New study reveals sauna benefits similar to exercise benefits

The University of Iowa* has been conducting an exhaustive study over the last several years related to sauna use. Some of their findings have recently been released, and show some encouraging new data on the benefits you can get from saunas.

The main objective of the study: Can a sauna serve as a replacement for exercise in individuals who may be restricted from exercise due to physical limitations. The study involved 25 healthy volunteers (13 men and 12 women). Each individual was placed in a room heated between 78 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit to determine some baseline readings. Once those readings had been recorded, each was then placed into a sauna room heated to about 163 degrees Fahrenheit for a 30 minute session. Once the 30-minute session had been completed (sitting on the upper bench of the sauna), the participant then moved to the lower bench for a 3-minute cooling period before exiting the sauna.

The following readings were noted after the sauna session, when the body experienced what they term in this study as “heat stress”:

  • Body temperature increased about 1.55 degrees Fahrenheit
  • The heart rate increased an average of 22.4 beats per minute
  • Blood pressure decreased (Systolic decreased by 16 mm Hg; Diastolic decreased by 5 mm Hg)
  • There was a 58% increase of norepinephrine in blood plasma! This is often a prescribed medication to help treat low blood pressure and heart failure
  • Proloactin increased by 285% in blood plasma. Proloactin has many positive benefits for the body
  • HSP72—a protein proven to preserve muscle function—increased by an average of 48.7%

While a sauna cannot replicate all the benefits of exercise, the study concluded that several physiologic changes that occur during an exercise session can also occur during a regular sauna session. For those challenged with exercise due to physical limitations, they could very well benefit from regular sauna use. Heat bathing can help maintain a healthier cardiovascular system, as well as help preserve muscle function.

These are the preliminary results of the study—and they’re certainly terrific! If you know of someone who has issues that prevent them from partaking in a regular exercise routine, a sauna could very well help improve their overall health. And—if you’re on a healthy track, sauna sessions certainly will only help further boost the benefits of an exercise routine.

We hope you’ll visit one of Oregon Hot Tub’s showrooms  today and take a look at our entire line of Finnleo Traditional Steam and Infrared Saunas. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it would be to add a sauna to your home, and start enjoying these health benefits today!

*Findings from a study conducted by the Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science Department of the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Additional assistance provided by other departments at the University of Iowa, as well as the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.