Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sauna Health Benefits

Most athletes don't have to worry about working up a sweat. They sweat profusely every time they exercise as the process of calorie burning generates heat, and the body responds by cooling it down with perspiration.

Sweating is one of the body's healthiest reactions. For optimal health and athletic performance capabilities, athletes should be especially aware of the benefits of infrared radiant heat.

Heat, however, has been shown to be an extremely important therapy over millennia of time. Sweating in a sauna room is one of the oldest folk remedies in the world. "Give me a chance to create a fever, and I will cure any disease," said Paraenides, 2,000 years ago. Ancient Greeks & Romans had their hot baths, and Native Americans built "sweat lodges" for both health enhancement and treating illness.

Sweating by overheating the body produces these effects:

*Burns calories and therefore assists in fat loss programs.

*Speeds up metabolic processes of vital organs and endocrine glands.

*Places demands upon cardiovascular system, making the heart pump harder and producing a drop in diastolic blood pressure.

*Creates a "fever" reaction which kills potentially dangerous viruses and bacteria and increases the number of leukocytes in the blood, thereby strengthening the immune system; important for fighting colds, flu, cancer and bolstering resistance to infections.

*Excretes toxins from the body, including cadmium. lead, zinc, nickel, sodium, sulfuric acid and cholesterol.

*Stimulates vasodilation of peripheral vessels, which relieves pain and speeds healing of sprains, strains, bursitis, peripheral vascular diseases, arthritis and muscle pain.

*Promotes relaxation, thereby lending a feeling of well being.

*Promotes release of growth hormone from the anterior pituitary gland.

Source: FITNESS The Complete Guide, Frederick C. Hatfield , PH.D

I find that taking a 20-30 minute sauna after intense training sessions has the potential of doing a lot of good, I really enjoy it. Try incorporating it into your program, I highly recommend it.

**Always consult your doctor or other practitioner knowledgeable in sauna use before beginning a sauna therapy program. Saunas are powerful devices and monitoring your progress by a professional trained in sauna use is always advisable.

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