When it comes to health and exercise, stretching often takes a backseat to exercise – it’s the prerequisite to working out, but one that many people skip. But stretching actually has its own set of health benefits, from increased athletic performance to decreased risk of injury. At Sunlighten, we believe in the value of stretching – and believe that you can kick it up a notch by stretching in a sauna. Step into a sauna, and you enter a whole new world. Stress melts away, muscles relax, and you feel at ease. Combine the powers of stretching with a Sunlighten sauna, and you’ll find a bevy of benefits. If you’ve never enjoyed a session of stretching in a sauna, here are several reasons to try it.
Increased flexibility and joint health
In a study from Auburn University at Montgomery, Dr. Michele Olson compared the benefits of stretching in a sauna to those of conventional stretching. While all types of stretching help to promote joint health and relieve stress, the sauna stretchers displayed significantly greater improvements in flexibility, particularly in the hips, hamstrings and lower back. The secret lies in the quality of infrared produced – the heat flushes out lactic acid, helping muscles to loosen. Regular sauna stretching also improves joint function and mobility, reduces friction, and helps joints and muscles recover after intense physical activity.
Weight loss and cardiovascular health
Stretching in a sauna doesn’t just improve flexibility; it can also have positive weight loss and cardiovascular benefits. Simply sitting in a sauna increases core body temperature and heart rate; as the body works to cool itself, it burns calories. Add mild stretching to the equation, and you have a low-impact, relaxing workout. The dry heat also stimulates metabolism during and long after the sauna session, helping with weight loss. A Japanese study found daily sauna sessions remarkably healthful for people with heart disease. After about one month of daily sauna use, patients had greatly increased heart-pumping capacity, breathing and cardiovascular endurance, along with decreased blood pressure.
Detoxification and strengthened immune system
The immune system is the body’s defense against viruses, bacteria and free radicals. Stretching in a sauna can help boost the immune system, helping you fight off illness. Sauna use stimulates sweating, which in turn helps detoxify the body of harmful substances (including heavy metals). This helps lighten the load on our immune systems. Additionally, stretching helps stimulate the flow of lymphatic fluid, which can help deliver immune cells, remove pathogens and overall boost the immune system.
With or without stretching, people who frequent saunas experience significant boosts in overall health and quality of life. Regular sauna use helps treat a variety of skin conditions, improves mood, eliminates fatigue, and alleviates pain from rheumatoid arthritis and musculoskeletal disorders. The bottom line: Saunas help you feel happy, healthy, and fit.