October 04, 2018

Sauna's for Health? Part 1

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

When was the last time you got into a hot sauna?  Probably on your last vacation right?  And why did you use it?  Just to relax more than likely!  Did you know there are excellent health benefits of regular hot sauna use?

You’ve likely heard of a Finnish sauna.  That’s because the Finns have been using saunas for over 2000 years. A full 99% of Fins take at least one sauna per week! Here in the USA we mainly see them as a luxury for use at the gym or on vacation. But many in Finland have them right in their homes and businesses.

As you would expect, most research on sauna use for health benefits comes from Finland.
The main beneficial effects are related to cardiovascular health. Researchers have found that the frequency of sauna use and length of time spent in it are directly correlated with lower risk of lethal cardiovascular events. These events include reduced risk of sudden cardiac death, fatal coronary artery disease and fatal cardiovascular disease.

The benefits to the heart were found to be so good, researchers compared a sauna bath to exercise of low to moderate intensity. The functional benefits such as improvement in blood pressure and left ventricular function are similar in sauna baths and exercise that gets the heart rate up to a maximum of 150 beats per minute.

In another study, those who had a 30 minute sauna session twice a week for just 3 weeks after workouts increased their time to exhaustion by 30%, they got tired less quickly when exercising. This is mainly due to “hyperthermic conditioning.” Basically your body gets used to the heat and makes it easier for you to perform your exercise when the body temperature increases. It does this by increasing blood plasma volume and blood flow to the heart and muscles.

Sauna use is also good for pain relief and longevity. It soothes muscles after workouts as well as relieving pain of many arthritic conditions, including fibromyalgia. It can help with longevity by boosting HGH (human growth hormone) by 2-5 times with specific protocols.

The most widely recognized benefit to your health though, is detoxification by sweating. Not only are toxic heavy metals released, but bisphenol-A and phthalates (found a lot in plastic), arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury and urea.

Urea is what your body excretes through urine. But it also excretes it via sweating, up to 7% of daily urea elimination is by this means.

The body seems to prefer dermal excretion (sweating) of heavy metals over urinary excretion. Heavy metals are more concentrated in sweat than urine according to studies.

Saunas do more than detoxify. We will look at that and the different types of saunas in the next article.