Invigorated in times of crisis: the health benefits of saunas

An invigorating sauna – but the big difference from a sports session is that, although plenty of hard work is going on inside the body, you can enjoy a sauna in total relaxation (lifePR) ( Schwäbisch Hall, )
Like any other flu virus, the coronavirus can put the immune system to the test. However, regular sauna use is like a healthy training session for the body and can help to strengthen our immune defences. But what exactly does a hot sweat bath do to the body?

Repetitive saunas can be compared to regular sport sessions. They train the body up and enable it to cope with certain situations better. A quick sprint for a bus that’s about to leave is no problem for a runner who trains regularly. Likewise, a regular sauna user may be better equipped to deal with winter and the flu season – or even the coronavirus pandemic.

During a hot sweat bath in the sauna, the body temperature rises by as much as two degrees. The body uses cooling mechanisms to control the heat on the skin and begins to sweat profusely. This is where the vascular training session begins: blood vessels dilate, the volume of the bloodstream increases, and the heart pumps vigorously.

After the sauna comes a chance to cool off in a cold shower or plunge pool or, during winter, even in freshly fallen snow. The second stage of vascular training causes the previously dilated vessels to contract again suddenly, stimulating the circulation and activating the metabolism.

This training prepares the body for changes between hot and cold temperatures. The body of a regular sauna user is well equipped to deal with the temperature change as it moves from a hot sauna into a cold environment and doesn’t get cold so quickly.

And it is precisely this training that provides a lasting boost to the immune system. The invigorated body confronts pathogens with activated immune defences, gives viruses and bacteria fewer chances to attack, and becomes ill less often.

Indeed, it is often said that a sauna toughens you up. From a medical perspective, saunas ensure better thermoregulation. That also means that sauna visits get the body into better shape to fight pathogens, as well as boosting the immune system and activating the body’s defences.

Extra tip: During a sauna infusion, natural sauna aromas not only give off a wonderfully refreshing fragrance, but also have an antimicrobial and antibacterial effect thanks to the essential oils they contain. Deep breaths of hot sauna air refreshed with mint, for example, are not popular at all with viruses and bacteria in the throat.

 
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