Are Saunas Good For You?

sauna-inside-couple-930x523Ok, it’s time for me to face some hard cold facts.  I’m not as young as I used to be.  At 45, I’ve still got some gas in the tank (Heck, Tony Horton was in his mid 40s when he did P90X), but my joints and connective tissue are just not what they used to be.  PiYo has been a great way to give my joints a little reprieve from the usual pounding they get from programs like P90X, Insanity,  and T25, etc.  but there are some days when I need a little more.

In our current Team PiYo Fitness Challenge, my good friend Miko makes it a point to get in a good sauna session a few times a week.  This sparked my curiosity, so I googled the benefits of sauna.  To my surprise I found a lot of conflicting information.  For example, in the Harvard Health Publication, they concluded that “…All in all, saunas appear safe for the body, but there is little evidence that they have health benefits above and beyond relaxation and a feeling of well-being.”  However, in an article published by the University of Wisconsin, they concluded that ‘…using a sauna to induce sweating is actually a healthy way to lower blood pressure and relieve other medical problems.”   Additionally, “…It’s also effective at detoxifying the body of chemicals from pollutants in the atmosphere and earth, and it’s generally much safer than taking a lot of medications.”

So who do you believe?   

Here’s my take on it.  If it feels good, and there are possible benefits, you’ve got nothing to lose, right?  My friend Miko tends to agree.  When asked if Sauna Treatments were helping relieve her joint pain, this was her response”

“I’m really going to have to say in a nutshell, yes. But I could also say no, because they do not give the same immediate reward that as the joint sleeves I wear during workouts. The wearing of sleeves on joints just work in that they’re naked — they don’t have layers of muscle, fat and fascia covering them.  They tend to stay cold much longer than the rest of the body. For instance, after we finish our warm up and we think we’re ready to go, those knees, wrists, and elbows, maybe not! For sure, this makes a tremendous difference in decreasing pain, because joints work better warm.

Now, here’s how I say yes. Going to the sauna once a week for 25 minutes, that really is not going to help. Going 10 minutes a day, every day, is how that practice is going to help those joints. I’m saying if you go consistently, it will help. Perhaps others can testify to an immediate relief but not me.

There are multiple things going on with sauna use, such as the repair of surrounding tissues and muscle is happening at an increased rate. It’s a no-lose and all-win situation.”

If you have access to a sauna, before you try it out, make sure to check with your doctor.  In addition, read the warnings that should be posted just our side of the sauna entrance.  Once you are clear, go for it.  I’d love to hear what you think about it.

As always, I am always here to help.  I’m always running fitness challenge support groups, so click the link below for more info.  Feel free to contact me with any questions.


In This Together,

Coach Eric Hollingsworth
P90X, PiYo Certified Fitness Coach

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