We see it on TV all the time. A sitcom lead takes a luxurious spa day, complete with a mani and pedi, and returns to the drama as stressed as they were before they left. It’s easy to think of a spa as something indulgent that’s only done for occasional pampering. The truth is that the health benefits of a spa visit go far above and beyond a seaweed wrap or mud mask.
Relaxing in a Sauna
The average sauna reaches a temperature of about 32°C at the lowest level of the sauna and 185°C at the very top of the space. In Finnish-style saunas, the humidity rarely goes higher than 20%. The result is a pleasant, dry heat that encourages sweating. As the body’s internal temperature rises, the heartbeat increases by as much as 30% to help circulate blood.
This increase in heart rate actually helps strengthen the heart by acting as a form of mild cardiovascular exercise. If you have heart problems to consider, then, as with any form of exercise, consult your doctor before partaking in a sauna.
Prolonged sauna use doesn’t only help you in the short-term, either. A study from the University of Eastern Finland connected frequent sauna visits to lower rates of death from cardiovascular disease or stroke.
The warmth and heat from a sauna or hot pool relaxes your muscles, which, in turn, makes it easier to fall asleep at night. The heat will also help dilate your blood vessels, which can reduce the severity of headaches.
Enjoying a Massage
Professional massage has been practiced for several thousand years, and the benefits are well-documented. Massage therapy provides immediate relief for tight muscles and compressed nerves, but it can also help with greater flexibility, improved energy, muscle rehabilitation, and relief of back pain.
What you may not have heard about massage is that it can actually help change your body’s biology for the better. Research indicates that Swedish massage can help stimulate the production of virus-fighting cells. This gives your immune system a boost, helping you to better fight off sickness before it takes hold.
Relaxing the Mind
One of the unsung health benefits of a spa is what it does for your mental health. Indulging in a sauna provides a kind of forced relaxation. For the fifteen to twenty minutes you are inside, you can’t reach for your phone or worry about work. You are present with yourself and with those around you. Finns frequently go to the sauna with friends and family, to relax, chat, and unwind together.
A study monitoring over 3,300 Japanese government workers linked the frequency of spa usage to better sleep quality and fewer sick days. Another study from Florida State University and George Mason University produced similar results.
How Often Should I Visit?
There’s no answer that’s right for everyone. Someone struggling with chronic back pain might find relief in a daily visit, while a single weekly reprieve might be best for another. It is important to remember not to brush off feelings of stress. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, long-term stress can disrupt everything from your immune system to your digestive and reproductive health.
A spa is a retreat, an escape from daily life, and a way to look after yourself. So, to put it simply: visit whenever you feel like you need to.
For more information on Vettä, or if you have any specific questions about our Nordic spa, please feel free to contact us. You can also sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest updates and, as we get closer to opening, special sneak peeks!