Regular Sauna Use can Lower Risk of Death
One of the ways the human body removes toxins from the body is through sweat. Profound sweating is a highly effective way to remove toxins the body might have absorbed in several ways. And, sauna does just that. In the intense heat sessions in sauna, a lot of sweating can be experienced, which helps flushing toxins from the body in a great way. Sitting in a sauna has effects akin to mild exercise. The heart gets a gentle workout while the heat of the sauna dilates the capillaries and improves blood flow. In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 15 minutes in a sauna a day for 14 days improved the function of the endothelial cells lining the arteries by 40 percent. Japanese researchers have also found that sitting in a sauna is particularly helpful for congestive heart failure. After taking daily saunas for four weeks, 13 of 15 patients with serious heart failure had significant decreases in blood pressure and improvements in ejection fraction (a measure of the heart’s pumping ability), exercise tolerance and oxygen uptake.
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that regular sauna use can prevent all cause mortality. Researchers followed more than 2,000 middle-aged men in eastern Finland for about 20 years. Starting in the 1980s, more than 2,000 men filled out questionnaires about their weekly sauna use. About 1,500 men reported using a sauna two or three times per week, 600 said they used the sauna once per week and 200 said they visited the sauna four to seven days of the week. Only 12 men reported not using a sauna at all. Duration ranged from two to 90 minutes at a time, and the temperature ranged from 40 to 100 degrees Celsius, or 104 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, traditionally at low humidity levels. The more often the men went to the sauna, and the longer they stayed, the lower their risk for sudden cardiac death, fatal coronary heart disease and fatal cardiovascular disease over those 20 years. Results from the study reported that compared with men who reported one sauna bathing session per week, the risk of sudden cardiac death was 22 percent lower for 2 to 3 sauna bathing sessions per week and 63 percent lower for 4 to 7 sauna sessions per week. The risk of fatal coronary heart disease events was 23 percent lower for 2 to 3 bathing sessions per week and 48 percent lower for 4 to 7 sauna sessions per week compared to once a week. Sudden cardiovascular death also was 27 percent lower for men who took saunas 2 to 3 times a week and 50 percent lower for men who were in the sauna 4 to 7 times a week compared with men who indulged just once per week. For all-cause mortality, sauna bathing 2 to 3 times per week was associated with a 24 percent lower risk and 4 to 7 times per week with a 40 percent reduction in risk compared to only one sauna session per week. The amount of time spent in the sauna seemed to matter too. Compared with men who spent less than 11 minutes in the sauna, the risk of sudden cardiac death was 7 percent lower for sauna sessions of 11 to 19 minutes and 52 percent less for sessions lasting more than 19 minutes. Similar associations were seen for fatal coronary heart diseases and fatal cardiovascular diseases but not for all-cause mortality events. The researchers found that there was an inverse relationship between sauna and (cardiovascular disease) risk, meaning that more is better. On the basis of these results, it seems that more than four sauna sessions per week had the lowest risk, but also those with two to three sauna sessions may get some benefits.
Tanjaniina Laukkanen, Hassan Khan, Francesco Zaccardi, Jari A. Laukkanen. Association Between Sauna Bathing and Fatal Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality Events. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2015;