If you’ve ever visited a sauna, you know the experience is very relaxing and soothing. But did you know that saunas can actually improve your heart health – and brain health, too?
Numerous studies now point to the fact that sweating in a sauna may be a good way to prevent heart disease, stroke, and dementia.
The study tracking over 2,300 men for over two decades uncovered that men who frequently visited saunas had a 63 percent lower risk of death from stroke and heart attack. These men also had 66 percent fewer cases of Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers suggest that the sauna visit frequency played a definitive role in the benefits experienced.
Using a sauna four times a week for two months, the men saw an improvement in blood pressure, blood flow, and heart function.
Lead author of the study Jari Laukkanen explained, “I think it’s very significant because we have not seen that a lifestyle factor can be so protective against (a) number of cardiovascular diseases.”
Daniel Gagnon, a researcher at the Montreal Heart Institute, added, “The main theory is that really, it resembles exercise. When we get hot, our heart rate increases, our blood vessels dilate or open up in the skin. It’s really that increase in blood flow that is thought to provide the benefits of heat in terms of cardiovascular health.”
Although previous studies have found negative effects associated with sauna use, such as itchy skin in people with skin conditions, the Finnish researchers did not find any adverse side effects.