Ancient cultures knew the benefits of sweating for good health. Native Americans held sweat lodge ceremonies for spiritual enlightenment. European cultures used sweating for physical cleansing and warmth.
Celtic tribes were known to sweat it out in clay-covered stone huts to treat ailments like rheumatism. The Finns are credited with inventing the first sauna. Early examples were pits dug into the ground with fireplaces where heated stones would be doused with water to create steam heat.
Today, most modern Finnish homes feature a built-in sauna.
Saunas in the past several years have become more accessible than ever, offered in many gyms, health spas, and even in our homes. And the more we use them, the more we're noticing their amazing mental health benefits
Using Sauna for Mental Health
Sauna use has been shown to improve your mood, help clear your mind, sharpen your focus, and may even reduce your risk for dementia and Alzheimer's.
Here are five ways a sauna can help boost your mood, mental clarity, and overall mental health.
Lessen Brain Fog
We all suffer from occasional mental fatigue or “brain fog.” That can mean an inability to focus, trouble concentrating, or difficulty remembering words.
Research shows that the heat from sauna usage helps increase your BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factors, which encourage new brain cell growth. These are crucial for improving brain function and memory.
One study showed that a post-workout sauna helped boost the amount of BDNF in the brain, beyond just exercise alone.
Sharpen Your Focus
The physical stress of the heat from a sauna causes a surge of norepinephrine. Men who sat in a sauna showed their norepinephrine levels increased three-fold, one study reported. The next time you need to refocus, step into a sauna for some mental clarity.
Improve Your Mood
An Australian survey of nearly 500 people from 29 countries found that those who used a sauna five to 15 times per month experienced higher mental well-being.
Sauna lowers the stress hormone cortisol in your body, and helps to reduce stress levels and relieve anxiety. Regular sauna usage helps reduce feelings of frustration and increases relaxation.
Lowers Your Risk for Dementia and Alzheimer's
A Finnish study showed that men who regularly used a sauna four to seven times a week had a 65 percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Saunas create heat stress on your brain, which activates heat shock proteins (HSPs). These prevent beta amyloid proteins from clumping, which is what causes the plaque found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
The Alzheimer’s Association notes that sweating is an important way to improve brain health.
Try a Sauna for Yourself
Now that you know how good sauna is, not just for your body, but your mind as well, it's time to get yourself in one! We offer a range of in-home infrared saunas and accessories that can take your self care and wellness to the next level. And if you are already enjoying the benefits of a sauna, we would love to hear about them in the comments and in our social channels!