At Banya No.1, we often get asked by our customers about the benefits of the banya on your body, and, particularly, in relation to women’s health.
There are many health benefits to using Russian banya with many of these benefits applying to both women and men, so it is worth taking a look at those first of all.
We will take a quick tour of the health benefits of Russian saunas, and cover:
After this, we will then devote the rest of the article specifically to women’s health and how that may or may not affect their banya experience.
Here, we will examine:
It is worth clarifying an obvious factor at this point: women’s bodies are different to men’s, and this is simply a fact that we cannot ignore. Whilst there have been many studies on the health benefits of saunas generally, and quite a few that have looked at the benefits on men’s health, there have been relatively few studies on the effects and health benefits of saunas on women’s bodies.
But the banya and women’s health are important to understand to get the most of the many health benefits, so while it is true that more research would be helpful, we can nevertheless take the research of the general studies and combine them with what we understand about female physiology to draw several useful conclusions.
The general health benefits of the Russian sauna are well-known and documented.
Regular use of the banya improves the overall functioning of the human body. Combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, it can really help you achieve your health goals.
First and foremost, the banya experience is great for boosting the immune system, as it helps to build immunity and fight infection. As you move from the steam room to the plunge pool or ice buckets, the sudden temperature drop causes the immune system to flood the body with white blood cells, which boost immunity and fight off potential illness.
Along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, regular use of a Russian banya can help anyone maintain and improve their general well-being and fitness.
Heat treatment in saunas and steam rooms works wonders to reduce inflammation in the body and can offer great pain relief. Part of this is due to the heat of the banya on the body, but this is also boosted by the release of endorphins that occur during the banya experience (the body’s natural pain relief mechanism).
The treatment can also help your workout recovery, as banya promotes recovery after exercise.
As you work out, lactic acid builds up in the muscle tissue, especially with an intense training session, and this build-up can take time to flush out of the system. Usually, this results in a few days of stiffness or sore muscles, but a session in a Russian banya will speed up the detoxification process and help your body remove the lactic acid much faster. The result is faster muscle recovery and less pain.
We have discussed this in greater detail in our article about how banya promotes recovery after exercise.
The heat from the steam room in a Russian banya stimulates the receptors of the upper airways in our bodies. At the same time, the steam itself influences the respiratory system by improving the function of the lung tissues as well as affecting overall lung capacity.
What does this mean? Well, simply put, it helps you breathe more easily and increases the amount of oxygen being carried around your body and delivered to your cells.
Also, the heat from the steam clears the airways and relaxes the breathing muscles, and that means you will find yourself breathing deeper and easier.
Stress is a state of worry and mental tension – and we all suffer from it at times; in modern life, it is practically impossible to avoid all stress, but stress relief is important if we are to maintain better mental health.
Russian banya has many mental health benefits. We have already mentioned above the release of endorphins that occurs during a banya experience. These happy hormones get released as a result of the healthy physical stress your body experiences in the sauna. The heart rate rises, delivering more blood to your cells, which therefore get flooded with oxygen.
This is the same effect as partaking in physical exercise, which also stimulates endorphin release; in both cases, the result is a mood lift that also has a positive effect on those suffering from depression.
The use of a Russian sauna or banya also helps people with relaxation and sleep regulation, aiding them to work the stress out of their lives.
Again, we have already taken a closer look at how banya helps you beat stress and anxiety, so be sure to check out that article when you have finished reading this.
There is no doubt at all that the banya experience leads to better mental health.
When it comes to women’s fitness, there are specific health benefits and effects of the Russian banya that are additional to everything that we have already discussed above.
Here, we will break down these benefits a little more, to give you an idea of the banya and women’s health and how you can make the most of your next banya experience.
Women’s fitness and their approach to health should not be the same as men’s.
As we have already seen, Russian banya is great for the body! But it is also particularly beneficial in helping women reach their health goals.
For example, sauna sessions have been shown in a study to actually increase women’s levels of HGH (human growth hormone), a hormone that sometimes needs to be replaced via medical intervention. One of the effects of this increase in HGH is that it aids women’s bodies to break down fats and build muscle tissue.
This can obviously be an added bonus for women’s muscle recovery after exercise.
And while here at Banya No.1 we would never suggest that a Russian sauna alone can help you lose weight, regular visits to the banya, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, is a great way to maximise your chances of achieving your health goals.
We discussed above that Russian saunas can influence the production of beneficial hormones, such as endorphins. These are not only natural pain relievers but are also great mood lifters.
Female hormones are prone to fluctuating levels, and during menopause and perimenopause, which can cause women a number of physical as well as emotional experiences.
The release of endorphins from a sauna can help some women enormously with these fluctuations and their ongoing effects, not only due to the mood-lifting properties but also by providing extra pain relief (which can help with menstrual cramps and other symptoms of menopause).
The hormonal changes that can be triggered by menopause can also lead to the build-up of fat in the body and, as we have already seen, the breakdown of these fats can be aided by regular steam room use.
For many women who may be approaching menopause and perimenopause, but still experiencing the hormonal cycle, it can be beneficial to keep the cycle in mind when planning their fitness regime.
Generally, the advice for women’s fitness is for the regime to be cycle-based, and this applies to sauna sessions too.
In the banya, this may mean going easier on your body during the second half of the menstrual cycle and working the body a little harder during the first half.
What does this mean? Simply, the first two weeks of your hormonal cycle is the time for more intense banya sessions, maximising the contrasts between the hot steam room and the cold ice buckets and plunge pool.
For the second two weeks, go a little easier on yourself – after the sauna, avoid the coldest water and cool down instead with a lukewarm shower.
Also bear in mind that during the second two weeks, your body temperature is likely already be higher, so you may want to shorten your time in the steam room a little, and spend more time cooling and relaxing. In the first two weeks, when your natural body temperature is lower, this allows for more time in the steam room as you will be able to sustain it for longer (followed by a plunge).
Women’s health is of the utmost importance and does need to be addressed differently from men’s.
At Banya No.1 the health of all our customers comes first, so it is important to add to the above by reminding you that we are not able to give medical advice on specific conditions.
If you do have any medical concerns – especially pregnancy – then please ensure that you consult your GP before embarking on a Russian banya session.
That aside, we hope that you can see that there are many health benefits of Russian banya. If you already visit us regularly, then you will already be experiencing and enjoying them.
If you are new to the banya experience, then we hope that this has helped you understand a little more how it can have a positive effect on women’s bodies and that you will come along and enjoy all the health benefits for yourself.