Saunas Lessen Heart Risks
Frequent sauna bathing may reduce the risks of cardiac death, among men.
Previous studies report that sauna bathing improves hemodynamic function, reducing blood pressure and maintaining blood vessel elasticity. Jari Laukkanen, from the University of Eastern Finland (Finland), and colleagues studied data collected on 2,315 men, ages 42 to 60 years, enrolled in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Based on their sauna-taking habits, the study participants were divided into three groups: those taking a sauna once a week, those taking a sauna 2-3 times a week, and those taking a sauna 4-7 times a week. The researchers observed that the more frequently saunas were taken, the less likely were sudden cardiac deaths, deaths due to coronary artery disease and other cardiac events, as well as deaths due to other reasons. Further, the time spent taking a sauna was linked to the risk of cardiac death. Those who spent more than 19 minutes in the sauna at a time were 52% less likely to experience a sudden cardiac death than those spending only 11 minutes in the sauna at a time. The risk of death due to a cardiac event was also otherwise smaller in those spending longer times in the sauna. The study authors submit that: “Increased frequency of sauna bathing is associated with a reduced risk of [sudden cardiac death], [fatal coronary heart disease], [fatal cardiovascular disease], and all-cause mortality.”
Laukkanen T, Khan H, Zaccardi F, Laukkanen JA. “Association Between Sauna Bathing and Fatal Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality Events.” JAMA Intern Med. 2015 Feb 23.