How Saunas Help to Lower Stress and Improve Mental Health
Saunas are lovely and feel great. Almost everyone enjoys spending time inside of a sauna. Saunas loosen tight muscles, make us feel warm and relaxed, and offer a number of proven physical health benefits.
However, you might not be aware of the additional health benefits that saunas provide. You likely already know about the physical benefits of spending time in saunas, but do you know that they can help to improve mental health as well?
There are a number of different ways that saunas can help reduce stress, depression, and anxiety. Many find that regular sauna sessions can help participants to feel as though everything is right in the world and that they can overcome any obstacles that they face.
There are scientific reasons for all of the above. It’s no wonder so many people enjoy sauna sessions on a regular basis everywhere around the world.
To learn more about the positive effects that saunas can have on mental health, read on. You’ll learn so much in this informative post.
1. Anxiety and Stress Reduction
One of the main reasons that people enjoy saunas is the fact that they feel that they reduce their feelings of anxiety and stress. This is not simply anecdotal, though. Studies have shown that sauna sessions decrease cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is the main stress hormone in your body, so it’s only natural that when it is reduced, your stress and anxiety is lowered as well.
2. Improved Sleep
One of the best ways to improve mental health in general is to get a good night’s sleep every night. This is easier said than done for some, though, and as many as one in four Americans develop insomnia in any given year.
Regular sauna sessions are a great way to combat insomnia. The heat penetrates your muscles and will make you feel more relaxed. When your muscles are loose, you will fall asleep more easily and you will be able to stay asleep longer as well.
If you have access to a sauna at the gym, try it for a week straight and you’ll see a major difference in your sleep patterns. You can imagine the immense sleep benefits that you’ll experience if you install a sauna in your home.
3. Positive Mood Enhancement
Many people report that they feel a sense of euphoria when they step out of a sauna after a session. This should not be a surprise to anyone. Some liken it to being back in their mother’s womb. In a sauna, you’re closed off from all of the harsh external forces in the outer world and have time to take a breather. It’s no wonder that people feel invincible afterward.
In one study, published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practices, forty-five men and women were surveyed after just one session in a sauna. They were asked about their feelings of fatigue, depression, anxiety, hostility, vigor, and anger, and researchers found that spending time in a sauna clearly seems to improve all of the above. Saunas can greatly improve your overall feelings and mood.
4. Depression Fighter
Saunas can help you fight and potentially even defeat depression. The euphoria that people feel when they use a sauna is well documented. This euphoria is caused by the release of euphoric hormones.
The more frequently you use a sauna, the more often you will feel these feelings. If you use a sauna on a daily basis, you will experience this boost every time. As a result, you will feel more consistent happiness and will reduce the terrible symptoms of depression.
5. Promotes Introspection and Reflection
One reason that some people enjoy spending time in saunas so much is that they give them the opportunity to spend quiet time alone in a small, enclosed space, without any distractions. This isolation is similar to the isolation enjoyed by some in sensory deprivation float tank chambers.
These spaces give people a chance to be alone with their thoughts and deep introspection and reflection are then possible. This can help to improve mental health by allowing participants to quiet their minds and focus on things that are important to them. A regular sauna practice can be immensely helpful as a result. Everyone can benefit from some quiet, thought-provoking time alone.
6. Natural Pain Relief
Although saunas are very relaxing, part of the reason they feel that way is the fact that the intense heat causes some stress on the body. In response, the body releases beta-endomorphins which help to reduce pain in general.
These beta-endomorphins are strong and powerful. They not only help the body achieve homeostasis in a warm environment but they also act upon other pain you may be feeling. As anyone with chronic pain knows, pain can have a very negative effect on one’s mental health. The reduction of pain can help improve one’s mental health over time.
7. Overall Mental Health Support
Another chemical in the body that can help reduce mental challenges and improve mood is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF repairs old or damaged brain cells and stimulates the growth of new ones. Some scientists view BDNF as a natural antidepressant; people who suffer from depression often have reduced levels of this chemical. Research has shown that heat can help to increase BDNF, so it makes sense that regular sauna sessions can help in this realm.
Saunas Can Improve Mental Health
As you can see, saunas can and do improve mental health for people who use them on a regular and ongoing basis. So many people report that they feel great after time in a sauna, but the science supports their statements and feelings as well. Everyone can benefit from saunas, and people who have saunas installed in their homes can experience these benefits every single day.
If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a sauna and starting a sauna routine, then what are you waiting for? We offer a variety of sauna options including traditional, infrared, and hybrid styles and we’d love to help you make this dream a reality. Give us a call today. We are standing by to answer your questions, and we can’t wait to meet you!