Humans around the world have harnessed the power of sweat for thousands of years.
In Finland, the tradition goes back at least 2000 years. Native American people have used the tradition of the sweat lodge for even longer.
You can find Turkish-style hammams throughout the Islamic world, everywhere from Central Asia all the way to Morocco. Throughout Russia you find Banyas. Ancient Rome is littered with ruins of bathhouses and saunas. There are even remains of ancient bath houses and saunas dating to 2500 BC found in the Indus valley.
This is a very old technology, so why has it stuck around?
Short answer, because it works.
So let’s get deep into the detoxifying power of one of the oldest forms of biohacking: saunas.
Deliberately overheating the body, technically called hyperthermia, creates many beneficial biological changes in the body:
Now let’s take a look at these in a little more detail.
What does your body do when you get sick?
You get a fever. But why?
Because the increase in core temperature kills off pathogens.
The same thing happens in a sauna. Our core temperature rises a few degrees and infectious microbes can’t handle the heat.
Humans are complex organisms with lots of built-in backup systems to help us survive intense heat.
Viruses and bacteria don't have these systems. Faced with hyperthermia, their proteins become misfolded and warped, and the invading microbes die off.
Even if you’re not expressing symptoms of sickness, you almost certainly have viruses and bacteria infecting some area of your body at any given time. It’s just part of being human.
Research into its effects on infection showed that people taking regular saunas experienced 30% fewer flu and cold symptoms . Regular sauna can act as a prophylactic and help keep these minor infections in check.
If you’ve ever seen someone coming out of a sauna, you’ll notice their skin is often flushed. Flushing happens when blood flow to the skin increases.
But it’s not just the skin. It’s everywhere. Saunas open up all the tiny little capillaries in all the peripheral tissues, improving cardiovascular health on every level. Research shows saunas reduce risk of cardiovascular disease 64%, and coronary heart disease 48%. 
The same study showed regular saunas even lowered risk of death overall by 40%.
The only other thing with such a broad range of health benefits is exercise. And interestingly, saunas also increase heart rate up to 60%––remarkably similar effects as exercise. 
When the circulatory system is opened and relaxed, you get more blood flow into your muscles. This means trapped lactic acid and other biochemical toxins that cause soreness and pain get flushed out.
This same process also lets the nutrients in the blood get deeper into the muscle tissue, facilitating faster tissue regeneration and bigger muscle gains.
It’s not just the increased circulation that increases muscle gains.
One study showed that two saunas 30 minutes apart increases the production of growth hormone, a critical hormone for overall health and muscle growth. 
If sweating did nothing else but help you detox, saunas would still be more than worth the time.
The skin is the body’s largest detox organ.
As your body attempts to regulate your temperature by flushing water through the millions of sweat glands covering the body, other impurities get flushed out with it.
Studies show sweat from sauna pushes heavy metals like lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury out of the body . These heavy metals are highly toxic and disturbingly common in our food and water supplies.
Other studies show saunas even eliminate toxins stored in fat tissue, like the notorious BPA .
The most fascinating benefit of saunas occurs at the molecular level.
There is a class of proteins that respond to environmental stress. They are called “Heat Shock Proteins.” They earned that name because when cells in a lab were subjected to “heat shock”, they make these protective proteins.
You can think of the like “emergency care” proteins.
The proteins and enzymes in your body are designed to function within a very narrow temperature range. When the cellular environment gets too hot, proteins become unstable and deformed.
In molecular biology-speak, they become “misfolded”.
Misfolded proteins don’t function, so an overheated cell brings out the “emergency care”: Heat Shock Proteins to the rescue!
These proteins keep the other proteins in line. They help them maintain their structure so the cell can continue to function.
What’s interesting is that heat shock proteins help cells stay resilient to ALL kinds of cellular stress––including psychological stress and inflammation.
By inducing heat shock proteins with a sauna, you train your cells to become more resilient to all stress.
There are many kinds of saunas available today. The biggest distinction is in the method of heating, namely electric heat or infrared.
The major benefits of sauna occur with either method , so don’t sweat the decision too much.
However, infrared saunas do come with a few extra benefits.
Infrared light is experienced as heat. It is a longer wavelength than visible light and this helps it penetrate deeper into your tissues, particularly fat cells.
It stimulates the cells directly, instead of indirectly via the air like conventional heating. This direct stimulation triggers a deeper release of toxins stored in fat, which ultimately carries stronger benefits.
Our bodies are faced with higher toxicity, more intense levels of stress, and less opportunity for recovery than ever before.
To maintain optimal health, we don't just need to look forward to the next supplement or tech-based biohack.
We also need to look back into our past and see what our ancestors did to stay healthy and view their practices through the lens of optimal health biohacks.
Saunas are perhaps the world’s oldest, easiest, and most powerful biohack.
The importance of having a well-functioning and healthy immune system has become increasingly obvious in recent times.
Sadly, everyone seems to have a different answer as to how you should go about strengthening your immune system. When you go to your local health and wellness shop, you might see twenty or thirty products that tout their “immune boosting” powers. An Amazon search reveals thousands of results.
Well, we’re here to tell you about an effective and ancient remedy that has been in use for over two thousand years: the red reishi mushroom.
We’ve all heard about all the negative effects of stress and the modern lifestyle.
We’re all rushing around, overworked, in a constant state of fight-or-flight and it has disastrous effects on our health.
But what if “stress” wasn’t the real problem?
What if our bodies knew exactly how to cope with the intensity of modern life… if we just gave the body what it needed to thrive?
And the key may be one little mineral.
I hope this finds you healthy and able to still get outside (or inside) for a daily run during this trying time of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many of us are grieving several losses including race cancellations. Though it's a bummer, I want you to know that your hard-earned training is far from wasted.
Those miles are in your legs and all kinds of wonderful benefits have occurred including the addition of mitochondria, adding new capillary beds for increased blood flow, and strengthening the heart muscle for future training.
As athletes, it's important for us to be proactive in maintaining a strong immune system. We're not only doing this for our own prevention but also our loved ones that we spend time with.
Read on for 5 tips to consider as you seek to stay healthy.