Saunas are a hot topic these days, and for good reason. They have been a part of Finnish culture for over 2,000 years. Finland ranks #1 on the list of healthiest and happiest countries in the world. What do the Finns know that we don’t? And does it have anything – or everything – to do with the sauna?
Known in Finland as “the poor man’s pharmacy,” sauna originated as a way for hard working farmers to come in from the freezing temperatures to wash and relax. Original saunas were steam-bath like wood paneled rooms where water was poured over hot stones.
Known as the cleanest room in the house because of the bacteria-resistant soot that covered the sauna walls, Finnish women often used the sauna to give birth. The sauna was also used for pre-wedding purification ceremonies and to prepare bodies for burial. From the beginning, the Finns believed sauna was necessary to maintain health.
Today, Finland has a population of 5.5 million people, and over 3 million saunas, so they clearly still hold the belief about saunas being necessary for health. Prison inmates even had weekly sauna access in Finland.
Sauna use is significant and growing in the U.S. with over 1,000,000 saunas believed to be in use today. While the sauna experience will differ depending on whether you are enjoying a traditional Finnish sauna, dry sauna, steam or Turkish bath, or infrared sauna – they all have their devout followers.
Sauna use, by definition, is short-term resting or inactive exposure to high temperatures usually between 113 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. According to a recent study, this type of exposure, regardless of the sauna type used:
Results in the same physiological and protective responses induced during exercise.
When used repeatedly, optimizes stress responses, which may be linked to lower risk of cardiovascular events.
Appears to reduce morbidity and mortality, as related to the amount of use.
May protect against cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disease.
Can preserve muscle mass and prevent loss of muscle due to aging.
Additionally, a review of Finnish scientific databases from 2000 to 2018 revealed numerous studies documenting the health benefits of Finnish saunas specifically associated with decreased mortality, fewer cardiovascular issues, and lower incidence of dementia.
5.5 million happy, healthy people can’t be wrong!
Chiropractic Care and Saunas
The good news is, sauna can be used as a part of your 100 Year Lifestyle to complement your chiropractic care. Used before or after an adjustment, sauna can create relaxation, add to flexibility, facilitate detoxification, and increase circulation.
If you’ve been using infrared sauna therapy for relaxation, Japanese researchers from Nishi Kyushu University found that the benefits of sauna are more effective when combined with holistic treatments such as chiropractic.
Want to learn more about how you can complement your chiropractic care with sauna? Ask a 100 Year Lifestyle provider near you today!