The Benefits Of Sauna For Raising Body Heat

The Benefits Of Sauna For Raising Body Heat

As anyone who has used a sauna has experienced, the time spent in the hot, steamy sauna results in a rise in the bather’s internal body temperature. While many benefits of sweating are well recognized, the health benefits of this rise in body temperature, known as artificially induced hyperthermia, are less well known but equally important.

More than two thousand years ago, Hippocrates, the founder of modern Western medicine, said, “Give me the power to create a fever, and I shall cure any disease.” Often misunderstood as simply another uncomfortable symptom of illness, fever is actually the body’s natural method of fighting infection. When a body runs a fever, the higher internal temperature both stimulates the function of the immune system and inhibits the growth and spread of bacteria and viruses. White blood cell production is increased and the production of antibodies speeds up. Also, the creation of interferon, an anti-viral protein which has powerful immune boosting substance, is increased.

Fever also creates an inhospitable environment for bacteria and viruses. Most microbes can only live and reproduce within a fairly narrow temperature range. Once the temperature rises beyond that range, the reproduction speed of the microbes dramatically falls. For example, the growth rate of the polio virus is two hundred fifty times slower at a temperature of one hundred four degrees Fahrenheit than it is at the normal body temperature of ninety-eight degrees.

Although the artificial ‘fever’ induced by sauna use does not produce quite the same benefits of genuine fever, it does create certain health benefits. A 1959 study at the Mayo Clinic showed an increase in the production of white blood cells by 58% during heat therapy treatments. A different study noted that white blood cell activity increased during heat therapy. Some sauna users have found that sauna bathing at the first symptoms of a cold can prevent the illness from fully developing.

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