Does it matter how we sweat?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by Syzygys, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Sauna supposed to be good for health. But just for comparison, does it really matter how we achieve sweating? Let's say:

    1. By running.
    2. By sitting in a car/room without AC in the summer heat.
    3. In a sauna.

    Is there any physiological difference between these methods? People could save lots of money just by not having AC, instead of buying a sauna...

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  3. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    You could also have yourself thrown into a swamp full of crocodiles.
    You'd sweat like hell in there.
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  5. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Thank you for the enlightening response. Since nobody else cared, I have to value your completely worthless post as a good one...
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  7. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    Only benefit I've ever experienced from a sauna is how good it feels to get out of the damn thing.
  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Obviously, as my gross example with being thrown into a swamp of crocodiles clearly illustrates, there is a difference in how we come to sweat.

    If sweating is due to anxiety or stress, in the long term, this leads to physiological damage to the adrenaline/cortisol system and other problems related to that.

    Achieving a good pshysiological and psychological condition so that one is less troubled by low or high temperatures is feasible.

    But for someone who is used to AC to suddenly have to cope with being in overheated rooms is likely going to be stressful to the person and have negative effects on them.
  9. Emil Valued Senior Member

    I think that is a major difference between the various modes to sweat! :shake:
  10. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    None of my 3 examples (running,sauna, hot place) were stress related. So care to come up with a theory when comparing those???

    Sure I can see that stress related sweating can be not good/desirable, but when we are just talking about the body controlling its temperature, thus sweating, what is the real difference (if any)???
  11. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    Sweating for the sake of sweating isn't associated with any health benefits. Saunas do have certain health benefits, but it's the effect of the heat on the body internally, not the external sweating, that has those effects.

    Sweat does carry away trace amounts of toxins, but its too small to have a measurable impact on overall health. (In fact, if you dehydrate yourself, you can interfere with the functioning of your kidneys, which actually do filter toxic substances in the body.) The purpose of seat is only to reduce body temperature.

    The methods by which you heat the body can have different effects, because a number of the health benefits of saunas come from the extreme degree of heating. So there is a difference between being in a 140 degree sauna for 15 minutes or a 100 degree non-air conditioned home for an hour. Those differences also have a big impact on the risks as well, as there are risks for certain people or those who use saunas to excess.
  12. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    How so? If you sweat out the same amount, let's say 1 lb of water in the process, can you describe the differences??? Now I could see that when exercising, the cardio is good for the heart as compared to just sitting in the heat, but I am more interested in other pgysiological differences, if there is actually any...

    Honestly I don't really see what the difference between those 3 described methods of sweating. As you said, it is just body temperature control....
  13. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    That would depend on the individual.

    For example, if you make a fat couch potato run, he will sweat, but it will all be very stressful for him.

    Earlier, I gave the example of someone who is not used to being in hot places without AC.

    You are failing to consider the individuality of people.

    Someone who freely - and gladly - places themselves in various situations where they sweat is likely not going to be particularly stressed.

    But someone who is forced or goes along begrudgingly, will experience stress, and all the negative effects related to it.

    For example, many people who go to the gym do so out of a sense of self- or social compulsion. Which is why their exercising doesn't bring the desired results, they become even more resentful, and down the vicious spiral it goes.
  14. keith1 Guest

    Sauna--heat opens the skin pores and sweat removes dirt/toxins through these pores.
    Steam heat allows a higher level of tolerance to greater temperatures of heat,
    increasing the amount of time one can remain in the sauna, and the steam adds
    a cleansing feeling to the lungs.
    Wet towels and buckets of cold water are applied to accomplish a "quick closing"
    of skin pores/ducting, increasing the expelling or "spitting out" of more debris from
    the skin.
    This action, along with the heart invigoration of the cold water (some sauna users
    leap out into the snow) has a noticeable toning effect on the entire body.

    These processes may or may not have been studied in depth, to bolster any beneficial
    claims to better health or life extension. This was not the attempt of this post.
    One should not expect to achieve the comparable aerobic result that running, jogging,
    or of other physical endeavors.
  15. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    Again, it's not the sweat heat causes many direct effects on the body other than sweat. For example, heat causes vasodilation and short intense periods of heat affect the body differently in that regard than longer, lower intensity periods. One of the reasons sweat does play a role is that sweat is far more effective at dealing with longish duration, but lower intensity heat, and can be overwhelmed at higher temperature (but that's why a sauna must be a short duration thing...because you will dehydrate and suffer hyperthermia more easily).

    The same thing would be true for animals that *don't* sweat, like dogs. The heat can still cause physical effects on the body (including vasodilation).

    It's simply not the case that saunas are good to "detoxify" the body, through sweat. While sweat contains small (insignificant) amounts of toxins, it's the liver and kidneys that detox the body, not the skin and not the sweat glands, and not sweating. Sweat is there to try to cool you off. See for example,, which says:

    If you are hot, sweating is good. If you seek any other health benefit, sweating is not directly relevant. If you get into a sauna to achieve some health benefit, the heat is what gives it to you, not the sweating (if you didn't sweat at all, you'd generally get the same benefit, but faster, because you'd heat faster...and the risk of hyperthermia would be greatly heightened). The health benefits you seek though, really come from the direct application of the heat, not from the fact of your sweating.
  16. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    OK, we are talking about these people. What is the difference between their sweating???
  17. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    I was afraid someone would be like this, being prosauna, and offtopic....

    By the way we could examine the health benefit of saunas, and those are questionable. I mean people feel good in it or after it, but medically speaking, we can't really point out why. I feel good after jogging on the treadmill for 20 mins.

    Also as a personal experience, I started to jog first then use our sauna, so I am already sweating when I enter the sauna, so it just needs to maintain my preheated condition.
    Then I realized, I might don't even need the sauna, I just jog a little more...

    Our sauna is infrared, no steam. So again, what is the difference between the way how we achieve sweating?? Why is an infrared sauna better than just sitting in a hot car in the summertime??? You sweat the same amount in the same time, for the sake of the question....

    On a treadmill at least you get a cardio exercise, unlike sitting in the sauna. But again, we are talking about the sweating, not the exercising.....
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
  18. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    So your bottomline is that there is NO difference in how we sweat, did I get it right? The additional things, like getting heat or exercise have effects, but not sweating itself....
  19. keith1 Guest

    That sucks. You might as well sit in a hot car.
    Definitely the "decaff" of sauna experiences. You really need to get some volcanic stones to heat up and pour water on.
    Infrared lamps are for sore muscles and loosening chest phlegm.
  20. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Well, that is the point of this thread. Now I did notice pain reduction in my back, so that might be worth it, even if it is just a placebo effect.
    I guess during the winter when people don't like to do sweating exercises outdoors, it is more comfy to sit in the sauna.

    About the health benefits of sweating I read this and that, personally I think this is just temperature regulation of the body...
  21. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    Yes, that's right. Sweating is something that happens while we are hot, whether from environmental conditions or caused by exercise, but it does not in and of itself confer any significant health benefits I am aware of. One exception: it keeps us cool, and that is a very real benefit (which allows us to exercise longer than we'd be able to otherwise).

    One can say, by way of analogy, that we usually wear lighter clothing when we are hot...but wearing shorts and a t-shirt (rather than heavy clothing) does not have any direct health benefits other than helping to keep us cool, and we don't go into saunas for the purpose of wearing lighter (or no) clothing.

    That's not to say saunas don't have an effect on the body, they do (as I understand it). The heat causes muscles to relax and tissues to expand.

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