually cannot be completely cured but there are ways to control or manage them. Some examples of chronic diseases include asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, kidney disease, and cancer.
They are also greatly affected by the lifestyle choices that people make. Smoking, unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, overconsumption of alcohol and other poor health choices can all lead to the development of chronic diseases. Proper management and control over these choices can help people who have them live their life more fully.
How Can Sauna Help With Chronic Diseases?
Regular sauna sessions can bring various effects on the body that can help with the management of chronic diseases. Such positive effects are the following:
- Helps With Pain
Using a sauna is known to improve blood circulation. And with that, many positive events happen to the body. The blood circulation improves due to dilated blood vessels and faster heart rate. This means more blood rushes through the veins and into different parts of the body.
The increased blood flow is known to help with the muscles to recover quickly, especially when they are sore due to sports, workouts, and other activities. Additionally, it also helps reduce tension, especially in the joints. This is quite helpful for those who experience chronic pain due to arthritis or lupus.
A study involving people with different forms of arthritis was conducted and they found out that regular infrared sauna sessions helped by reducing the pain and stiffness of the joints. With this, pain is also reduced.
- Improves Cardiovascular Health
Apart from the joints, cardiovascular health is also improved with increased blood flow. A study has shown that increased sauna use has helped in reducing the risk of deaths due to various fatal cardiovascular diseases.
Similarly, another study conducted observed the effects of sauna on having high blood pressure. Through the study, they concluded that with regular use of the sauna, the risk of having hypertension is decreased. Further study is needed to fully understand the effects of the sauna on how the cardiovascular system functions.
The brain is another area in the body that benefits from the improved blood circulation that the sauna induces. With these improvements, the mood is lightened, anxiety is reduced, and the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is reduced.
Middle-aged Finish men were studied to see whether sauna lessen the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. It is concluded that with moderate to high sauna use, a lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is observed.
- Opens Airways
People with asthma have difficulty breathing because the airways are inflamed. The inflammation limits the amount of air that passes through making it feel like there isn’t enough air in every breath. A sauna can help open up the airways. It can also help out clear out the phlegm blocking the respiratory system by loosening it to make it easier to remove.
Risks Of Using A Sauna
With the many benefits of going through regular sauna sessions with the management of chronic diseases, it’s no wonder that many people are considering to include this as part of their healthier routine. However, using the sauna still involves some risk such as the following:
The biggest risk of using a sauna is the risk of being dehydrated. Sweating in the sauna can make people lose water in their bodies. This is why it is advised to hydrate before and after using the sauna.
Also, it is best to avoid prolonged periods of using the sauna to lessen the risk of dehydration. Dehydration is very dangerous because it can have various complications like low blood pressure, seizures, kidney failure, heatstroke, coma, and unconsciousness.
- Losing Weight
Although most people would love to lose weight, some may not. Using a sauna does help lose weight but the weight loss is only due to the water loss. After replenishing the body with fluids, the water weight lost will come back.
- Male Fertility
A study has shown that men who used the sauna regularly for 15 minutes in a week for a period of 3 months had a lower sperm count. The motility of the sperm was also impaired. This may be due to the effect of the heat on the scrotum of the test subjects.
In conclusion, we can say that regular sauna sessions can help manage the different signs and symptoms associated with various chronic diseases. Although it doesn’t cure people of their chronic disease, it does help improve the health and quality of life of those who go for regular sauna sessions.
On the other hand, using a sauna isn’t perfect and also comes with risks. The good thing is that those risks can be minimized. Drinking plenty of water and not staying for an extended time are the best things to do to prevent dehydration due to a sauna.
This article is just a rough guide, and nothing should be taken as medical advice. Always be sure to check with your doctor before you start on any new treatment or protocol.
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