• Repeat sauna use for 3 weeks post-workout increased the time that it took for distance runners to run until exhaustion by 32%. An increase of plasma volume and red blood cells was also observed (Scoon et al., 2007)
  • Heat acclimation (from repetitive sauna use) increases blood flow to the heart, reduces cardiovascular strain, and lowers heart rate to show enhanced endurance in athletes (Garrett et al., 2012; Heat Acclimation Responses of an Ultra-Endurance Running Group Preparing for Hot Desert-Based Competition: European Journal of Sport Science: Vol 14, No Sup1, n.d.)
  • Heat acclimation has been shown to reduce muscle glycogen use by 40-50% compared to before heat acclimation, presumably due to increased blood flow to the muscles (King et al., 1985; Kirwan et al., 1987)
  • Heat activation may reduce the amount of muscle breakdown that occurs during disuse by increasing heat shock proteins, reducing oxidative damage, promoting release of growth hormone, and improving insulin sensitivity (Hannuksela & Ellahham, 2001; Naito et al., 2000; J. T. Selsby et al., 2007)
  • Muscle mass is better maintained or increased with use of sauna (J. T. Selsby et al., 2007; Joshua T. Selsby & Dodd, 2005)
  • articipants’ blood pressure and heart rate drop below baseline levels measured pre-sauna or -exercise” (Ketelhut & Ketelhut, 2019; Lee et al., 2017)
  • Moderate sauna users (2-3 times per week) are 27% less likely to die from cardiovascular-related causes, and frequent users (4-7 times per week) are 50% less likely to die from cardiovascular-related causes (T. Laukkanen et al., 2015)
  • In a randomized controlled trial, patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) who received only two weeks of sauna therapy demonstrated improved endurance, endothelial function, heart size, and disease status compared to those who received standard medical care (Kihara et al., 2002)
  • Individuals with peripheral artery disease demonstrated improvements in pain levels, walking endurance, and lower extremity blood flow (Shinsato et al., 2010; Chuwa Tei et al., 2007)
  • Sauna has been shown to benefit dyslipidemia by reducing LDL and total cholesterol (Gryka et al., 2014)
  • Consistent use of sauna significantly reduces risk of hypertension (Zaccardi et al., 2017)
  • Both single-session and long-term sauna use improved ventricular function in men with CHF and may have therapeutic value for treating late-stage cardiovascular disease (C. Tei & Tanaka, 1996; Tei Chuwa et al., 1995)
  • “Studies document the effectiveness of sauna therapy for persons with hypertension, congestive heart failure, and for post-myocardial infarction care. Some individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic fatigue, chronic pain, or addictions also find benefit. Existing evidence supports the use of saunas as a component of depuration (purification or cleansing) protocols for environmentally-induced illness,” (Crinnion, 2011)
  • Lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a blood protein that is a marker of inflammation, have been linked to greater frequency of sauna (J. A. Laukkanen & Laukkanen, 2018)
  • Interleukin-10, a potent anti-inflammatory protein, is increased by use of sauna (Żychowska et al., 2018)
  • Heat exposure increases the production of BDNF to promote neurogenesis – the growth of new neurons in the brain (Kojima et al., 2018; Maniam & Morris, 2010). BDNF is also produced in exercising muscle tissue, where it plays a role in muscle repair and the growth of new muscle cells (Pedersen, 2013)
  • Findings from a large study in Finland showed that men who used sauna 4-7 times per week had a 65% reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, compared to men who used the sauna only one time per week (T. Laukkanen et al., 2015)
  • Sauna reduces symptoms of depression – such as improved appetite and reduced body aches and anxiety (Janssen et al., 2016; Masuda et al., 2005)
  • Evidence suggests that beta-endorphins (released during sauna and responsible for the “feel-good” response after exercise) suppress the release of pain-promoting substances in the brain (Jezová et al., 1985; Kukkonen-Harjula & Kauppinen, 1988; Vescovi et al., 1992)
  • Research has shown that when young men stayed in a sauna that was heated to 176°F, their norepinephrine levelsincreased by 310% and their prolactin levels increased by 900% (Kukkonen-Harjula et al., 1989; Laatikainen et al., 1988). Norepinephrine enhances focus and attention, while prolactin promotes myelin growth, which makes the brain function faster, a critical feature in repairing nerve cell damage.
  • Sauna use is linked with increases in growth hormone (Hannuksela & Ellahham, 2001; Kukkonen-Harjula et al., 1989; Leppäluoto et al., 1986). Sauna use and exercise can synergize to significantly elevate growth hormone when used together (Ftaiti et al., 2008)
  • Repeated treatment with far-infrared sauna has been shown to significantly lower fasting blood glucose levels (Imamura et al., 2001)
  • Insulin resistance is improved with sauna treatment (Full Article: Whole Body Hyperthermia Improves Obesity-Induced Insulin Resistance in Diabetic Mice, n.d.)
  • Heat shock proteins, stimulated by heat stress, reduce degradation of the most powerful antioxidant in the body – glutathione (Naito et al., 2000; J. T. Selsby et al., 2007)
  • Sauna bathing facilitates the excretion of certain toxins by means of sweat production (Podstawski et al., 2014)
  • Heavy Metals are mostly excreted through sweat, and to a lesser degree, urine (Genuis, Birkholz, et al., 2011)
  • Bisphenol A (BPA) is excreted via sweat and, to a lesser degree, urine (Genuis, Beesoon, et al., 2011)
  • Some, but not all, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are excreted in sweat (Genuis et al., 2013)
  • Some phthalates, but not all, are readily excreted through sweat (Genuis, Birkholz, et al., 2011)
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