As we age, it becomes increasingly important to prioritize our health and well-being. One potentially beneficial tool for doing so is sauna use.
Sauna bathing has been associated with a range of impressive health benefits, including a 66% reduction in the risk of dementia, a 65% reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, a 63% reduction in the risk of sudden cardiac death, and a 40% reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality.
But how exactly can sauna use be so beneficial, and what are the best ways to incorporate it into a self-care routine?
Sauna Use and Brain Health
The association between sauna use and reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is particularly noteworthy. Dementia is a broad term used to describe a decline in cognitive function, while Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Both conditions are characterized by the accumulation of abnormal proteins in the brain, leading to the death of brain cells and eventually causing significant cognitive impairment.
There are a few possible mechanisms by which sauna use may help protect brain health. One is through the promotion of vascular health. Sauna use has been shown to improve blood flow and reduce inflammation, both of which are important for maintaining a healthy brain. Additionally, sauna use has been linked to an increase in the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that plays a crucial role in the survival and growth of brain cells.
Sauna Use and Cardiovascular Health
In addition to its potential benefits for brain health, sauna use has also been associated with a reduced risk of sudden cardiac death. This is likely due, at least in part, to the positive effects of sauna use on cardiovascular function. Sauna use has been shown to improve circulation, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation, all of which are important for maintaining a healthy heart.
It’s worth noting that the benefits of sauna use for cardiovascular health may be particularly pronounced in individuals with hypertension (high blood pressure). In one study, regular sauna use was found to significantly reduce systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) in people with hypertension.
Sauna Use and Overall Mortality
The association between sauna use and reduced risk of all-cause mortality is particularly striking. All-cause mortality refers to the number of deaths from any cause, making it a useful measure of overall health. The fact that sauna use has been linked to a 40% reduction in all-cause mortality suggests that it may have wide-ranging benefits for overall health and well-being.
There are a few potential explanations for this finding. One is that sauna use may help to reduce stress and improve sleep, both of which are important for maintaining overall health. Sauna use has also been linked to improved immune function, which may help to protect against a variety of illnesses.
Anti-Aging Benefits for Skin Health
In addition to the numerous internal health benefits of sauna use, it can also be beneficial for the health and appearance of your skin. Sauna use can improve circulation, which can help to deliver vital nutrients to the skin and promote collagen production, leading to healthier, younger-looking skin.
If you’re interested in incorporating sauna use into your skincare routine, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before and after your sauna session. It’s also a good idea to use a facial mist to help keep your skin hydrated and refreshed during your sauna session.
And, as with any new addition to your skincare routine, it’s important to pay attention to how your skin reacts to sauna use and adjust accordingly. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to start with shorter sauna sessions and gradually increase the duration as your skin becomes more accustomed to the heat.
One thing to note is that sauna use can make the skin more susceptible to sunburn, so it’s important to protect your skin from the sun both before and after your sauna session. This may include using a sunscreen with a high SPF, seeking shade, and wearing protective clothing.
Sauna use has been linked to a range of impressive health benefits, particularly for aging individuals. These benefits include a reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, improved cardiovascular health, and a decreased risk of all-cause mortality. Sauna use can also have anti-aging benefits for the skin, including improved circulation and collagen production. If you’re interested in adding sauna use to your self-care routine, be sure to stay hydrated, pay attention to how your skin reacts, and protect your skin from the sun both before and after your sauna session.