by Pertti Olavi Jalasjaa
The people of Finland aren’t the only folks who know about the tremendous benefits of sauna therapy. Around the world, doctors, researchers and other professionals have discovered the great value of utilizing sauna heat to stimulate the immune system, help increase the body’s white blood cell count, facilitate detoxification, and produce a state of general relaxation that is essential to the healing process. In various countries, experts continue to research the therapeutic properties of the sauna.
In Japan, for example, studies by Dr. Chuwa Tei, professor of medicine and chairman of the department of internal medicine at Kagoshima University, and his colleagues have demonstrated saunas’ usefulness in treating heart patients.
In one study, Tei and his colleagues examined 25 men with at least one coronary risk factor, such as high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes or smoking, and a control group of 10 healthy men without risk factors. Once daily for two weeks, the researchers gave the experimental group a 15-minute, 140-degree Fahrenheit far infrared sauna bath followed by 30 minutes in bed covered in blankets. They then employed ultrasound technology to assess the functioning of the participants’ vascular endothelium, the thin layer of cells that lines the interior of blood vessels. The treatment significantly improved the vascular endothelial function in the patients in the experimental group, which greatly pleased the researchers since endothelial dysfunction is believed to be the first step toward the narrowing of the arteries known as atherosclerosis.
In earlier studies, Tei and his colleagues demonstrated that sauna therapy increased endothelial function in hamsters with chronic heart failure. The sauna therapy also prolonged the life of the hamsters by three weeks, compared to the hamsters who did not receive sauna therapy.
German researchers recently studied 22 kindergarten children who took weekly sauna baths and compared them with a control group that did not take any sauna baths. The children were followed for 18 months, and a careful record was made of their incidence of ear infections, colds, and upper respiratory problems. Children who didn’t take the sauna baths suffered from twice the number of sick days as their counterparts.
Other findings suggest that it may be more than just the heat of a sauna that is so advantageous to human health. Research has shown that an abundance of negative ions in the air we breathe is highly beneficial, while a lack of ions or a higher ratio of positive to negative ions can cause physical harm. Tests have indicated that the practice of splashing water on heated rocks in a traditional Finnish sauna produces a high quantity of negative ions.
And while The St. Petersburg Times quotes Dr. Timothy Meade, a U.S.-educated doctor who works as regional director for the American Medical Center in the Russian city, as saying, “I don’t think studies have been done where 10 Russians take a banya every day for 20 years and 10 Russian people don’t,” the newspaper does state that “almost anyone who experiences the banya will tell you that there is a certain deeply felt sense of healthiness – what the Russians refer to as a kaif or high – after a couple of hours” in the sauna bath.
Throughout Finland, Sweden, Japan, China, Germany, Russia, Canada, the U.S., and numerous other countries of the world, much evidence and countless personal experiences exist to substantiate the widely held conviction that regular sauna bathing can be both effective therapy for people suffering from conditions and afflictions like hypertension and arthritis and a powerful preventative aid against colds, flu and other health threats.
No matter where you may live, if you are sick and want to get healthy or if you are healthy and want to remain that way, speak to a qualified health professional about the magnificent merits of the sauna bath. Countless studies agree that you can feel better and heal better in the soothing warmth of a sauna.
About the Author
Pertti Olavi Jalasjaa,
More Details about sauna OR sauna therapy here. Pertti Olavi Jalasjaa is the author of “The Art of Sauna Building,” an acclaimed reference book on sauna construction. He is also the general manager of Great Saunas, which has been manufacturing and selling high-quality saunas to sauna enthusiasts around the world since 1974. Visit Great Saunas online at www.greatsaunas.com.