Sauna Q&A / Jan Seepter

The surprising effects of sauna on your mental health

03 Nov 2022

We seem to concentrate too much on our body’s physical health. Although significant, some of the strongest factors in living a long healthy life are often neglected, i.e. our mind’s health, especially in the turbulent and unexpected times like these. Sauna is an essential method for relieving tension that can help enhance your mental health in turn.

So, how can sauna help with more healthy emotional wellness?

The effects of sauna are based on the physiological and psychic reactions of the body. These are expressed as a response to heating as you sit or lie or whisk in a heated room. And also to the drastic alternation of the hot and cold when you cool yourself in the water, shower, snow, or cold air. Research even shows that because of the sauna, you can feel euphoric. Saunas are kind of stressful on the body, but to deal with it the brain creates and releases more euphoric hormones. There will also be a fast and strong antidepressant effect triggered by a single session, so if you use a sauna daily, you will end up being consistently happy.

Therefore, the alteration of the temperatures in the sauna can really support people who fight depression. Regular sauna sessions are also found to contribute to relaxation and impact on mental health by allowing you to avoid the external world’s uncertainties and complexities. When speaking of anxiety and stress levels, regular sauna decreases cortisol levels, the main stress hormone in your body. The excessive sweating induced by the sauna often decreases the level of frustration and enhances relaxation.

Sauna also induces better sleep. Having well-rested sleep is the most important thing you can do to increase your memory and cognition. Having high-quality deep sleep is vital to optimum brain function and mental health and one way to experience is to use sauna regularly. With soothing heat that penetrates deep into the skin, sauna sessions help relax the body tremendously. You will find that sleep comes easily and will last throughout the night.

At the same time bear in mind that you should go to the sauna only when in good company. The effects of sauna derive from relaxation and we can relax in a situation where we do not have to hide behind roleplays and masks and hence the importance of the sauna company. This is the origin of the saying that in sauna all are equal, be you a king or a pauper. And once you step over the threshold of the sauna door, all the hatred and ill blood must be left behind.

Just as important is the mood you have when preparing to go to the sauna. Thus, it would be perfect that you were not pushed for time to be somewhere else both while in sauna and after having a sauna.The intensity of the sauna experience and the very humanity of both its invigorating effect on body’s defence systems and broadening effect on the mind are the reasons why sauna traditions are timeless and known all over the world. Sauna has been enjoyed by indigenous people as well as very different civilisations in the Orient, Europe, and Central America. And although every tribe and nation has their own sauna traditions and each sauna goer in turn has their own practices, based on the universal physiological and psychic properties of the human body and mind, some things can be underscored that one should pay attention to in the sauna.

Also, traditionally, after-sauna time was taken to spend with yourself, guests and family. It is an old folk’s belief that after sauna no work should be engaged in. Those who broke that rule could expect to suffer ill fate and their toil would have no blessing. If you take the time and give yourself an opportunity to enjoy a “new reality” stemming from the relaxation of the body and tranquillity of the mind, then sauna offers relief to stress for sure and some wow experience from time to time. Just as you start hearing the sounds of nature once you have left the noise of the city behind, this change in pace offers a chance to notice what goes on in your mind and consciousness. This also explains the new ideas and magical experiences of those that participate in sauna rituals.

All in all, emotional health isn’t going to cure itself at the end of the day. In order to reinvent yourself as a better, more optimistic, and more grateful human, you need to take action. In preserving and creating well-being, saunas are a must. It can be difficult to sort out mental health, but you can accomplish it in your daily life with the right actions, though.