Nothing feels better than a good ‘ole sweat session. Well, almost nothing.
If you’re looking for an endorphin boost, while also detoxing your body and making your mind sharper and more focused, an afternoon (or post-gym) session at the sauna could be just what the doctor ordered.
We know that there are many benefits to using saunas — it has long been used as a therapy. The Mayans used sweat houses 3,000 years ago, according to Harvard Health. In Finland, where saunas are a regular part of the culture, there are 2 million saunas for the 5 million people who live there! But while most people typically think of the aesthetic and beauty benefits, many don’t realize it can be extremely beneficial in helping you work too. Of course, there’s a lot of science behind why we sweat and the benefits of it. Working up a sweat can help manage physical and mental stress, which ultimately will make you a better leader, colleague and ultimately, better for yourself.
In the United States, there are many companies that are helping you sweat like you’ve never sweat before!
For example, Higher Dose, a spa-like facility that has been touting the benefits of infrared saunas ever since its founding in 2016, is based in New York City. They offer 30 or 60-minute sweat sessions in an infrared–heated booth that goes up to anywhere between 110° and 130°. Unlike traditional saunas, infrared saunas actually heat your body from the inside — it is known to assist with detoxification, relaxation, burning calories, pain relief, anti-aging, skin purification, cell health, and improved circulation.
And while this wellness tech company is based on the east coast, they’re making it accessible to all, offering an at-home sauna blanket that touts all of the same benefits. Unlike a traditional sauna, there is no sitting on wooden benches or your own personalized. Although it’s not FDA-approved, Higher Dose claims in the product description that this blanket “increases the body’s thermal energy and promotes a temporary increase in blood flow – so you sweat like you’re working out, without working out.”
Haven’t invested in a sauna blanket, or seen it before at the gym but never felt comfortable checking it out? Here are a few benefits that will not only help you glow from the outside, but the inside too, to help you become a better leader.
Lowers stress hormones.
Let’s face it — work is stressful. Sweating activates the parasympathetic response in the body, which helps us to relax, digest, and recover. So all of those panic-inducing after work emails? The negative interactions with a confrontational coworker? The high-demand project you’ve been working on all quarter? Well, breaking a sweat in the sauna or through exercise helps boost endorphins and relieve anxiety and depression associated with all of those things. After we sweat, cortisol and stress hormones go down. At the same time, our other adrenal hormones help maintain a proper electrolyte balance increase.
Increases blood flow to muscles.
You’re probably thinking, how does this make me more effective at work? Well, that’s easy. When more blood flows to your muscles, you feel good. When you feel good, you work even better. When good work gets done, you are more effective. When you are more effective, you get more business (or more projects assigned to you). When you get more business, you make more money. It’s easy math!
It helps your heart.
Chances are, if you’re in a high-demand job, you’re not taking care of yourself the way you should be — be honest. In people with hypertension, saunas can help reduce blood pressure. And for people without hypertension, it can also lower their risk of developing hypertension later in life. Even though a sauna session will temporarily increase heart rate and blood pressure (like during an exercise session), research shows a long-term benefit of lowered blood pressure.