Sauna bathing alleviates symptoms of depression

Heat provides wellbeing. Whether we spend time soaking up the sun on the beach, taking a warm bath or relaxing in the sauna, the result is often a lingering feeling of relaxation and satisfaction. Now research has found that regular sauna bathing actually has measurable positive effects on serotonin levels in our blood. Serotonin is the ”happiness hormone” and it affects our mood and behaviour.

Stress-related diseases, mental health and depression fatigue are major and growing problems affecting both individuals and societies. As the prescription of antidepressants increases so does our interest in alternative ways to affect our health and mood. The link between heat and health has been highlighted in several different contexts in recent years. A researcher at the University of Colorado, Christopher Lowry, is among those who has made groundbreaking discoveries about the relationship between an elevated body temperature and wellbeing.

- We are accustomed to associate warmth with a feeling of pleasure. Intuitively, we know that we thrive on heat, and that has been the point of departure for our research, he says to the journal Colorado Arts and Sciences.

In his research, Lowry identified a specific group of neurons in the brain that are sensitive to heat. When body temperature rises these neurons release a greater amount of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects how we feel and how we behave. Almost all depressants work by affecting the serotonin system.

- I love when science can take on things we all recognize and can relate to, and then explain the causal relationships, Laury says to Colorado Arts and Sciences.

Further studies will be needed to identify exactly what happens in the body when the temperature rises, but Lowry's research team have their ideas.

– It is likely that there is a relationship between the system activated when the body tries to cool itself down and the feeling of relaxation and pleasure, he says.

Lowry states that although it remains to be studied more in depth, there is a very clear link between temperature and how we feel. When we are depressed persons, we tend to feel cold and it is common that antidepressant drugs cause sweating as a side effect. It is also known that exercise is mood-enhancing, something that Lowry believes partly may be linked to the increased body temperature resulting from physical exertion.

Do you suffer from mild depression, spring fatigue or do you have trouble relaxing? Having a sauna at home makes it easy to integrate heat and relaxation as a beneficial part of your daily routine. Weather you are into high temperatures in a traditional, dry sauna or you prefer a softer and more steamy experience, Tylö can provide you with the heater and sauna room that you need.

Welcome to a world of warmth!