WWhen outside temperatures drop to freezing, a hot air bath is the perfect place to warm up, relax, or have fun. Above all, you can arm yourself against the cold.
"More than 30 million people in Germany go to the sauna more or less regularly. That's why we are world champions in sauna bathing," says Hans-Jürgen Gensow of the German Sauna Association. Meanwhile, the sauna has also become an event and cabaret venue. "The trend is show-infusions with costumes, music, light effects and acting," Gensow says. And at the German Sauna Association's annual German Infusion Championship, the best of the best compete with one another.
But a hot air bath is much more than a scene. Everyone who sweats regularly, among other things, strengthens their body's defensive capabilities. "To achieve a clear health effect, you should go to the Finnish sauna (90 degrees Celsius) once or twice a week – all year long," says Dr. Rainer Brenke, Privatdozent and specialist in sauna and water applications. Experts recommend two to three sauna sessions, each lasting a maximum of 15 minutes.
"Because of the relatively dry, hot air, irritation of the skin and mucous membranes in the nasopharynx is very intense. They are thus better prepared for temperature changes in daily life, and the curing effect is even greater," says Brenke, who has been researching for years. at Berlin's Charité. This is a long-lasting hardening.
In the sauna, the interaction of heat and cold is important. The sauna, therefore, has a chilling effect. "Circulation regulation is enhanced by alternating stimuli. You don't catch cold, but you train your defense," Privatdozent points out. It is relevant to have a long-term positive effect on the immune system, as it increases white blood cell activity. " interferon that protects against viral infections, "says Brenke. Changing hot and cold can even lower blood pressure in the long run.
What exactly happens during sauna sessions in the body is explained in detail on the sauna pages of other medical professionals. For example, one learns that once the core temperature of about 30 degrees Celsius is warmed up to 40 degrees Celsius, when blood transfers heat from the body shell to a cooler interior of the body. The blood vessels expand, the heart pumps faster and harder, the blood flow to the skin doubles, the skin turns red. Now the body begins to sweat – to cool down.
But only when the sweat evaporates on the skin does the heat remove from the body. Through this reaction he tries to maintain a normal level of 37 degrees Celsius inside to protect the organs. The muscles and psyche are now in a state of relaxation.
The sauna is followed by cooling, whereby the body temperature returns to its original value.
Those who regularly take a sauna benefit from other benefits. "For example, a mechanism has been identified that proves that the body can better access free radicals by bathing in a sauna, such as environmental pollution such as air pollution or the effects of nicotine," Brenke points out.
In addition, regular sauna sessions have an anti-aging function: the skin becomes smoother and the wrinkles disappear. "With the right predisposition, there may be an increased, cosmetically possible dull vascularization on the face after years," Brenke says.
The real effect is long-term lowering of body temperature. "At least statistically, it has to do with a larger lifespan, which could be several years," says the expert.
But Brenke advises against going to a hot air bath with an acute infection, as this would put too much strain on the heart and, unlike its long-term effect, immediately weaken the immune defenses.
As for the fall blues, the sauna sessions have shown their value here too: Branke, like light therapy, can have antidepressant effects and release endorphins as hormones of happiness.