SHA Magazine Health & Beauty

The sauna and its multiple health benefits

SHA Magazine
March 12, 2024

The sauna is an ancient practice that has survived almost untouched to the present day. So many generations and cultures cannot be wrong. If the sauna is also a contemporary practice, it is because its benefits are evident. Now certainly much more studied and backed by solid scientific evidence.

Its most obvious benefits are relaxation and stress relief. The penetrating heat helps to relax muscles, dilate cells and reduce accumulated tension, which significantly improves mood and a sense of well-being.

In the sauna, if you hold it and do it right, you will sweat, and that’s great news because it stimulates perspiration, a process that helps the body eliminate toxins and waste products through the skin. It’s a full-blown detoxification process, which helps cleanse the body and improves the function of the lymphatic system and the immune system.

The heat dilates the blood vessels (if you then get into cold water they constrict creating a very pleasurable sensation), dilating the vessels increases blood flow, and improves circulation and delivery of oxygen and nutrients to all tissues of the body. This speeds recovery from muscle injuries and improves cardiovascular health.

Taking a sauna cleanses the pores and removes impurities from the skin leaving it beautiful, with a velvety appearance and smoother texture. In addition, the increased blood flow provides additional nutrients to the skin.

Finally, after a sauna you sleep like a baby because your body and mind relax, making it easier to fall asleep and get a good night’s rest.


How often should one take a sauna?

The general recommendation for healthy people is to take a sauna one to three times a week. This frequency may vary depending on age, physical condition and the individual’s ability to recover. Sessions usually range from 10 to 20 minutes, although some people can tolerate longer. Listen to your body and leave at the first sign of discomfort or discomfort.

There are more studies on the benefits of Finnish sauna than infrared sauna and sessions of fifteen minutes are usually observed, resting for five minutes, and depending on the person, the process can even be repeated. During the rest you can be at room temperature or even submerge yourself in a tub of cold water“, explains Dr. Rosario García, expert in Well-ageing Medicine at SHA Wellness Clinic.

Dr García explains that the sauna triggers mechanisms similar to those of vigorous aerobic exercise. “That is why it is proposed as a therapy for people with little or no mobility, as it generates a hormonal response in the organism. In other words, when faced with a small stress such as an increase in temperature, the body’s adaptive response is disproportionate to the stimulus, but it generates many benefits for the organism. In the case of the sauna, there is an increase in protein activity due to heat shock within the cell.”

When the temperature rises, the body tries to redistribute plasma to reduce heat and increase sweating and thus the elimination of heavy metals such as aluminium, cadmium and lead, as well as toxins such as blisphenols.

Thirty minutes after a sauna, all these effects and benefits begin to be felt in the body. Sauna stimulates the anti-inflammatory response and this prevents the development of autoimmune and degenerative diseases. For Dr García, the sauna is like a silver bullet: “It is beneficial on all levels“.


Most common mistakes when taking a sauna

Staying too long. It can lead to dehydration, dizziness and even heat stroke. It is important to limit sessions to the recommended duration and listen to your body’s overheating signals.

Failure to hydrate. The sauna causes sweating, and a significant loss of fluids. It is essential to drink enough water before, during and after the sauna to avoid dehydration.

Going in with an empty or very full stomach. Entering with an empty stomach can cause dizziness or weakness, and with a full stomach, can produce gastrointestinal discomfort. The best sauna is taken on a slightly full stomach. It is recommended to avoid heavy meals just before entering.

Do not shower before entering the sauna. Sweat and impurities can accumulate on the skin and clog pores, reducing the effectiveness of the sauna session.

Do not give the body time to cool down after the sauna. The body should cool down gradually before showering.


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