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Article: The Benefits of Saunas for Muscle Soreness: A Guide to Saunas

The Benefits of Saunas for Muscle Soreness: A Guide to Saunas

The Benefits of Saunas for Muscle Soreness: A Guide to Saunas

Written by Chris Lang

 

 

Rising concerns over drug quality and overreliance on drugs have prompted many to turn their attention to natural healing alternatives. One of the most popular wellness practices at the moment is sauna therapy. However, a common question among those suffering from severe health conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia is, “Does sauna help sore muscles?”

Saunas have been around for centuries, and there is some evidence that they can help relieve joint pain and support muscle recovery. This article will explore the potential benefits of saunas for sore muscles.

Understanding Sauna Therapy

A sauna is an enclosed room heated to very high temperatures, usually between 150 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet, this small room provides many sauna therapy benefits. Using the sauna helps to increase the body’s core temperature and promote sweating, which helps flush out toxins and detoxify the body.

Finnish men are believed to have invented the sauna. It’s strongly intertwined with their culture. They were initially dug as pits in the ground before they were eventually built above ground and evolved into the present-day saunas. The Finnish saunas were originally designed to combat the frigid conditions in the region. The Finnish people later used the sauna as a childbirth setting and drying grain during the old times. It’s more than just a room to them, especially considering there are three million saunas to 5.5 million Finns in their country.

There are two primary types of saunas: the traditional Finnish sauna and the far infrared sauna. The traditional sauna is versatile and can be installed indoors or outdoors. However, the infrared sauna is limited to indoor use. Modern traditional saunas utilize electrical heaters to heat rocks placed inside the bathhouse.

There are two main types of traditional saunas. Dry saunas have lower humidity levels, between 5 and 10%. Wet saunas use steam generators to create a 100% humid environment, helping relieve respiratory issues.

On the other hand, an infrared sauna uses carbon heaters or ceramic panels to generate infrared heat. Your skin absorbs the infrared light and is converted to infrared energy, penetrating the muscles and joints. Unlike a traditional sauna, which takes almost an hour to heat up, infrared saunas take a maximum of 15 minutes.

A steam room is slightly different from a sauna. It’s designed to cover your body with hot steam pumped into the space from an external source. You can visit Komowa to view a diverse selection of traditional and infrared saunas.

Benefits of Sauna for Muscle Recovery

Beyond its historical and cultural aspects, the benefits of sauna can’t be overstated. It’s an essential wellness tool that promotes physical and mental health. Concerning muscle soreness, the high sauna temperatures, once combined with a cold bath after a sauna session, help the muscles to relax and reduce stiffness. This is especially helpful in workout recovery. The sports medicine fraternity supports the use of a sauna for sore muscles.

High temperatures in the sauna increase your heart rate. As a result, your body experiences improved blood flow and more oxygen reaches your muscles. This is essential for muscle recovery. 

If you’re a regular sauna bather, you must have heard the question, “Does sauna help runny nose?” This scenario offers the best explanation of how it happens. Improved blood flow and high heat conditions cause white blood cells to multiply. As a result, your immune system is boosted, allowing you to fight viral infections.

Hitting the sauna can also help relieve back pain. This happens due to the heat of a sauna penetrating muscle tissue in your lower back, causing the blood vessels to dilate. As a result, you’ll experience blood circulation and reduced back pains.

Sauna After a Workout

A sauna does more than help you relax. The high heat conditions increase blood flow, which lowers your blood pressure. This helps after workouts since those tend to increase blood pressure significantly. Sauna therapy is also known to promote cardiovascular health. This helps to answer the common question, “Does sauna help with congestion?” because the heat also helps expand the airways, relieving you of any cold and flu symptoms.

Therefore, entering a sauna is an ideal practice for many athletes.

Saunas also help to speed up the body’s natural healing process. The reason is that the heat of a sauna is your body’s core temperature, which triggers an artificial fever. This increases white blood cell production, which helps to hasten the recovery process after an intense workout. Nutrients also get delivered to the muscles faster, enhancing muscle repair and growth.

Types of Saunas and Muscle Recovery 

The deep penetration of far infrared heat from infrared saunas help to provide a more relaxing experience than traditional Finnish sauna. Evidence suggests that 30-minute sessions at least three times a week in this sauna can significantly enhance muscle recovery. On the other hand, traditional saunas require shorter sessions of about 15 minutes since they feature higher temperatures, which can be uncomfortable. This means that the recovery process may take longer. Having at least three sauna sessions per week is excellent for muscle recovery.

Safety Considerations

Like in every wellness or health practice, there are risks associated with using a sauna. The section below points to some helpful tips for sauna use. If you’ve recently suffered a heart attack, it’s best to avoid saunas. You should also do this when suffering from a cold or flu because heat stress can result in severe health conditions such as arrhythmia.

There’s also a chance that you may get dehydrated when using a sauna due to the high temperatures. Heat can reduce blood pressure, which is risky for users already suffering from low blood pressure. Replenishing your body with a complete wellness capsule is also essential. Ensure that you check in with your doctor before using a sauna. This is especially crucial for people with underlying health conditions.

Sauna Tips for Muscle Recovery

There is a right way to use a sauna for sore muscles. The practical tips below will guide you in using it correctly for optimal relief against muscle aches.

  • Hydrate: Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after sauna usage. The heat can promote sweating, which can lead to dehydration.

  • Stretch: This is an excellent way to relieve tension from stiff and sore muscles. You should stress for at least 10 minutes before beginning your sauna session.

  • Start Slow: Beginners shouldn’t spend over 20 minutes inside the bathhouse.

Re-stretch: Once your sauna session is over, it’s good to take ten more minutes to stretch again to accelerate the recovery process. Whether you’re using a home or public sauna, you’ll likely share it with someone else. It is vital that you be mindful of others. Listed below are some of the best sauna practices.

  • Use a towel: Your skin shouldn’t be in direct contact with the sauna bench. Even if you’re wearing underwear, you should still have a towel tucked beneath you. If possible, you should also have a hand cloth to pat dry your sweat.

  • Be courteous: Ask before you pour water or essential oils on the rocks. Not everyone is for aromatherapy or prefers relative humidity conditions in the sauna.

  • Shower: Take a shower before entering the sauna. No one likes to feel the smell of sweat wafting through the air.

Scientific Evidence and Study

A study by Jama Internal Medicine suggests that men who visit the sauna at least four times weekly tend to have a higher mortality rate. High temperatures promote blood flow. As a result, white blood cell production increases, and the release of the muscle growth hormone is stimulated. These benefits result from the increased heart rate, a by-product of intense workout sessions. Hitting a sauna after a workout is a great way to prevent cardiac death.

Another peer-reviewed study also showed that using infrared heat from a sauna plays a significant role in improving muscle recovery for power athletes. All in all, the sauna offers excellent benefits and relief for sore muscles. Some researchers have also argued on the possibility of a sauna effect on testosterone. However, this is yet to be thoroughly exhausted, and the jury is still out.

Conclusion

Even though all saunas help to relieve sore muscles, evidence suggests that infrared is more specialized and effective in this area. This is primarily because far infrared heat directly targets the skin, reaching muscle tissues and ligaments faster than heat from the traditional sauna. However, experiences may vary from one individual to another, and the duration it takes for full muscle recovery can be different.

Remember, using the sauna should be part of your wellness routine and not a complete substitute for necessary health care. If the muscle aches continue to grow more intense, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional for guidance. All in all, it’s clear to see that the role of saunas in overall wellness and reducing muscle soreness is promising and likely to be effective for most users. Once you’re ready to purchase the perfect personal sauna to help you relieve sore muscles after a workout, browse through the Komowa collection.

 

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