A recent article on the GQ website describes the benefits of various kinds of spa treatments, saunas and steam baths. They point out that winter is the best time to visit the sauna, it helps you regulate your body temperature and relieves you of the awful chill of Winter for awhile at least. The article quotes Christopher Lowry, an associate professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who says:
“In animal studies, warm temperature exposure—as you would get in a sauna—activates neurons that synthesize and release serotonin,” which is a neurotransmitter important for emotional health.
This means that induced sweating can make you feel happier!
The article touches on subjects that we have covered in the past on this blog. Such as the history of the Finnish Sauna and why Finns love saunas so much (a country of more than 5 million people with 2 million saunas). The article also mentions the equivalent spa treatments from other cultures, such as the Turkish bath or hamam and the Japanese sento and onsen which can help soothe joint pain.
..be sure to cool down gradually post-sauna, and pound a few cups of water to stay hydrated. Prepare to sweat a pint or more in a single session; so basically the opposite of your usual relationship with a pint.