Thermal Therapy

A Soft Heat Radiant Sauna enables one to experience relaxation and exhilaration as well the health and fitness benefits of thermal therapy. In the Soft Heat Sauna, the body is thoughly cleansed, and muscle aches disappear. Radiant heat therapy improves blood circulation and can produce relief from symptoms of many musculoskeletal problems, including arthritis, rheumatism, and sciatica.

 

Heat relaxes and loosens muscle tissue, thereby decreasing tension and tightness. Heat has traditionally been used by health and medical professionals for the treatment and rehabilitation of sports injuries. There is significant scientific evidence that deep heat promotes healing of a large number of different injuries. Heat is often used in conjunction with cold packs in the treatment of muscle spasms, strains, and stiffness.

In the warm environment of a Soft Heat Sauna, one’s internal thermostat immediately senses the rise in temperature. Signals are sent to the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates body temperature and metabolism. The blood vessels in the skin enlarge, increasing blood volume and flow to the skin in order to dissipate heat. In addition, sweat glands secrete a mixture of fluids and electrolytes in order to induce evaporation and cooling. In the attempt to dissipate heat from the interior of the body, an increased volume of blood is pumped through the blood vessels, producing increased cardiac output and heart rate. This is what is called a "passive, cardio-vascular workout". Blood vessels dilate because the body is trying to get rid of it. Heat, like massage, hastens the elimination of wastes and toxins from the body that we all build up and accumulate through day to day living.

As your body warms up in the Soft Heat Sauna, your basal metabolic rate increases about 6% for each degree the body temperature rises. An increased rate of metabolism causes you to bun more calories during your sauna session and for several hours after.

As one continues to sauna, you gradually become "acclimatized" and sweat more and more. Most of us sweat an average of about 1.5 liters per hour. After daily Soft Heat Sauna use for several weeks, one can double the rate of sweating. A "heat conditioned" person can sweat off as much as 3.75 liters per hour! Acclimatization increases cardiac output and diminishes loss of salt in the sweat.

Sweating is a part of the complete thermo-regulatory process of the body involving significant increases in cardiac output, heart rate, and calorie expenditure. In a Soft Heat Sauna, the only means of keeping one’s body temperature in the normal range is by evaporation of sweat, a process that consumes calories-approximately .586 Kcal per gram of water lost.

A moderately heat-conditioned person can easily sweat 500 grams in a Soft Heat Sauna, expending about 300 calories. This is the equivalent energy expenditure of running 2 to 3 miles. A highly heat-conditioned person can sweat off 600 to 800 calories in as Soft Heat Sauna without adverse effects. This is the equivalent of running 3 to 6 miles!

When the body heats up, the hart rate increases to pump blood away from the internal organs to your skin, where the blood is cooled by perspiration and then returned to cool the body core. The accelerated heart rate induced by the Soft Heat Sauna is a form of "workout" for the heart and circulatory system. Heat stresses the body, which goes through physiological changes as a result. Within limits, stress is good. All exercise is, in fact, is a form of stress. If you don’t stress the body, it deteriorates. Scientific research has shown that these saunas’ effect on the cardiovascular system is conducive to good sports training and can serve to complement physical exercise.

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These resources are for the purpose of personal trainer growth and development through Continuing Education which advances the knowledge of fitness professionals. This article is written for NFPT Certified Personal Trainers to receive Continuing Education Credit (CEC). Please contact NFPT at 800.729.6378 or [email protected] with questions or for more information.