It is thought that the sauna was first invented by the Finns over 2,000 years ago before they travelled and brought it to the Americas in 1638. As electricity evolved, so too did the rudimentary sauna which was gradually developed for optimal relaxation and human health. To this day, these hot bath houses remain an essential part of Finnish heritage as well as a staple in spas, hotels and gyms around the world.
The immediate benefits of the sauna are obvious. In the heat, muscles become relaxed, pain is relieved and stress is reduced. The practice is a routine part of many people’s work-out, a sort of reward to compliment intense cardiovascular sessions. However, the benefits do not stop there. Recent research indicates that the secret to long-life may be found in the sauna.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association surveyed over 2,000 middle-aged Finnish men and tracked their sauna use over a 20 year period. The results demonstrated that men who use the sauna twice weekly exhibited a 24% decrease in all-cause mortality than men who refrain. As sauna use went up, so too did the life expectancy. Men who visited the sauna over four times a week experienced a massive 40% reduction in all-cause mortality.
In her research into the topic, Dr Rhonda Patrick explains why sauna use is associated with longevity. When our bodies experience the dry heat of the sauna, our hearts can beat up to 150 times per minute. This results in an increased blood-flow to the heart which safeguards us against an array of cardiovascular disease. It’s like having a cardiovascular workout without exercising! Moreover, our bodies release heat-stress proteins under the conditions of the sauna. These proteins instantly get to work on preventing damage from accumulating in every cell in our bodies which in turn protects us from disease at every level. This is why saunas have been shown to be effective in preventing heart disease, chronic pain, mental fatigue, and even certain types of cancers.
Our bodies are resilient and perform incredibly well when exposed to extremes. As a rebel entrepreneur it is important to be at your physical and mental best and saunas, like cold showers, can elicit powerful reactions in our bodies which have the potential to shock us into wellness.