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Sauna Talk

Sauna Talk #082: Emma O'Kelly

Sauna Talk
Sauna Talk

Today on the virtual sauna bench, i’m pleased to bring you Sauna Talk: Emma O’Kelly, author of the new book Sauna: The Power of Deep Heat.

We join Emma from her home in North London. And, we hear from Emma how the idea for this book was seeded through the pandemic. Plus, how the health benefits of sauna helped make the book happen.

In the book, Emma does a great job outlining the reported health benefits of sauna, and we touch upon a few of these during our interview.

You wil be transported to how Emma and photographer Maija Astikainen became fast friends, collaborators, and travel partners through the Nordic regions of Europe.

Sauna: The Power of Deep Heat is shipping starting mid September. Pre orders are available now via Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Editor’s note

During Sauna Talk: Emma O’Kelly, we need to dive deeper into Sauna Brain! What it is and why it’s good, but I forgot where I left my towel and water bottle.

Glenn’s notes

I found myself reaching for a pen many times while reading this new book! So, a few excerpts and notes include:

Health Benefits: Good reasons to roast

Sweat

“Sauna makes us sweat which is a good gym work out for the organs and the blood vessels,” says Hans Hägglund MD, PhD, a medical doctor and professor at Uppsala University in Sweden.

Sauna Detox

We produce about 0.5kg of sweat in a 30-minute
sauna, and while around 97 per cent of this
is water, studies have shown that some toxins
and heavy metals are excreted too, and sweat
does this more effectively than urine.

Good Stress

Hormetic stress is “good stress”. Things like
jumping in a cold pond, or competing in a
marathon, or making a really complicated cake
are examples of good stress.

Temperatures of around 38°C to 40°C stimulate
the immune system

A few other sauna health benefits from our Sauna Talk: Emma O’Kelly

Inflammation

Charles Raison MD, professor of psychiatry
at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA),
is an active proponent of this theory. “Since the
1980s, we have known that depressed people
are hotter and find it harder to sweat,” he says.
Plus, “The pathways that control our ability to cool
off overlap with pathways that regulate our
mood. Body temperature and mood are
directly linked.”

Pain relief

Because blood vessels relax and dilate
in a sauna and blood flow increases to muscles
and joints which can in turn alleviate pain and
stiffness. What’s more, sauna causes levels of
beta-endorphins – important pain relievers – to
rise. So, for those living with pain for which there
is no cure, such as rheumatoid arthritis, regular
sauna sessions can provide immense relief.

Immunity

Because blood vessels relax and dilate
in a sauna and blood flow increases to muscles
and joints which can in turn alleviate pain and
stiffness. What’s more, sauna causes levels of
beta-endorphins – important pain relievers – to
rise. For those living with pain for which there
is no cure, such as rheumatoid arthritis, regular
sauna sessions can provide immense relief.

Blood Pressure

Laukkanen’s seminal study found that those
who took sauna baths four to seven times a
week cut their risk of high blood pressure by
almost half compared to once-a-week sauna
bathers. Why? Well, the most common theory
is that the increase in body temperature during
sauna causes blood vessels to dilate, which can
increase blood flow and improve the function of
the endothelium – the tissue that lines the inside
of blood vessels.


“Nature teaches more than
she preaches. There are no sermons
in stones. It is easier to get a spark
out of a stone than a moral.”
John Burroughs,
The Writings of John Burroughs, 1913

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