One of the most common questions people ask about saunas is, “Do saunas help you lose weight?” When used to complement a proper diet and exercise regimen, saunas can help you achieve your fitness goals more efficiently. However, the intense sweating and heat you experience in a sauna is excellent not only at supporting your weight loss efforts, but it can also help you maintain a healthy heart by lowering your cholesterol and improving cardiovascular function.
Saunas are Good News for the Heart
You might be surprised to read this, but our bodies need cholesterol. This fatty substance, also called lipid, is important for building body cells. The trouble begins when we have too much cholesterol in our body.
In large doses, cholesterol can cause serious health risks. It can create lipid lumps inside the walls of our blood vessels, contributing to dangerous cardiovascular diseases such as angina, heart attack, and stroke.
While regular exercise and eating healthy food can help you control your cholesterol levels, not everyone is able to work out due to factors like injuries and age. Thankfully, regular sauna sessions have been shown to help reduce coronary incidents and risks.
• Infrared heat significantly improves blood circulation.
Improved blood circulation is critical in preventing the hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis) and plaque formation. Your body experiences changes similar to moderate exercise when you spend time inside a sauna. Your blood vessels dilate, making them more effective at delivering oxygen and nutrients to your organs and muscles. Your heart rate increases, and your blood pressure is lowered. In addition, far infrared heat also enhances microcirculation, which assists in getting rid of cholesterol deposits from your body over time.
• Regular sauna sessions reduce stress.
Stress is one of the worst enemies of cardiovascular health. It has a negative impact on almost every part of the body, especially the immune, nervous, and cardiovascular systems. Infrared saunas are very conducive to deep relaxation. This brings long-lasting stress relief by helping the brain release “good” stress hormones like norepinephrine and endorphins. Lower stress has been proven to improve cardiovascular health, extend life expectancy, and combat cholesterol-related complications.
Infrared Heat Stimulates the Sympathetic Nervous System
Sauna bathing displays the same physiological effects that happen during physical exercise. This is excellent news for those curious about infrared sauna weight loss. Not only is this great for burning calories, however, but it also helps your heart function better.
In a study published on the International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, participants who underwent regular sauna bathing enjoyed significant reduction in their cholesterol levels.
The participants were asked not to drink alcohol, not to take dietary supplements, and not to change their eating habits during the study. They had 10 sauna bath sessions every day. Each session was divided into two 15-minute sauna baths which included a 2-minute break between each session.
The results of the study demonstrated lower cholesterol levels in the participants. Conversely, the cholesterol levels of those who stopped their regular sauna baths returned to original levels.
So, does a sauna help lose weight? Evidence points to something even better— infrared heat can greatly improve cardiovascular health and lower your risk for heart diseases. And because sauna bathing has the same effects as moderate exercise, then it does help you burn calories too.