The Health Benefits of Sauna
Sauna is said to be the only Finnish word that’s known everywhere in the world. But, though taking a sauna has become popular in a wide range of countries, it’s a fundamental part of the Finnish psyche.
Finland and Sauna
Little is known of the origins of the sauna, but it appears to be a traditional part of Finnish culture and remains an almost universal practice in Finland, although the amount it’s used can vary a great deal between individuals.
It’s an essential part of life. More business decisions are said to be taken in the sauna than in the boardroom, and even soldiers construct saunas wherever they go. In the sauna, where everyone is naked, all social hierarchies, even military rank, become irrelevant.
A sauna is room heated by a stove — traditionally burning birch-wood, but now sometimes electric — with water thrown on it to create steam. The sweating this causes cleans out the system; then you cool off in a cold pool, although in winter this is sometimes replaced by rolling in the snow.
The sauna’s health benefits have always been accepted in Finland, both for cleansing and stimulating the body, and recent research has more than confirmed this.
The Daily Mail reports that a 21-year study in eastern Finland monitored subjects’ sauna use and compared the number of deaths in the sample group over that period. As is shown in the article, the results highlight a very marked correlation between higher sauna use and lower rates of mortality from heart disease.
Far Infrared Rays
Traditional methods are great, but modern technology sometimes offers improvements. Recent research, in which Finnish institutions have taken a leading role, has established that you can get more focused health benefit by replacing a wood-burning stove with far infrared (FIR). This is the form in which most of the sun’s warmth reaches us, but it poses none of the health-risks associated with ultraviolet energy.
Several types of portable FIR saunas are available, or you can use OLO’s unique Far Infrared Sauna Suit either during your exercise regime or for recovery after a workout. Besides recovering, it can be used for everything from relaxation and meditation to aiding in weight-loss and healing your skin. It can even boost your immune system to prevent illness. The suit is a total sauna experience, except that you can lie on your back in total relaxation.
The big advantage of FIR is that it can heat the subcutaneous tissue, flushing out the toxins absorbed during our chemical lifestyle — from petrochemicals to toxic gas — without raising the temperature of the internal organs. The proven effects of FIR sauna range from detox to weight-loss, as well as stress management and skin care.
Mix and Match Your Saunas
This doesn’t mean traditional saunas are obsolete. Finns use sauna for a lot more than just health; it’s a social institution too, where you go to talk, eat and drink, and it shows no sign of disappearing any time soon. FIR saunas, on the other hand, provide a more targeted health resource, and there’s no reason why the two shouldn’t be used in tandem.
Get in touch with us to discover the benefits of the FIR sauna suit at home or for athletes