A new study, led by Dr Jari A. Laukkanen, has greatly enhanced the appeal of sauna bathing. According to its findings which were published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, the relaxing experience could help decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. You might want to indulge into this method of detoxifying the body more often now.
Previous studies have suggested that sauna bathing has positive effects on blood circulation, enhancing the health of the heart. But, Dr Laukkanen claims that very few of these research works focus on the link between the long-term use of sauna and the risk of sudden cardiac arrest, fatal coronary heart disease (CHD), fatal cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality. He thus set out with his colleagues to determine the association, if any.
2 315 men from the Finnish Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study were assessed for the possible link. The age group chosen included men from 42 years old to 60 years old. The participants filled in a questionnaire to gather data concerning the frequency they used a sauna per week, the duration of each session, and the average temperature that was set.
It was found that, compared to men who used a sauna only once a week, those having 2 to 3 sessions per week were 22 % less likely to have sudden cardiac death, had a 23% lower risk of experiencing fatal CHD, and were 27 % less likely to die of CVD, and had a 24% lower risk of all-cause mortality
The men who had 4 to 7 sauna baths per week had even lower risks of developing the diseases (as opposed to those who had it just once a week):-
- 63 % less risk of sudden cardiac death
- 48% lower risk of CHD death
- 50% lower risk of CVD death
- 40% less likely to die from all causes
Furthermore, the duration of the sessions also seemed to have considerable effects.
Compared with men who spent less than 11 minutes in a sauna, those who had around 11 to 19 minutes in one were 7 % less likely to experience sudden cardiac death
Men having sauna sessions lasting for more than 19 minutes had a 52 % lower risk.
The authors said in a statement:
“This study provides prospective evidence that sauna bathing is a protective factor against the risk of sudden cardiac death, fatal CHD, fatal CVD and all-cause mortality events in the general male population.
Our results suggest that sauna bathing is a recommendable health habit, although further studies are needed to confirm our results in different population settings.”
The study has its limitations though. Data about women was not gleaned. Further research would ideally focus on this. The authors added that the results should be replicated for populations not used to having sauna baths.
Also, the research did not delve into the reason behind the apparent benefits of sauna baths. Sauna bathing might be beneficial because they have the potential of increasing the heart rate in a manner comparable to low and moderate exercise, which are good for the health of the heart.