Over the past few years it seems we have become even more conscious of our mental health needs - looking for ways to build our resilience for times of adversity. When it comes to improving your mental wellbeing, some of the simplest strategies can have a huge impact.
Using a sauna regularly is one of them.
When coming to the sauna, listen to your body to determine how much time you should spend in it. Start out slowly, as your body adapts, your tolerance to the heat will build. Also make sure to drink lots of water before and after each session.
Enhance mood and strengthen your resilience to depression.
Saunas can really support people who experience depression. Regular sauna sessions have been found to contribute to relaxation and have a positive impact on mental health by giving your mind time away from the external world’s uncertainties and complexities and bringing you back into the present.
The physical effects of sauna, lead to an endorphin rush and because of this you can feel euphoric. The contrasts of the heat and cold when sauna-ing, are kind of stressful on the body, but to deal with it the brain creates and releases more euphoric hormones.
Reduce anxiety & stress through mindfulness sauna time
Regular sauna decreases cortisol levels, the main stress hormone in your body which helps to relieve stress and anxiety. The excessive sweating induced by the sauna also enhances relaxation.
To sauna is a whole sensory experience, taking you from your thoughts and into your body. You can focus on this shift by being mindful of your surroundings and engaging your senses. Remembr, be playful in the sauna - pay attention whilst you sweat to your 5 senses and become more mindful in the moment.
The sound of the crackling fire, the whooshing of the cool water as it makes contact with the hot rocks; the feel of the warmth of the bench beneath you and the prickling of the heat on your skin. Smell the aromas in the sauna, be it from the natural scent of the wood or additional essential oils. Focus a soft gaze at the flickering flames, or the reflections of the sunset on the stream outside. Why not bring a snack for after your session - notice the sweetness and refreshing qualities of a satsuma, as if tasting the citrus flavour for the first time.
Essential Oils & Sauna
You may find that you’d like to experiment with adding different essential oils to water before you trickle water onto the rocks. Sauna essential oils can be used during the session to help soothe the mind and body. Please add to the water, not directly to the rocks. And never take glass bottles into the sauna room. A firm favourite of mine is eucalyptus - known for its beneficial properties of promoting relaxation and clearing the airways! There are many to experiment with, have a look at the link below for their properties and see which ones would compliment your needs:
Some prefer the natural smell of the cedarwood, this is the wood of our sauna, and properties from cedar are said to: evoke feelings of wellness and vitality. Cedarwood is frequently used in massage therapy to relax and soothe the mind and body. So you can see why the smell of the wood in our sauna can alone leave you feeling relaxed and at peace.
Induces better sleep
Having well-rested sleep is the most important thing you can do to increase your memory and cognition. Having high-quality deep sleep is vital to optimum brain function and mental health, one way to improve it is to use a sauna regularly. With soothing heat that penetrates deep into the skin, sauna sessions help relax the body tremendously. You will find that sleep comes easily and will last during the night when the sauna session is done before bed.