Active Recovery

Does Heat Really Make You Extra Flexible?

Sarah Sarway

girl sauna


By Carey Rossi for Prevention

PreventionUncovered! The secret to touching your toes: Stretching in the sauna. The medical community has known for years that deep, penetrating heat can help transform your stiff muscles into bendy rubber bands—and now a new study shows just how incredibly effective it can be.

While any sauna will do, this particular case was made with research performed using a far infrared sauna (think of the ultrasound heat therapy physical therapists use, just without as deep of a penetration into the muscles). Michele Olson, PhD, a principal researcher at the Auburn University Montgomery Kinesiology Laboratory, had 12 volunteers sit in a far infrared sauna for 10-15 minutes, and then do typical stretches, like hamstring stretches, in the sauna. For comparison, the same 12 people also relaxed in a standard gym environment (which is usually 70° F, 50% humidity) for 10-15 minutes, then did the same stretches.

Keep reading to find out what researchers learned about increasing flexibility by using a sauna...

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