1) Relaxation of the muscles and joints
Perhaps the main reason many of us hop into a sauna is to get that instant relief from aching muscles and joints. Athletes and those who take part in regular exercise reap many benefits from regular sauna use, as the heat can prevent post-work out pains. The sauna permits the release of endorphins and causes blood vessels to dilate, which increases blood circulation and speeds up the healing process. Heat from the sauna reduces muscle tension and eliminates lactic acid accrued from sport, whilst growth hormones increase during sauna use which help with reducing muscle waste. To summarise, all athletes should implement sauna use.
2) Increased cardiovascular performance
As saunas help us banish stress, this essentially increases our cardiovascular performance. A sauna will widen the blood vessels and increase the heart rate to a similar range we experience during aerobic exercise, and double the amount of blood it pumps per minute. Essentially, the heat from a sauna is tricking your mind into thinking your body is working out. Studies have shown that regular sauna usage reduces high blood pressure and keeps it at a stable level. Your sauna will improve the function of your arteries, or vascular compliance as its known.
3) Stress relief
One of the health benefits that we can all get onboard with is stress relief. Stress can lead to problems sleeping, poor performance at work, fractured relationships and in some cases, anxiety and depression. It’s something we are consciously aware of minimising, and regular sauna use can help! Whilst you’re in the sauna your body can feel a degree of stress. Your brain releases euphoric hormones, which trains your body to do this during later periods of stress. Healthy arteries make our bodies able to handle stress better. Recover from the stress of everyday life by relaxing in the sauna.
4) Toxin flush
The intense sweating achieved in a sauna can reduce levels of toxins such as lead, copper, zinc, nickel and mercury which we absorb in our daily life. The average person will lose a pint of sweat during even a short sauna. So if you want to detox your body, grab your towel and wave those nasties farewell! It is the perfect hangover cure.
5) Clearer skin
Leading on from this, it has been suggested that the sweating from sauna bathing can help to deep cleanse your skin. The heat can draw bacteria out of the sweat ducts, cleanse the pores and improve capillary circulation which leads to clearer-looking skin that is soft to touch.
6) Deeper sleep
Having a sauna prior to going to bed can boost your chances of getting a good night’s sleep. By raising your body temperature shortly before bedtime, your heated body will automatically work to readjust its temperature afterwards. It is this cooling-down and normalising after the sauna bath that will lull you off to sleep, leaving you calm and relaxed.
7) Improvement of lung function
Studies have shown that having regular saunas during winter can help keep seasonal colds or pneumonia away. Those with asthma or other chronic lung problems should talk to their doctor about sauna usage and how it might be able to help them. If you’re suffering from a cold, or feel like you might be on the brink of one, hop in a sauna to help ward to away.
8) Aid chronic conditions
Saunas have been thought to alleviate the symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia as well as reoccurring headaches. The heat, it seems, reduces inflammation levels in the blood which contribute to these ailments.
9) Increased attention
Studies have found that sauna usage boosts the hormone norepinephrine which helps the brain with attention and maintaining focus. The stress from the heat also supports your body’s ability to store norepinephrine for release later.
10) Lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Last but not least, a 20-year study from the University of Eastern Finland suggests that sauna bathing 4-7 times per week for 20 minutes lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s by 65%!
Cold water swimming activates the sympathetic nervous system and triggers your body to release beta-endorphins as well as other feel good hormones. These hormones help with pain relief and will leave you feeling euphoric. Scientists have found that the feel good hormone levels increase 2-fold to 3-fold and stay elevated for weeks after the cold water exposure.
Boosts immune system + improves circulation
Cold water swimming is not just fantastic for your cardiovascular as well as your lymphatic system (flushing out toxins) but also boosts your immune system. Exposure to cold water makes your body increase the production of white blood cells which play a key role in your immune system. Another benefit is that you may end up with more radiant skin – especially if you take your plunge in the sea. Saltwater has antiseptic properties and can encourage the skin to heal. It is also rich in calcium, potassium and magnesium which are all good for your skin.
Helps with depression
Cold water swimming has been shown to improve the well-being of people suffering from Asthma, rheumatism or fibromyaalgia And it can help with severe chronic depression. A case that stands out and has been studied by scientists is that of a 24-year old woman called Sarah. She’d been on antidepressants since the age of 17 but to no avail. After the birth of her daughter, her goal became to be medication free and she was willing to try an unconventional route to fight her depression. She started a weekly practice of cold water swims that immediately improved her mood in the short term and gradually improved her mental health. Eventually, she came off her antidepressants and was still medication-free a year afterwards. Personal stories like Sarah’s can be found all around the world. To back the positive effects of cold water swimming on general mental health up scientifically and understand them better.
Decreases inflammation —> provides pain relief
When exposed to the cold, your body’s arteries narrow. This provides relief from pain, helps with sore muscles and reduces inflammation. Cold water swimming also increases the number of leukocytes in your blood. Apart from helping your body fight respiratory infections, they also protect against inflammation. Because of this, science is considering cold water exposure as a treatment of inflammation related conditions as well as to prevent inflammation.
Increases tolerance for stress
The cold of the water puts your body under significant stress. And that is actually a good thing because if you expose yourself to cold water on a regular basis your tolerance for stress increases. This includes mental and emotional stress as well. This is called “cross-adaptation”. Dr Heather Massey, had volunteers take a dip in cold water before exposing them to a low-oxygen environment. They were able to cope much better with that physical stress than a control group that had not participated in the cold water exposure.
When you go for a swim in cold water, you are consciously choosing short-term discomfort for long-term gain on several levels. Your body will try to tell you to not immerse yourself in the cold water and overcoming this initial reaction will build your mental strength as well as resilience. It takes courage to do it once. Making cold water swimming a regular practice will not only fill you with a sense of accomplishment every time you do it but also fill you with confidence that you can do hard things. Ultimately it’ll boost your self-esteem alongside all the other benefits.
Jump-starts metabolism —> burns calories
Cold water swimming jump-starts your metabolism because your muscles will start tightening and relaxing, meaning you will shiver, in an attempt to warm up your body again. Creating heat through shivering costs energy. Your body is burning through quite a high amount of calories considering that you won’t be moving all that much as you can only stay in cold water for a relatively short amount of time.
Cold water has the reputation to help against some of our more primitive urges. However, the opposite seems to be true: Cold water swimming stimulates the production of oestrogen and testosterone and increases your libido. This may lead to feelings of higher self-esteem and more confidence.
Improves mental clarity, overall wellbeing as well as sleep
When you immerse yourself in cold water, your body goes into a high-alert state. It’ll blow the cobwebs out of your head and leave you feeling sharp and clear mentally. Cold water swimming also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for the body’s rest and repair mode. Chances are, you’ll be left feeling relaxed and calm for hours after your dip and potentially sleep better at night.
Combined it’s a no brainer to come and give us a visit and reap the benefits of hot and cold therapy in our scenic location :)