Nature uses a process called hormesis to make us stronger. It’s a 2-phase response our bodies have to certain stressors, like exercise or fasting, heat or cold, where a little bit of strain creates strength or resilience. When our ancestors were less insulated from the environment, their bodies naturally responded to the challenges. Modern life requires us to recreate opportunities; sauna use is the most efficient and effective way to do that. The benefits of hormesis affect overall wellness, heart health, and immune system boost.
Placing yourself in a sauna at temperatures beyond what is normally comfortable initiates a biological process called “hormesis.” The body responds to just the right amounts of stressors by activating a “defense system.” In his book, The Immunity Fix, Dr. James DiNicolantonio highlights the importance of “hormesis” for humans. It’s the “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” paradox. Hormesis is the idea that the body needs to know how to adapt to extremes, like extreme heat or extreme cold, to be as resilient as we need it to be to fight off colds, flu, and other viruses and infections.
A few examples found in everyday life:
● Weight training - as you lift more weight, you break down muscle to build muscle and be able to lift even more.
● Intermittent fasting - as we introduce a type of stress that is beneficial by teaching your body to power through times of nutritional scarcity.
The right amount of exposure to stress can increase resilience, and lack of exposure to stress can lead to vulnerability. Our environment originally provided naturally occurring opportunities for stress, which is required for health, growth or homeostasis.
We live in a modern world that makes it easy to stay in an air-conditioned or perfectly heated environment, so we don’t experience the same extreme shifts that our ancestors had to cope with. Our desire for comfort also raises some health implications that we need to counterbalance to help our bodies stay healthy. The heat of an infrared sauna makes hormesis an enjoyable way to reap the benefits of hormesis without extreme discomfort.
To learn more about the mental and physical benefits of Sunlighten’s infrared sauna for your health and wellbeing, visit our website or enjoy a range of articles on wellness, the power of detox and post-workout recovery on the Sunlighten blog.
A version of this article was originally published on Sunlighten USA.