From this article I picked several scientifically backed up quotes, very interesting:
"Saunas produce thermal stress. The cardiovascular system responds to thermal stress by increasing heart rate; the resting heart rate can double with a 70-percent increase in cardiac output"
"There is a corresponding acute increase in metabolic rate and O2 consumption, the overall effect being similar to moderate exercise"
"Norepinephrine output increases, while levels of epinephrine and cortisol typically do not, unless cold water immersion is included in the protocol. Plasma levels of growth hormone, beta-endorphins, and prolactin also increase during a sauna session"
"Regular Finnish sauna therapy improved lung function in a group of 12 men from the Netherlands with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).. ..and reported that they did not have to expend as much effort to breathe. Having a Finnish sauna session twice weekly for six months reduced the incidence of the common cold by 50 percent during months 4-6 of the protocol."
The rest of the article shows benefits for "hypertension, congestive heart failure, and for post-myocardial infarction care. Some individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic fatigue, chronic pain, or addictions also find benefit. Existing evidence supports the use of saunas as a component of depuration (purification or cleansing) protocols for environmentally-induced illness."
From my own personal experience I have known that saunas are a very effective way to decrease breathing frequency, especially in combination with cold baths.
Breathing, sleeping, running, meditation, yoga, relaxation
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