Is sauna therapy just another health gimmick? You can waste a lot of time and money with the latest health gadgets and gimmicks but sauna therapy isn’t one of them. In fact, sauna therapy is a huge win for your body, the darker and colder the days, the more benefit.
I would say for those of us living 46 degrees north latitude and above, a sauna should be part of our standard operating procedure. The barrier to entry for a good infrared sauna is not astronomical, though most of us will still have to plan for a $3 to $5 thousand dollar investment. A high quality sauna can last a lifetime and can even be passed on to the next generation.
Infrared saunas are a lot easier to manage and therefore a lot more likely to be used. You can literally plug them in, give them a few minutes to heat up and you are off to the races. If I was to get another sauna I would get one from Heavenly Heat or Sauna Ray. My current one is from Sauna Ray. Please note: I have zero affiliation with these companies.
Why Sauna Therapy?
Think it about you can go sit in a really warm room, read a book, talk to you buddy and walk out 20-30 minutes later having improved the balance of your autonomic nervous system and given your body more life margin.
Sauna therapy actually mimics the physiological and protective responses we get when we exercise from:
- a more balanced stress response
- preservation of muscle mass
- countering sarcopenia
- protection from neurodegenerative disease
- protection from cardiovascular disease
For example, if you are injured but you don’t want to lose all your fitness, you can jump into a sauna and get the circulatory and the stress reduction benefits.
You don’t need the sauna temp to be insane to reap benefits either. Strong data supports benefit for ailments from 113F to 212F. The key is consistency.
Consider that with neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s, men who did sauna therapy 4-7 times per week had a 66% and 65% lower risk of developing these diseases and a 77% decreased risk of developing psychotic disorders. I will take that!
If you recognize a neurodegenerative pattern in your family or your own cognition is slipping, sauna therapy might just be a huge part your journey in the health accumulation direction. If stress is a contributing factor to feeling forgetful and frazzled, then support your body with Stress Metab.
How to start with sauna therapy
My general rule is to start with short bouts of time, even as low as 5 minutes or just to the point of light perspiration and then hop out to allow your body to acclimate and to minimize potential side effects. I would also consider starting at the lower end of the heat spectrum as well.
And one last thing if you are going to buy a sauna, be sure to check on the amount of EMF’s, glues, and any fake wood or plastic used in their creation. Basically, if any of those are present I would pass.