The benefits of Sauna use are certainly boosting our immune system. Especially in these days of Covid 19, it would be good if we are allowed to visit a sauna. But unfortunately, if you don’t have your own sauna, you will not be allowed to visit a public one. In the Netherlands, they are closed.
I think this doesn’t seem right and I will tell you why. We need to strengthen our immune system by walking a lot in the fresh air, eating and drinking healthy, and visiting a Sauna would greatly benefit our health.
A German Priest has been a Great Example.
If you live outside Germany and Europe, you will not know him, but this priest is a great example of what natural therapies can do. He is not the founder of the Sauna, but Hydrotherapy, using water in different temperatures to strengthen the body and the immune system.
Sebastian Kneipp ( 1821-1897) was a Bavarian priest and significant for the naturopathic medicine movement. He has built several hospitals in Bad Woerishofen in Bavaria, Germany, where they healed people according to five components.
Hydrotherapy- The use of water
Phytotherapy– The use of botanical medicines
Exercise– Promoting health by moving the body.
Nutrition– A wholesome diet, whole grains, vegetables and fruits, little meat
Balance– A healthy body, a healthy mind, a healthy person.
His biography is very impressive. Coming from a weaver family, it was expected that he trains as a weaver as well. When he was 23 years old, he began training for the priesthood.
But he got tuberculosis, a disease very common in his time, due to the cold and wet houses they were living in. Many physicians tried to heal him but without success.
As ill as he was, Kneipp himself began to study many books, finding one book about water cures, in which his illness was described.
So he began to go to the river Donau in wintertime and started jumping into the cold water leading to recovering from his illness. He started to develop the Kneipp cures, including the other four therapies described above.
Hydrotherapy is an essential part of visiting a Sauna. By showering with warm and cold water in change, people strengthen their circulatory system, detoxification is speeding up, and the immune system becomes stronger.
What is a Sauna?
The most known Saunas are the Finnish saunas, where a small room is used to heat up, and by pouring water over the stove, hot steam lets the bathers sweating.
You find Saunas worldwide, but they come originally from Finland and the Baltic countries and have spread over to other European countries by migrating Finns who brought their traditions. The importance of sauna in their daily life has formed their cultures. The word sauna is an ancient Finnish word meaning the traditional Finnish bath and bathhouses. It can be a small cabin or cottage.
You will find different temperatures from 40-60*C(104-140*F) to 100*C(212*F) in the modern Saunas. The humidity is very different and very high in a Turkish bath where the humidity approaches even 100%.
These are called steam baths. Everything is very wet in these baths, hot drops are coming from the ceiling, and you can hardly see the other person.
Most saunas are quite dry. You find benches on different levels. The higher you will go up, the hotter the temperature, and the stronger the sauna’s experience.
There are Infrared saunas that are widely used by many people. They are not really saunas, but great for detoxification of the liver and the lymphatic system. I know many people who own an infrared sauna. By using the sauna every day, you will experience great health benefits.
The heat of the sauna starts a reaction in the body beginning to perspire. Perspiration is a sign of autonomic responses trying to cool the body.
If you feel the heat is unbearable, you better leave the room before feeling faint or ill. When you leave the room, the cooling down phasis starts. It is a part of the sauna cycle and very important.
Better to wait some moments before showering cold or entering a cold plunge. The body reacts with an amount of circulatory stress. It is quite a shock for the body, but if the cooling down is done gradually, you will reap the benefits. Always drink a lot of pure water to hydrate your body.
Benefits of Sauna Use
Increased sauna bathing frequency is reported to have many positive health effects, like cardiovascular benefits and reduced inflammation in the blood, a reduction in vascular diseases such as high blood pressure, and nonvascular diseases such as pulmonary diseases. Prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are also associated with sauna use.
The immune system gets stronger, and viruses, bacterias, and other parasites have fewer chances to overcome the body’s defense system. If you frequently use a sauna, you will feel stronger, healthier, and adapt better to cold and warm temperatures. Influenza viruses and bacterias will not so easily target your body. Sauna might be very advisable against other viruses like the Covid 19 virus.
You should be careful if you already have cardiovascular problems. The change in temperatures could be devastating for your body if you already have an underlying health problem. But I believe if you use common sense while sauna bathing, you will improve your health.
Many people drink alcohol or coffee while being in the sauna. My advice is to avoid alcohol and drink lots of pure water to hydrate your body and help the detoxification process.
Perspiration is one way for the body to get rid of toxins. To replace the fluid, it is better to drink only water. Drinking alcohol may affect the body’s ability to maintain blood pressure. You will risk an orthostatic hypotensive reaction, which might cause you to faint and have accidents as a result.
Many people have a whole sauna ritual by visiting the restaurant and having a brunch or dinner. If you do so, you better have a nap until your body is ready for the sauna again.
Drinking pure water, and eating a light salad will not burden your stomach too much. Take a rest of 30 to 60 minutes before you start with the sauna cycle again. Then you should be fine.
Hydrotherapy- why is this good for us?
If you use a sauna, you already do hydrotherapy by warming up in the hot room and cooling down your body with cold water. Hydrotherapy is beneficial in many ways and is used a lot in wellness.
In Germany, people who have certain conditions are very often sent to cure for some weeks. There are many places where you have spring water that you may drink and where people receive all kinds of therapies to recover and relax, including healthy diets and a wellness area where people can use a sauna, do fitness, or get massages.
This is very common, and people love to do that. To be sent to a cure, you need to have a health condition, so your doctor will prescribe the cure.
To cure illnesses with water is very well-known. Different sorts of hydrotherapy, using water at varying temperatures for health purposes, including saunas, steam baths, foot baths, warm and cold baths, and wraps.
The benefits lie in dilating the capillaries while using hot water and constricting the capillaries using cold water. This helps the body to clean itself of waste by activating the lymphatic and blood system and regulating its temperature.
The cold water helps to relieve inflammation in the body because of slowing down the blood flow. You feel refreshed if you do this daily and be able to adapt better to the external temperatures.
The reduction of inflammation is proven. Maybe you know the Iceman, a dutchman, Wim Hof, an extreme athlete who can withstand freezing temperatures. He is the Wim Hof Method founder, a combination of frequent cold exposure, breathing techniques, and meditation. He has set a world record for the fastest half marathon barefoot on ice and snow, in 2 hours, 16 minutes, and 22 seconds on 26.January 2007.
His blood results showing the suppression of the immune system while taking an ice bath were quite impressive. He had reduced levels of proteins associated with the immune response to be attributed to increased stress. Researchers found out that the cold temperatures slow down inflammation.
This might be why people who have rheumatoid arthritis are treated by Cryotherapy using cold temperatures with good results. When skin receptors sense the cold, they send messages to the brain, releasing anti-inflammatory proteins into the body, delaying the disease’s progression. Some people were even able to leave their wheelchairs.
The benefits of sauna use and Hydrotherapy are amazing. By treating the body with changing temperatures of warm and cold, you will activate your body’s natural healing powers to relieve many medical conditions.
It will improve the immune, lymphatic, circulatory, and digestive systems if it is frequently done, giving you a better life quality. Your immune system will be stronger.
Please let me know what you think and what are your experiences with this topic?
To your health,