Sauna Health Benefits: Increased Lifespan for Frequent Sauna Users New Study Shows
Heat is heart healthy. Study shows frequent, longer sauna sessions have unexpected health benefits.
Men who take regular saunas have up to a 63% lower risk of dying of as a result of heart problems, a new study of the benefits of saunas finds.
Whether it’s because saunas are relaxing in themselves or because they are a sign of a leisured life, the study finds a strong link.
A 20-year study in Finland suggests that frequent leisurely sauna sessions can reduce deaths from heart attacks (SCD), coronary heart disease (CHD), cardiovascular disease (CVD), and other conditions. The results were published on line on Feb. 23 in JAMA Internal Medicine, a journal of the American Medical Association.
The researchers, Tanjaniina Laukkanen, Dr. Hassan Khan, Dr. Francesco Zaccardi, and Dr. Jari A. Laukkanen, worked with a group of 2,315 Finnish men between ages 42 and 60 who were identified in a baseline study in the 1980s. They were in groups that sauna bathed once a week, two or three times a week, and four to seven times a week. At the time of the followup, 929 had died – including nearly half of the infrequent users, less than 40% of the moderate users, and only 30.8% of the frequent users. The results were similar after adjusting for other health factors.
Groups of people who stayed longer in the sauna – more than 19 minutes a session – also had fewer heart-related deaths than groups who stayed for less than 11 minutes or 11-19 minutes. Earlier research has shown sauna benefits for blood vessel function, exercise capacity, and blood pressure.
“Increased frequency of sauna bathing is associated with a reduced risk of heart attacks, coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease , and all-cause mortality,” the researchers wrote. “Further studies are warranted to establish the potential mechanism that links sauna bathing and cardiovascular health.”
Dr Rita F. Redberg, editor-in-chief of JAMA Internal Medicine, said: “Although we do not know why the men who took saunas more frequently had greater longevity (whether it is the time spent in the hot room, the relaxation time, the leisure of a life that allows for more relaxation time or the camaraderie of the sauna), clearly time spent in the sauna is time well spent.”
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