Saunas have been around for thousands of years, in diverse cultures all over the world. They have served important social and spiritual functions, while also being valued for promoting health and treating illness. The Fins, from whose language the name sauna derives, have been enjoying the health benefits of passive sweating for over 2000 years. In Greece, therapeutic bathing and sweating dates back to the Roman baths, which inspired the Islamic Hammams, known as the Turkish bath. Native American cultures, from the Alaskan Inuit to the North and Central American tribes, have long participated in the sweat lodge, for both spiritual and physical health, a tradition dating from the Mayan culture.
In our modern world, full of chemicals and stressful life-styles, saunas may be the best home improvement project you can invest in. There is nothing like ending a busy day with a relaxing sauna. In terms of detoxification, sauna is one of the most well researched and effective tools we have to reduce the body burden of all types of toxins, including toxic metals, such as lead, mercury and cadmium, and fat-soluble chemicals, such as pesticides, phthalates, and BPA.
If you have a chronic illness, such as hypertension, fibromyalgia, asthma or diabetes, regular sauna several times a week has been shown to be effective in reversing the disease process. Passive sweating is also a great therapeutic for acute illness, such as colds and flus. Skin conditions of all types will improve, including acne, psoriasis, and eczema.
Contrast hydrotherapy will further enhance your sauna experience. After you have been sweating for 15-20 minutes, take a brief cold rinse in the shower or a quick plunge into a cold pool or stream. Then go back in the sauna. 30 seconds of cool or cold water between sweats will enhance your circulation and allow you to tolerate a longer sweat.
Any type of sauna or sweat lodge will benefit your health, so if you have access at your gym, a friend’s house, or a public bathhouse, sauna as often as you can. If you want to invest in a home unit, I recommend SaunaRay (http://www.saunaray.com). This Canadian company builds awesome standard and custom units for home or commercial use. They are constructed of non-toxic materials, built of non-allergenic wood, and are extremely low in electromagnetic frequency.
Happy saunaing!!!! Dr. Bonnie