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7 Ways Saunas Improve Your Health

7 Ways Saunas Improve Your Health
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By    |   Tuesday, 28 November 2017 01:34 PM

Saunas have been used for thousands of years, for both religious ceremonies and health, in cultures as far apart as Mayan and Finnish.

Saunas are small rooms which provide either moist (Turkish-style) or dry heat (traditional Finnish) and allow the body to sweat deeply. In modern Finland, almost a third of adults enjoy dry saunas on a regular basis.

Today's sauna was brought to America by Scandinavian immigrants, and saunas are becoming ever more popular. They are found in many sports centers and gyms. The sauna's claim of health benefits since ancient times is now being proved by modern science. Claims include:

• High blood pressure. Frequent use of a sauna can help keep you from developing high blood pressure, one of the most important risk factors for heart disease. According to researchers from the University of Eastern Finland, the risk was almost halved in men who had a sauna at least four times a week when compared to those who only had one sauna a week.

The study, which was published recently in the American Journal of Hypertension, involved 1,621 middle-aged Finnish men. Study participants included men without elevated blood pressure, or with diagnosed hypertension (140/90 mmHg or higher) at the beginning of the long-term study.  

During an average follow-up of 22 years, the risk of hypertension was 46 percent lower among men who had a sauna 4-7 times a week, and 24 percent lower among men with a sauna frequency of 2-3 times a week.

• Dementia. A study published in the journal Age and Ageing found that the more volunteers reported using saunas, the lower their risk for dementia. Study participants were divided into three groups — those who used a sauna four to seven times a week, those who used a sauna two to three times a week, and those who only used a sauna once a week.

Researchers found that those who used saunas the most reduced their risk of any form of dementia by 66 percent and the risk of Alzheimer's by 65 percent when compared to those who used a sauna only once a week.

• Longevity. Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland followed 2,300 middle-aged men who used saunas for an average of 20 years, and spent an average of 14 minutes each visit sweating in 175°F heat. During that time, 49 percent of men who used a sauna once a week died, compared to 38 percent who went two to three times a week. But only 31 percent of the men who went four to seven times a week died. The study was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

• Chronic pain. In a study published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, patients with chronic pain had a daily sauna for 14 days. Pain decreased significantly in patients suffering from chronic pain when compared with patients who didn't have saunas, and 77 percent of them returned to work compared to 50 percent in the control group.

• Athletic endurance. Two 30-minute sessions a week for three weeks after a workout increased by 32 percent the amount of time volunteers could run until they were exhausted, according to a study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. In a second study which was published in the European Journal of Sport Science, saunas increased athletes' tolerance to heat — in preparation for desert-based competition — almost as much as exercising in high temperatures.

• High cholesterol. When healthy young male subjects underwent 10 sauna sessions, their total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol decreased significantly during the three-week study. Cholesterol levels gradually returned to normal after discontinuing the sauna sessions. The study, which was published in the International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, noted that the effect was similar to that obtained through moderately intensive exercise.

• Pneumonia. A study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology found that regular sessions in a sauna can cut the risk of developing pneumonia by 27 percent when compared to those who rarely or never used them. Those who had at least four saunas a week cut their risk of the potentially deadly illness by 42 percent. Regular saunas also reduced the risk of asthma and other chest problems.

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Saunas have been used for thousands of years, for both religious ceremonies and health, in cultures as far apart as Mayan and Finnish.Saunas are small rooms which provide either moist (Turkish-style) or dry heat (traditional Finnish) and allow the body to sweat deeply. In...
saunas, improve, health, Finish
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2017-34-28
Tuesday, 28 November 2017 01:34 PM
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