Sitting in the sauna is a workout. The stress placed upon your body in a 15-minute sauna session can raise your heart-rate and induce a sweat response in the same way moderate exercise does. So how is this stress a good thing? Your body is an adaptation machine. When we place our body under stressful physical conditions, such as running, lifting heavy weights or sitting in a 60 degree sauna, our biological markers rapidly improve, and your body becomes more efficient. Lifting weights improves bone density, muscle mass and proprioceptive ability. Likewise, sitting in a sauna was shown to induce a myriad of physiological effects, which we will explore in this post. Sweating out Heavy Metals Increased sweating has been shown to increase the excretion of heavy metals - one study stated: "During regular, daily sauna use, I was more relaxed during the days, my skin had a much softer texture, the quality of my sleep was much improved, and overall I felt very good. Hair mineral analysis biopsies during this time indicated an increased mobilization of toxic metals, particularly aluminum". Excess heavy metals exposure is linked with breast cancer and oxidation of cells, as well as being hugely disruptive to the endocrine system. Pituitary, ovaries and testes function can also be largely effective. As such, it makes sense to take advantage of sauna therapy if it is available to you. Improved Cardiovascular Function Short-term heat exposure induces thermoregulatory effects, activating the central nervous system (CNS). Activation of this leads to well-documented cardiovascular effects with increased heart rate, skin blood flow, cardiac output, and sweating. Longer periods at higher heart rates increases the rate of adaption, improving VO2 max. Several studies have shown that runners experienced an improvement in their running pace and time to exhaustion after several weeks of sauna therapy. Depression A small study of 28 patients with mild depressive symptoms improved their hunger and relaxation scores vs. the control group. This could be attributed to the endorphin-release associated with exercise related stress. All-cause Mortality All-cause mortality is the chance of death with all factors considered. "Association between sauna bathing and fatal cardiovascular and all-cause mortality events" states: "We have shown that having frequent sauna baths is strongly associated with a reduced risk of fatal cardiovascular outcomes and all-cause mortality in a general population sample of middle-aged men". Conclusion The documented evidence of sauna use is favourable for both healthy and compromised adults. In my personal experience, I've found saunas to be extremely therapeutic for the body and mind. Saunas coupled with cold showers have been my go-to recovery method for the last 18 months.