Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Health Benefits of Saunas

Steam baths, better known as saunas, are fairly common in today's culture as a place of luxury. Many people use saunas as a means to relax and unwind from hard work or stressful days. Many people, however, would be shocked to learn that the sauna provides a number of health benefits, and many more would be unaware of what benefits that a sauna can provide. The two major types of saunas, dry saunas and steam saunas, provide great health boosts and can provide relief for a host of aches and ailments. But, to understand these benefits and their positives, one must consider the origin of the sauna and how they function.

The Finnish people originated the concept of the sauna, and have embraced it as part of their everyday lifestyle. In Finland, the number of saunas is almost 1 per household, underscoring the strength by which the sauna is embraced in the Finnish culture. Before the advent of much of the modern health care that we have today, Finnish physicians found that it was much safer to have pregnant women give birth to their children in the saunas, as the heat created a highly sterile environment.

A dry sauna is heated by a special kind of stones. These stones are heated and placed inside the sauna, raising the temperature of the air as the heat slowly radiates from the stones. A steam sauna is similar-- however, after the stones are placed in the room, water is poured on the stones. The water rapidly evaporates, creating steam. A dry sauna only raises the temperature of the room; however a steam sauna raises the humidity as well. The question remains-- does a sauna have health benefits, and if so, what are they? Well, a sauna does have benefits, and they come from the heat in the room. The benefits of both a dry sauna and a steam sauna come from the high temperatures generated, which really have a positive impact upon your physical well-being.

You see, when your body is subjected to such high temperatures, you begin to perspire (that is to say, you begin to sweat), and perspiration causes the blood vessels to open up, thus providing a natural increase in circulation and thereby promoting healing. Additional benefits come in the form of stress relief-- saunas are very relaxing. Also, steam saunas specifically are known to improve respiratory ailments as well as all the benefits of a dry sauna. You can now see that saunas of both types are very beneficial to your physical and even mental health. However, please consult with your physician before deciding to go into a sauna because a few people with certain health problems may be putting themselves in danger.

Thanks to the discovery and development of the sauna by the Finnish, we are able to experience a myriad of health benefits while at the same time being able to relax and enjoy a soothing luxury that provides a refreshing lift to the body. The benefits of a sauna are many, and can be very therapeutic for a number of disorders and afflictions. Despite the best efforts of modern medicine, the simplicity of the sauna can be exactly what a person needs to give their health a little boost. But, if you're going to use a sauna, be careful - certain health problems can be made worse by the high temperatures, so if you're unsure, consult your physician first before using a sauna.

Chang Seward is webmaster for - where you will find additional articles on saunas.

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