My Sauna Experience and the Benefits
I am currently away from home in Germany and at my hotel there is a Finnish style sauna. While always concerned with my natural living and health this was the perfect opportunity to take part in something Raven has raved and spoke about extensively; the Sauna. There is extensive research on the health benefits of frequent sauna use. Scandinavian countries have used saunas for hundreds of years and Finland, with a population of five million, has close to one million saunas. Most Finns take a sauna bath weekly and grew up hearing the adage: "If the sauna, schnapps, and birch tar don't help, then death is near." (1)
Japanese researchers looked into the effects of sauna use on those suffering from Fibromyalgia syndrome. The researchers put 44 women through differing numbers of sauna treatments over the course of a 12 week period. All of the patients reported significant reductions in pain and symptoms of 31–77% after the 12-week thermal therapy program, which remained relatively stable (28–68%) during the 6-month follow-up period. (2)
Of course the Finnish would have good data on the health benefits of sauna and analyzing data from the Finnish Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Study, the authors found that men who took more frequent saunas (4-7 times per week) actually live longer. (3) The health benefits of sauna use could go on and on as there are claims of it increasing metabolism, lowering blood sugar, cardiovascular health, detoxification of heavy metals (such as lead, cadmium, copper, manganese and nickel), blood pressure and more.
Hearing Raven talk about this and her experience while in Finland led it to be a no brainer for me to have a go. The protocol aimed at about 5-20 minutes in the sauna, followed by cold immersion (swim or shower) and a period of room temperature recovery before repeating. In a single sauna session, this pattern is repeated 2-3 times. For me I went and took a cold shower then sat in the sauna for about 5-10 minutes, went and took another quick cold shower, hung out on the balcony and repeated about 4 times.
The sweat poured freely out of me and could feel parts of my body that felt hotter than others and would be curious if those spots were reacting to the heat and releasing. Not sure but the heat loosened up the body and the refreshing cold blast helps with inflammation and muscle recovery. After my session I showered off and then let my body air dry and the cooling evaporation felt amazing. I will have to keep it up for the remainder of the week and document what kind of results I can see myself.
I still hold the promise that I will ensure Raven gets her sauna for benefits for a lifetime.
(1) Crinnion, Walter J. "Sauna as a valuable clinical tool for cardiovascular, autoimmune, toxicant-induced and other chronic health problems." Alternative Medicine Review, Sept. 2011, p. 215+. Academic OneFile, Accessed 15 May 2017.
(2) Shuji Matsumoto, et al., Department of Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine, Graduate school of Medical and Dental Sciences, Kagoshima University, Kagoshima, Japan.
(3) Laukkanen T, Khan H, Zaccardi F, Laukkanen JA. Association between sauna bathing and fatal cardiovascular and all-cause mortality events [published online February 23, 2015].