Why Do People Use Saunas? The Health Benefits of Sauna

Saunas have been around for centuries, and there are many reasons why they are still popular today. People use saunas for a variety of reasons, including relaxation, detoxification, and pain relief. In this article, we will discuss some of the proven health benefits of sauna use and why people continue to enjoy them! 

The use of saunas leads to skin sweating induced fluid loss and an increase in heart rate, which are physiologic responses to warm temperatures. Sauna use is also commonly referred to as “sauna bathing”.

Not only do saunas provide proven health benefits, they provide a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you choose to put a sauna in your home for the health benefits, or the relaxation benefits, they’re an excellent investment.

At Sauna Supply Company, we have been personally using sauna our entire lives. Whether it’s wood fired saunas, or electric saunas, all three of the owners of our company utilize sauna on a daily basis. There are many times where we will end up in the sauna both morning and night! Saunas are a major part of our lives, they have been for our entire lives and they will continue to be a staple for the remainders of them.

There are hundreds of thousands of people world wide that own and utilize their saunas on a daily basis. If you’d like to be one of them, contact us about installing a sauna in your space! Or, give us a call at (612)505-9700.

Dr. Jari Laukkanen Finnish Traditional Sauna Study Explained

In April 2015, one of the most well documented and widely referenced sauna health benefits study was released to the public. The study was based on middle aged men in Eastern Finland and the baseline study was the use of sauna. Measured were the amount of sauna usage per week, how long the sauna was utilized for and the sauna temperature.

All information below in reference to the study can be found on the studies published findings, here.

Before we dive into the study findings, there are a few facts that should be noted. 

  • Fact #1: The study was performed over a 20 year period.
  • Fact #2: The study was performed using the traditional Finnish sauna, not using infrared saunas.
  • Fact #3: in Finland, where the study was performed, the control group was men who only used the sauna one time per week.
  • Fact #4: Dr. Laukkanen’s study was performed on 2,315 men in Eastern Finland, aged 42 to 60 years.
  • Fact #5: Baseline examinations were conducted from March 1, 1984, through December 31, 1989
  • Fact #6: The findings were established during a median follow-up of 20.7 years (interquartile range, 18.1-22.6 years)
  • Fact #7: The study was approved by the Research Ethics Committee of the University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio
  • Fact #8: Study participants were a randomly selected sample of 3433 men aged 42 to 60 years who resided in Kuopio, Finland, or its surrounding rural communities.
  • Fact #9: Of those invited, 2682 (78.1%) participated in the study, and those with complete information on sauna bathing were included (N = 2327). 12 men who did not use a sauna were excluded, leaving 2,315 men for the study.
  • Fact #10: Sauna bathing was assessed by a self-administrated questionnaire based on weekly sauna bathing sessions, duration, and temperature, which “represents typical sauna use”

A note on Fact #2 (the study was performed using the traditional Finnish sauna): the study indicates that “Our results of hot Finnish sauna bathing with a mean temperature of 79°C (174° Farenheit) cannot be directly applied to steam rooms, hot tubs, and some other types of saunas, which may operate at lower temperatures than a typical Finnish sauna and do not allow pouring water on the rocks.”

The information on Dr. Laukkanen’s study is gleaned from the use of a traditional Finnish sauna. Not an infrared sauna, not a steam room, hot tub, or any other type of sauna. The study mentions that the typical Finnish sauna allows pouring water over the sauna heater rocks.

What The Finnish Sauna by Dr. Laukkanen Study Found

Directly from the study itself, are the purpose and conclusion. For those who may find the study hard to read, we have organized it’s findings into an easy to read table below.

The Purpose of the Study: “The aim of this prospective study was to investigate the association between exposure to sauna bathing and the risk of SCD, fatal coronary heart disease (CHD), fatal CVD, and all-cause mortality events in the general male population.

Study Conclusion and Relevance: “Increased frequency of sauna bathing is associated with a reduced risk of SCD, CHD, CVD, and all-cause mortality. Further studies are warranted to establish the potential mechanism that links sauna bathing and cardiovascular health.”

Dr. Laukkanen Study Findings Table

Sauna Usage Number of Participants Reporting SCDs (sudden cardiac death) Fatal CHDs (congenital heart defects) CVDs (fatal cardiovascular diseases) All Cause Mortality Hazard ratio of SCD
1 time per week 601 61 89 134 295
2 to 3 times per week 1513 119 175 249 572 0.78 (95% CI, 0.57-1.07)
4 to 7 times per week 201 10 17 24 62 0.37 (95% CI, 0.18-0.75)
Total 2315 190 281 407 929

Signifigant Reduction in All Cause Mortality

Dr. Laukkanen’s study found that the use of 4 to 7 times per week at a temperature of 174° for an average of 20 minutes per session was associated with a 40% reduction in all cause mortality compared to men who only used the sauna once per week.

Associated With Reduction in Cardiovascular Related Mortality

Reduced Blood Pressure through Long Term Sauna Use

About the team behind the sauna health benefits study

The study was performed by Dr. Jari Laukkanen and a team of researchers from Finland. Finland is widely known as the birthplace of Sauna and interestingly enough, the study used a control group of folks who only used the sauna one time per week, not zero. As noted in the study facts from above, in the sample of participants, just 12 reported not using a sauna at all.

Dr. Jari Laukkanen, M.D., Ph.D., is a cardiologist and scientist at the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, University of Eastern Finland.

Why Do People Use Saunas? The Main Health Benefits of Sauna

Sauna use is a passive, deliberate form of heat therapy. One of the top reasons why people use saunas is for their health benefits. Saunas have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, which can lead to heart attacks or stroke. Sauna users are less likely than non-users to die from coronary artery disease (CAD), a condition that causes plaque buildup in your arteries and can lead to negative health conditions if left untreated.

Sauna Bathing Increases Heart Rate

If you have ever used a traditional sauna, you likely know the feeling of increased heart rate that is experienced while you are relaxing in the room. While every persons heart rate inside a sauna will vary, studies have shown that the heart rate may increase to 100/min and as high as 150/min during more intense sauna use.

The increased heart rate while using a sauna correlates with that of moderate exercise. This correlation with moderate regular exercise has suggested overall improvement in blood pressure and left ventricular function. Cardiac output increases in a sauna mainly because of this increase in heart rate.

Studies Show Sauna Can Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

In the above referenced study performed by Finnish researchers Tanjaniina Laukkanen, Setor K. Kunutsor, Hassan Khan, Peter Willeit, Francesco Zaccardi & Jari A. Laukkanen (Laukkanen et. al.), saunas were shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The reason for such study was that previous research had shown sauna could be related to a reduce risk of fatal cardiovascular disease (CVD) in men. The research team conducted the study over a number of years, studying the effects of sauna as it relates to all cause mortality.

Saunas Are Used To Promote Relaxation

Saunas are also known to promote relaxation and help relieve stress. Studies have shown that the combination of heat, steam, music, or other soothing sounds can reduce anxiety and improve mood in both men and women. Sauna users report feeling more energized after their sessions versus non-users who feel tired from sitting still for an extended period.

In our personal sauna experience, the feelings of relaxation are significantly increased after a sauna and this is one of our favorite benefits. Many of our customers initially buy a sauna for some other reason, only to report back this same finding. The stress relief and feeling of relaxation you’ll have after a sauna is indescribable and can only be experienced for yourself.

On that note, if you’re interested in trying a sauna before you buy one, visit our Sauna Showroom!

We have both traditional and infrared saunas that are fully operational on display at Sauna Supply Company and many of our customers test one out for themselves prior to purchasing. You can stop by during regular business hours, or call us at (763)688-1488 to schedule an appointment for a sauna demo.

Saunas Help With The Bodies Detoxification Process

The human body is constantly eliminating toxins through sweat, urine, and stool. A sauna can help the bodies detoxification process by heating up your skin temperature which makes it easier for you to release those unwanted chemicals into your system much faster than normal. The heat in a sauna helps with this process as well because when we are exposed to heat and humidity, it forces the body to undergo a natural process of detoxification.

The heat in the sauna also increases your heart rate and dilates blood vessels, which helps move toxins out through sweat. The skin is considered to be the largest organ of elimination for our body, so why not take advantage of it by using a sauna? Many of our clients who are first time sauna buyers return, telling us that one of the first changes they notice upon regular use of their sauna is how their skin feels. 

Regular sauna use helps with maintaining and promoting cleaner, clearer skin. This can help with skin related issues such as painful ingrown hairs, acne, etc.

Saunas Help With Skin Rejuvenation And Purification

A major benefit of regular use of a sauna is that it can help with rejuvenating and purifying your skin. When you spend time in an infrared or traditional sauna, you’re allowing your pores to open up thus removing dirt from deep within them (especially useful after applying makeup). This process will leave you feeling clean and refreshed while helping reduce blemishes like acne!

Do Traditional Saunas Make You Sweat More Than Infrared Saunas?

The traditional Finnish sauna uses a sauna heater to heat the room and rocks inside or on top of the heater. The vast majority of sauna users pour water over the rocks themselves to create large bursts of heat and increased humidity.

Traditional steam saunas are designed to force the body to undergo a greater detoxification or sweating process than an infrared sauna, as infrared saunas do not use water to create “steam” over the sauna stove. If you’re considering choosing between an infrared vs traditional sauna, it’s important to understand the major differences between the two.

Infrared saunas are becoming popular as people realize the many health benefits that come with using them regularly.  These include weight loss, improved circulation and blood flow to organs like your heart or liver which in turn can help prevent negative health situations throughout ones life.

Traditional sauna benefits can include increased weight loss due to the amount of sweat released in the sauna process, generally improved health, reduced stress levels and more increased feelings of relaxation than an infrared sauna.

With both infrared and traditional saunas, a major benefit is the social aspect as they can be used to gather with friends or family members.

Saunas Can Help Reduce Physical Pain

Saunas have been shown to help reduce pain in people with conditions like fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome. The heat from the sauna can help increase blood flow and reduce inflammation, which both play a role in reducing pain levels.

Personally, I use my sauna on a nightly basis, whether I’m in physical pain or not. Many of my friends who own saunas (some friends own multiple saunas, both indoors and out), are in the same boat. The practice of “taking a sauna” is a habitual process and a lifelong commitment that brings far more benefits than any that can be measured in a study.

There are many benefits to using a sauna on a regular basis. These include weight loss, improved circulation and blood flow to organs like your heart or liver which in turn can help prevent negative health situations throughout ones life. Both Traditional and infrared sauna benefits can include increased weight loss due to the amount of sweat released in the sauna process, generally improved health, reduced stress levels and increased feelings of relaxation.

Is Purchasing a Sauna The Right Decision for Me?

There are many reasons to consider buying a sauna.  If you are someone who has a medical condition, it may be beneficial to consult your doctor about options available in terms of using an infrared or traditional sauna for healing purposes. Many people find that the process of sweating out toxins is healthy and helps them feel better overall as well.

If you have concerns about why do people use saunas, we recommend talking with your general physician to understand why these are popular health choices among many individuals today. Your doctor will be able to give advice on whether one particular type of sauna might benefit you over another when it comes time for purchase decisions at home!

Having used a sauna for my entire life, I highly recommend getting started with a traditional steam sauna, even if it’s a portable one. We’ve covered the benefits of traditional versus infrared saunas further in depth, with numerous pros and cons to each type.

What types of saunas are there?

There are three main types of saunas: dry, wet (traditional saunas), and infrared. All three of these saunas can be place indoors or out, depending on the type of building you’re using for your sauna. The majority of outdoor saunas utilize either an electric sauna heater or wood sauna stove to create steam. These types of saunas are what are referred to as “traditional” Finnish saunas.

Traditional saunas use water poured over heated rocks to create large amounts of heat and humidity, often with heat temperatures reaching 200 degrees Farenheit.

Infrared saunas use a process of creating infrared heat to increase the bodies core temperature largely without sweating. Infrared saunas have soared in popularity for home use because of their portability and lack of water needed to use them. If you are considereing an infrared sauna, we highly suggest doing your own research on the EMR / EF ratings of the sauna you are considering purchasing. Our infrared sauna panels are the lowest EMR / EF infrared sauna panels in the world, verified by Intertek.

All three types of saunas have their own benefits. For example, dry saunas can help improve cardiovascular health, while wet saunas can help detoxify the body. Infrared saunas offer a variety of health benefits, such as improved circulation and pain relief.

Let The Sauna Experts Help You Build Your Dream Sauna.

While our customer experience cannot possibly match the feeling of relaxation you get from taking Sauna (nothing can), it’s on par with it. We’d love to share our passion and experience of Sauna with you.

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Sauna Experts Who Care.