Article from guest contributor, Jane Sandwood
Although getting a massage sounds self-indulgent to some, studies have shown the overwhelming benefits of self-care through spa and sauna treatments. Spending time on yourself - whether sweating it out in a sauna or enjoying the tranquility of a spa treatment - has been linked to several health benefits, both physical and mental. These benefits include improvement to cardiovascular health, mental health and anxiety, muscle recovery, and other physical health benefits. With so many documented physical and mental health benefits, now is as good a time as any to take care of yourself by visiting a nearby spa or sauna.
Giving Your Body A Break
Spending time soaking up the warmth of a sauna has several physical health benefits. Whether nature’s sauna (hot springs) or the saunas inside your local workout facility or spa, the average person loses about a pint of sweat during their time in a sauna, as reported by Harvard Medical School. During this period, the body undergoes many changes. Toxins from the kidney and liver can be excreted through sweat, and the body may be purified. Additionally, time spent in a sauna is linked to lower blood pressure, easier breathing for asthmatics, and itchiness-relief for those suffering from psoriasis.
A Mental Reset Button
Time spent in a sauna or spa is also linked to various mental health benefits. Spa treatments are like an oasis for the brain - a period where natural chemicals like serotonin and dopamine are released from the brain into the body. Experts suggest that these natural stress-fighting chemicals help aid the mind and send the body into pure relaxation. Additionally, visiting a spa improves sleep, decreases stress, and is even tied to fewer days absent from work.
Save Your Sore Muscles
Spending time in a sauna also soothes sore muscles and can aid in post-workout recovery. The heat helps muscles stay loose after exercise, and can help prevent unwanted cramping. Massage treatments can also aid in recovery by decreasing the release of cortisol while increasing the release of serotonin. According to Dr. Tiffany Field, serotonin is the body’s happy natural chemical that fights off pain and enhances relaxation. She compares massages as a natural alternative to pain relievers like ibuprofen. Even celebrities like Lady Gaga swear by sauna treatments for chronic pain.
Relax Your Way To Well-Being
Can you sweat your stress and anxiety away? It's certainly possible for some. Women’s Health Magazine reports that frequent sauna and spa visits help fight against stress and decrease levels of anxiety. That escapism concept - a moment of peace, silence, and tranquility - can send the brain into relaxation mode. It’s like a warm blanket around you inviting you to relax, enjoy, and forget your troubles. You are quite literally relaxing your way to mental well-being.
The release of sweat and toxins in a sauna paired with the deep-tissue muscle relief and relaxation of a massage leaves no room to contest the importance and benefits of self-care and spa treatments for your body. So don't feel self-indulgent or selfish next time you sign up as the health benefits speak for themselves.