Saunas can make you live longer, especially if you’re a middle-aged man. That’s the finding of scientists who have figured out that the dry heat of a sauna can prolong life for gentlemen in their middle years.
Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland have found that taking a regular sauna can reduce the risk of a heart attack for middle-aged men by up to 63 percent.
While the authors of the study conceded uncertainty about what precisely drives the heart’s health boost from saunas, they have claimed a definitive link to cardiovascular health.
Dr Jari Laukkanen, publisher of the research in the journal Jama Internal Medicine, commented.
“Further studies are warranted to establish the potential mechanism that links sauna bathing and cardiovascular health.”
Taking part in the sauna study were 2,315 men between the ages of 42 and 60 from eastern Finland. They were monitored over 21 years, and regular users of saunas seemed to have been protected from heart problems.
Risk of cardiac death was said to be 22 percent lower for men who took two to three sauna sessions per week, and 63 percent lower for those visiting a sauna four to seven times a week.
You might suggest that anyone going to a sauna that often is likely to be a pretty relaxed person.
But a similar trend was observed for coronary heart disease. Two to three sauna sessions reduced the risk of death by 23 percent and four to seven sessions by 48 percent. Meanwhile, cardiovascular disease death rates were reduced by 27 percent when men made two to three visits and by 50 percent when they made four to seven.
Described by the Finns as a ‘poor man’s pharmacy’ (although you might ask what poor man takes a regular sauna, at least outside of Finland) saunas have been a big hit in the country for thousands of years.
It’s said that early settlers dug holes in the ground before filling them with hot stones and sprinkling them with water. This produced a steam known as a ‘loyly.’ Each sauna it was claimed had its own unique ‘loyly.’
“If a sick person is not cured by tar, spirits or sauna, then they will die.”
The Finnish proverb above indicates the Finns have always been into saunas in a pretty big way, and were perhaps keen to find a link, which supported the high esteem in which they are clearly held.
But it’s always sensible to offer balance to these scientific reports. Having a sauna did not appear to encourage the longevity of a Miami man, found burnt to a crispy death inside his unit at Eden Isles condos last month.
[Image – Rex]