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What are heat shock proteins and how do they improve wellness?

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Close up on a layer of skin covered with droplets of sweat. Heated environments that cause sweating, like saunas and hot tubs, pertain to the question "What are heat shock proteins?"

At first, it may be surprising to hear yourself ask “What are heat shock proteins?” while browsing saunas and hot tubs. But believe it or not, saunas and hot tubs are two of the most beneficial environments for your molecular biology. When you expose your body to the hot tub and sauna temperatures, heat shock proteins (HSPs) get to work inside your cells, accelerating healing and enhancing your overall wellness.

Research shows that HSPs move in such a way that stimulates a heightened immune response, muscle recovery, insulin production, reduction of free radicals, and a host of other benefits. This is why HSPs figure in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of conditions including cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders. 

At Wellis New England, we look at our selection of hot tubs and saunas as far more than luxurious sensory experiences. Let’s take a closer look at how HSPs awakened in these environments can enhance your health.

What are heat shock proteins? Molecular chaperones.

Research shows that HSPs are present in all living organisms ranging from bacteria to humans. They are nicknamed “molecular chaperones.” What do chaperones do? Make sure everything (or everyone) is in an appropriate place at an appropriate time and behaves in an appropriate way. 

The healthy function of our cells can be disrupted by injury or illness. But when you expose your cells to the heated environment of a sauna or hot tub, HSPs come out into the open in greater quantities than usual. Soon, they are hard at work reorganizing, stabilizing, and revitalizing your cells from the inside out.

Think of them as a road crew called into action when a piece of a street needs repair. HSPs are there putting up the caution tape, directing traffic, and reconstructing the damaged area among the other moving components of the cell. When their job is done, the cell is primed for healthier growth and survival.

Heat shock proteins from a sauna

HSPs emerge when you expose your cells to the type of thermal stress that makes you sweat. This is why saunas are so effective for HSP-supported health benefits. JacuzziⓇ Clearlight Saunas use adjustable infrared heat which penetrates the skin to stimulate therapeutic effects at various tissue levels. 

Depending on the type of infrared heat your sauna produces (e.g., infrared or full spectrum), the benefits you experience range from accelerated skin repair to boosted immunity to improved cardiovascular health. For a more in-depth description of infrared saunas and their benefits, visit our blog Is a Far Infrared or Full Spectrum Sauna Best?

Heat shock proteins from a hot tub

If you prefer an aquatic environment to a sauna, a hot tub is an excellent way to get HSPs working for you. A 2017 study noted that subjects who spent an hour immersed in waist-deep water with a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius (about 104 degrees Fahrenheit) showed an increase in HSP expression ranging from 23 – 39 percent.

You can easily achieve this water temperature in a Wellis hot tub. The key is to check in with your body often and take a break when you feel it’s necessary. If you’re relatively new to hot tub soaking, keep your sessions to fifteen to thirty minutes once or twice a day. Or, lower the temperature a few degrees to lengthen your spa soak. As you become more comfortable, you can extend them in small increments up to 45 minutes. 

How will you make heat shock proteins boost your wellness?

Whether you prefer saunas or hot tubs, the Wellis New England customer care team is ready to introduce you to your new wellness regimen. Contact us today, and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier, more productive you!

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