Sauna: the benefits and harm
Surveys show that most people consider sauna as a type of spa, a way of relaxation, and at the same time do not think about its impact on health. And it is quite serious: when a person visits a steam room, it is not only heat that is affected, but also high humidity combined with infrared radiation.
The short-term effect of high temperature is a stress factor that causes the body to "shake up", mobilize its own resources and expand its adaptive abilities. The secret is to make stress positive, that is, one that trains the body and makes it sturdier, and does not trigger an “emergency mode” with a critical increase in blood pressure, a sharp redistribution of blood flow and the release of high concentrations of adrenaline.
So why is warmth useful?
Reducing "bad" cholesterol
Regular use of the sauna, according to research, helps to normalize cholesterol levels, reduce the concentration of “bad” lipids in the blood and increase “good” ones.This is an important factor in reducing the risks of stroke and heart attack.
Blood pressure improvement
A regular reaction to the effect of high temperatures is an increase in blood pressure and an increase in pulse rate. Adrenaline is released into the blood. The blood sugar concentration also increases.
Not so long ago, the medical community vigorously discussed the publication of a long-term study, conducted, of course, by the ubiquitous Finns, about reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes among those who regularly visited the sauna. How is this possible if staying in the steam room increases the pressure? The mechanism is simple: among sauna lovers, the body adapts to the effects of high temperatures and responds by improving the blood supply to the heart muscle and reducing the pressure outside the sauna. That is, such people eliminate the main risk factors of “vascular catastrophes”.
Studies in mice, and then in humans, showed amazing results. During the experiments, intensive growth of capillaries in the limbs was observed and their blood supply improved. And if this process is not so important for a healthy man in the street, then for an athlete improving blood flow in the muscles is just a gift of fate.What can we say about patients with diabetes who suffer from poor blood supply in the limbs (“diabetic foot” with the formation of ulcers, impaired sensitivity, intolerable pain - the usual story for a diabetic).
Positive effect on hormones
Staying in a sauna, according to research, has a beneficial effect on hormones. The content of testosterone, thyrotropic hormone (it stimulates the thyroid gland) and somatotropin (which improves the growth of muscle mass, turns metabolism in the direction of recovery and building new tissues) increases.
The effect of heat stimulates the production of ghrelin - this substance increases the appetite, so after contrasting procedures you always feel like eating. And the somatotropic hormone takes care of that all the consumed ones go not to fat depots, but to build muscle tissue.
Creating a good mood
Improving serotonin production not only improves mood, but also helps in the treatment of pain, and also eliminates the feeling of constant fatigue and apathy, characteristic of depressive states.Therefore, some experts recommend visiting the sauna for patients with fibromyalgia - an ailment with "wandering" intractable pain.
The effect of heat stimulates the production of beta-endorphins. The result - the appearance of mild euphoria, improved mood and performance. Studies revealed an interesting pattern: in people with a minimum level of physical activity, work after a sauna visit increased by about 8%, and for those who exercise regularly, a visit to the sauna improved performance by 16%. In other words, a sauna in itself is good, and a sauna after a workout is twice as good for your brain. Of course, in the absence of contraindications.
Reduction of puffiness
Finns propose to include sauna therapy in the complex of measures for the treatment of obesity. A visit to the steam room supposedly normalizes metabolism and helps to restore a healthy appetite for healthy food. Like it or not, there remains to be learned. However, an indisputable fact is the influence of contrast procedures on swelling. The sauna helps to "drive away" excess water by activating the hormonal mechanisms aimed at removing excess fluid from the body, as well as stimulating the lymphatic system, which also makes the muscle relief more pronounced.
This is actively used by athletes on the eve of the competition, using rather severe schemes of "treatment" in the steam room. It is unlikely that this is good for health, but in big sports there are few examples of careful treatment of your body. Health there is not a priority, as opposed to winning at any cost.
Why the sauna is not useful to everyone
Finns also own the sad experience of over-enthusiasm for the sauna. In 2010, a participant from Russia died during the World Sauna Championship. This happened at the final stage of the competition: the athlete died of general overheating and burns of the respiratory tract. His rival from Finland went to the hospital. After a long treatment and rehabilitation, he was able to return to normal life. True, with the competition in the steam room had to say goodbye forever. This story is a reminder that everything should be in moderation.
Sauna access has many contraindications and restrictions. Among them are pregnancy, epilepsy, oncological diseases, high blood pressure, an acute period of colds, poor tolerance of high temperatures, chronic diseases in the acute stage, the first six months after a stroke or heart attack.
On New Year's holidays, the emergency departments of hospitals suffer from an influx of patients with strokes and heart attacks. These poor fellows decided to “start a new life on Monday,” and, instead of bringing the pressure back to normal, they rushed to “heal” in the steam room. The result of such rashness is often sad.
Improve health without a systematic approach will not work. Therefore, a sauna is not a panacea for all illnesses, but simply a possible instrument for improving well-being, which should be used only after consulting a doctor.
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