Soak Stress Away in a Sauna
Just like everyone knows how it feels to be happy or sad, everyone knows how it feels to be stressed. People encounter and experience stress at home, at work, at school – anywhere opportunities to react to internal or external stimulation exist.
That stimulation can come from an argument with a spouse, a conflict with a co-worker, an assignment from a teacher, bad news from a doctor, and so on. And the stimulation doesn’t have to be negative; people often become stressed when they start new jobs or enter into promising new relationships. Even an experience so commonly desired as hitting the jackpot in a lottery or at a casino can cause stress.
A little stress can be a good thing. Stress during a job interview can help you stay on your toes to answer the tough questions. Stress on a date can help ensure the person you’re trying to impress sees you at your best behavior. Stress is, after all, the body’s way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet a tough situation with focus, strength, stamina and/or heightened alertness. Working properly, stress can enhance a person’s ability to perform under pressure.
Working improperly, however, stress can have devastating effects on the human body.
When you are stressed, your brain signals your adrenal glands to produce more of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol and release them into your bloodstream. These hormones speed up heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and metabolism. In moderate amounts, these hormones are not harmful, but cortisol is secreted excessively in response to chronic stress. In these larger amounts, cortisol is extremely toxic.
According to Dr. Al Sears, founder and director of The Wellness Research Foundation, “Cortisol actually kills and disables your brain cells. Over your lifespan, cortisol ruins your brain’s biochemical integrity. Chronic exposure to cortisol causes the mental haziness, forgetfulness and confusion that is associated with aging.”
People under stress may also be at greater risk of developing coronary heart disease. Stress causes arteries to constrict and blood to become stickier, increasing the likelihood of an artery-clogging blood clot. As well, people who regularly experience sudden increases in blood pressure caused by stress may develop injuries in the inner lining of their blood vessels over time.
Studies suggest that chronic stress may increase a person’s chances for having strokes, developing infections, experiencing flare ups of multiple sclerosis, and suffering gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and peptic ulcers. Chronic stress has also been associated with the development of insulin resistance, a primary factor in diabetes. And ask anyone who has ever suffered from headaches, insomnia, sexual dysfunction or skin disorders if they think stress was at least partly to blame for their woes, and then form your own conclusions about how truly damaging stress can be to one’s health and well being.
If you believe you have a serious condition that has been caused or worsened by certain stressors in your life, you should discuss your concerns with a physician. If, however, you would like to improve the quality of your life by learning how to better cope with the irritating moments of stress in your life, numerous options exist. Perhaps your first focus should be on discovering the tremendous benefits of relaxation.
Relaxation lowers blood pressure, respiration and pulse rates, releases muscle tension, and eases emotional strains. In their quests for greater relaxation, some people choose massage therapy while others opt for biofeedback. Some folks rely on meditation, and others perform deep breathing exercises. Many people use a combination of different methods and aids.
One such aid that has been revered for many years as an effective stress-buster is the home sauna.
The list of health benefits associated with proper sauna bathing seems endless. Studies indicate that soaking in a hot sauna bath can help increase cardiovascular strength, improve lung function, reduce and remove body toxins, cleanse and beautify skin, relieve headaches, and strengthen the body’s immune system. Sauna bathing can also increase blood circulation, relaxing aching, tired or tight muscles by providing them with more oxygen.
If you’re looking for a healthy way to alleviate the stress in your life, why not consider buying a home sauna? Residential saunas come in many different styles and sizes – from pre-cut Finnish sauna kits to portable barrel saunas and far infrared heat therapy rooms. With such a multitude of options available, you’re sure to find the personal sauna that’s perfect for you.
With all the damage that stress can cause your mind and body, right now is the best time to learn how to relax, and inside a hot sauna room, away from all your life’s demands and distractions, may just be the best place to do it.