An international group of researchers led by Setor K. Kunutsor, PhD, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, United Kingdom, has just published an article in Neurology stating the benefits of take saunas frequently. As the researchers said in the article, frequent saunas are related to lower risk of stroke.
The author drew a conclusion that “The present study adds to emerging evidence that passive heat therapy such as sauna bathing could improve cardiovascular health and decrease the risk of vascular events.”
They note that sauna bathing has been shown to be associated with positive effects on blood pressure, lipid profiles, arterial stiffness, carotid intima-media thickness, and peripheral vascular resistance. Emerging evidence also suggests that it is linked to a reduced risk for hypertension, dementia, and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.
The study was carried out in a cohort of 1628 middle-aged to elderly (53-74 years) men and women from Eastern Finland. There is a 14.9 years follow-up with the study. The result showed that individuals who took four to seven saunas per week had a 61% reduced risk for stroke, with a hazard ratio of 0.39 (95% confidence interval, 0.18 – 0.83). The mean temperature of the sauna was 75.8°C.
Although sauna is good for your health, you need to begin with caution. During sauna bathing, hypotension, dehydration, arrhythmia, and hemoconcentration can occur, especially after the intake of alcohol, that way the risks far outweigh the benefits. If you feel like trying sauna, you’d begin with a test of heat tolerance, and gradually increase the frequency and intensity.