Infrared Sauna – Promotes Relaxation, Lowers Blood Pressure
In Finland, saunas are regarded as places for mental relaxation and physical rejuvenation. Today, this unique Finnish culture has been exported far and wide leading to a rising trend in sauna usage. It is no surprise that modern day infrared saunas are highly regarded for their ability to burn calories, detoxify skin and clear the mind. While people who visit saunas regularly claim to experience post-sauna bliss, there are surprisingly very few studies that empirically validate such claims, until now.
This year, we are finally beginning to understand how sitting, and perhaps copiously sweating, in the sauna, benefits the body physiologically. The key, it turns out, is our body’s circulatory system. A new study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension proposes that people who regularly use saunas experience a decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. These are the two components of a blood pressure reading—the systolic is first (top), which is indicative of the pressure your heart is exerting, and the diastolic is second (bottom), which is a reading of the pressure in your arteries. Lowering one or both of these numbers can be beneficial for those who have hypertension or high blood pressure.
The study claims that sitting in the heat of the sauna causes the heart to mimic a cardiovascular exercise. Blood pumps faster, sweat increases, blood vessels dilate, and the heart rate rises up to 120 beats per minute. In essence, sitting and relaxing in a sauna is equivalent to going for a run, for the heart at least. That said, people who sit around in saunas should not expect toned muscles – you need proper exercise for that.
The key takeaway of the study is that sauna usage lowers blood pressure – specifically the dialostic blood pressure, up to 30 minutes after a sauna session – suggesting that consistent sauna usage has longer lasting benefits over time. No wonder the Finns are such happy and healthy people.
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