I am slowly starting to believe that the holy grail of health is stress management and the balance of it. So many of us are living very stressful lifes.
I still remember the times when I started working early in the morning and worked till midnight with only a break for dinner. Even though I was still young, I quite often had a “thing” around my chest.
Not a very healthy situation to be in.
These days I am more aware of stress and realize the effects of having too many meetings, rushing through things or having a bad day. This usually translates into not going to the toilet, managing to over-eat in just 5 minutes, heavy breathing or being unable to sleep.
Strangely enough stress is required in life and is an indicator of longevity. It is called Hormesis. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! Exercise is the best example of a healthy stress factor. But balance is key. Exercising enough will make your body grow through acute stress. If you don’t balance this stress with times of rest and relaxation the stress becomes chronic and can have dendermental effects.
And the same applies to most aspects of life. And since we can’t remove stress and live in a little protective bubble for the rest of our lives it would make sense to incorporate some stress relief practises into our daily/weekly routine.
Saunas are very popular in Northern Europe and for a good reason. Under the dry heat of hot stones tension fades and muscles unwind. Toxins are flushed out and as the blood vessels dilate and the heart rate increases, we control blood pressure and have a mild cardio exercise.
Natural chemicals are released endorphins, reducing mental stress, soothing sore muscles and joints due to increased blood flow and inducing a deeper sleep. Skin is cleansed, and dead cells are replaced—giving you a glowing appearance.
The body’s response to gentle, persistent heat is well documented and proven. I have been experiencing similar effects myself. Better skin, less muscle soreness after an intense workout and having that relaxed “feel-good” feeling from the endorphins being released. I make an effort to go once a week and spend a couple of hours at the “local” sauna and every time I come out a different person.
Another interesting factor is the nude factor. Maybe it’s just me, but the sauna concept was a very strange one when moving to Germany and I was very aware of the nude factor. Stress can come in all shapes and forms and sometimes people have a tendency to create mental barriers and make a big deal out of very little things. Such an environment will help you become comfortable with yourself, being self-confidence and relaxed when amongst others, not making a big deal of appearances and at the end being more in tune with the environment.
There are many other practices to discuss for stress relief, but give Sauna a try. You will not regret it. Stay tuned for more Biohacks!