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Can Spending More Time in the Sauna Save Your Life?

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Saunas are globally known for their relaxing attributes. The bath facilitates sweating and provides a soothing sensation to stiff muscles. It improves joint movements and acts as a painkiller. Detailed studies have further elaborated the health benefits of saunas with some exceptional fringes.

The Finnish term sauna means “bathhouse.” The history leads back to the ancient Mayans, about 3,000 years ago. The Mayans built sweat houses to enhance sweating. However, the first saunas built in Africa were constructed to eradicate infectious disease via boosting up the sweating mechanism. Later, Greek, Roman, and even Turkish baths became popular for their detoxifying bathing systems.

The health benefits of saunas are getting hype with every new research. Regular sauna visits seem to protect against early deaths from any cause. It lowers the risk of untimely deaths by 40 percent for those who attend sauna at least once daily. Current research has also confirmed that a regular sauna can preserve muscle mass.

One ongoing study (the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study) involved more than 2,300 middle-aged men from eastern Finland who were tracked for an average of 20 years. Researchers cited the reduced risk of sudden cardiac death, fatal coronary heart disease, fatal cardiovascular disease (CVD), and all-cause mortality in sauna users. This is a dose-dependent result. In fact, for men who took one sauna daily, their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease was 50 percent lower than compared with men who took one sauna a week.

The research, from the University of Eastern Finland at Kuopio, is reported online in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. The study is led by Dr. Jari Laukkanen,

The physiological response to moderate- to high-intensity cardiovascular workouts like swimming, cycling, or running is equivalent to Sauna bathing at a temperature of 113-212 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity of 10-30% mimics.

The high heat from the bath raises the surface temperature of the skin. This results in increased heart rate (100-150 beats a minute. This sauna bathing mechanism could reduce the risk of high blood pressure. It also improves the functions of the heart and blood vessels and relaxes blood flow. It also exerts a positive effect on the autonomic nervous system.

Dr. Rita Redberg, from the University of California at San Francisco, said:” Although we do not know why the men who took saunas more frequently had greater longevity (whether it is the time spent in the hot room, the relaxation time, the leisure of a life that allows for more relaxation time, or the camaraderie of the sauna), clearly time spent in the sauna is time well spent.’

However, there are some critical opinions about using saunas. Especially it is not recommended for elderly people, pregnant ladies, and people with a history of heat intolerance.