Can Sauna Help Cure Your Depression

2 min read

Sauna
Khadija Rahman
A spirited writer who looks at the world with an inquisitive mind. Passionate about many things, she is an active campaigner for women’s rights and wants to change the world, one article at a time.

Did you know around 300 million suffer from depression? It is a topic that is not as talked about as other illnesses are. Those who were depressed in the past can tell you just how difficult it is to come out of it. For a depressed person, it is crucial to do things that help them heal and feel better. Do you ever realize how much better you feel after a shower or sauna? Research suggests that there might be a scientific reason behind it. The exciting results show that sauna does not only improve mental health, but it also helps ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

What does the research say?

In 2016, a Psychiatry professor, Charles Raison, conducted research. It showed that episodes of mild hyperthermia produced ‘a significant antidepressant effect’ in patients that suffered from major depressive episodes. Surprisingly, the positive effects seemed to last up to six weeks. 

The first experiment was done on 16 individuals. The individuals with major depression went under induced hyperthermia through a high-tech infrared heating device. Their symptoms were studied. Although the results were promising, there was a chance that the mood-enhancing effects of the study may have impacted the outcome. 

To be sure, another experiment was carried out. A more extensive study was carried out where half of the patients underwent active hyperthermia and the other half underwent a “sham” treatment. Their treatment mimicked aspects of hyperthermia expect high heat. The results showed that the sham patients did not show any positive signs that the other half did. 

Although the results are highly promising, there is a need for more research. In-depth study and analysis will help us determine how hyperthermia could be best used to relieve depression. 

Other benefits of sauna

The effect of sauna on a depressed individual is surely interesting. But that is not all. Sauna has a ton of other benefits that could help you out. Let us take a close look at some of them. 

  • Reducing stress levels

Sauna is also known to reduce stress as it helps you to relax. The heat can help you unwind after a hard day at work and can improve overall wellbeing.

  • Eases pain

You might have noticed how gyms have a sauna. The primary purpose of I is to help ease the pain. Working out can cause muscle pain, which the sauna can take care of. 

  • Improves cardiovascular health

A study in Finland found that people who used sauna regularly had lower chances of dying from a heart attack. People who used sauna two-three times were 22% less likely to experience sudden cardiac arrest. 

  • Helps in weight loss

Sauna is a great way to help shed those kilos without having to put any effort. The heat increases your heartbeat. According to Scientific calibrations, a 20-minute session at 170 degrees Fahrenheit can burn 500 calories. 

  • Lowered risk of Alzheimer’s

Another research in Finland published the findings of a 20-year study. The study was based on 2,315 healthy men who were aged between 40 and 60 years. The study’s findings showed that people who used sauna regularly had lesser chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Relief from the common cold

People who have a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, or a cough may find relief in the sauna. The warm humid air can reduce symptoms by opening airways and loosening phlegm. It may also be helpful to patients of asthma. 

  • Flushes out toxins

One of the natural ways to get rid of the body toxins is through sweating. Sauna is an easy way to sweat out all the impurities without having to do the work. The intense heat of the sauna causes excessive sweating, which is all that you need to get rid of the toxins. 

Sauna

If it is your first time in a sauna, start with 5 minutes. Once you get familiar and comfortable, you can stay in for longer. But ideally, 20 minutes is long enough for an individual. Since sauna involves a lot of sweating, try to hydrate as much as you can. 

People with certain conditions like blood pressure or kidney disease may want to avoid sauna. To be on the safer side, you could talk to your doctor before you start. For those who have the go-ahead from the doctor, the sauna could be very helpful.