Saunas will save your life, basically, says science

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Taking a sauna at least twice a week could significantly reduce the risk of infections, including pneumonia. A recent study conducted at the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Bristol found that men who regularly visited saunas were almost 30% less likely to develop pneumonia, while taking a sauna four times a week cut the risk by 40%.

The study, published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, also found that saunas reduced the chances of developing asthma and other chest ailments.

The UK Telegraph reports that the researchers studied a population of 1,935 men aged from 42 to 61, tracking their health over 25 years.

Subjects were asked how often they used a sauna, and researchers tracked how many were admitted to hospital over 25 years for severe asthma attacks, pneumonia, and complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, or COPD.

Three hundred and seventy nine of the men received hospital treatment for respiratory illnesses during the study period. Those who took a sauna two to three times a week were 27% less likely to have done so than men who rarely or never used saunas. And those who took four or more sauna sessions a week were 41% less likely to develop pneumonia.

The Telegraph quotes the researchers as saying, “These findings add to the accumulating knowledge on the beneficial effects of sauna baths on both acute and chronic health conditions. Sauna bathing is an enjoyable and relaxing activity. It has a good safety profile and is well-tolerated by most people.”

This is just more good news on the subject of saunas.

Back in March we reported on research findings from the University of Eastern Finland that men who take frequent saunas have a much lower risk of developing dementia-related illnesses than those who don’t. Men who went to the sauna four to seven times a week were 66% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia, and 65% less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, than those taking a sauna once a week.

More findings from the same study were published recently in the American Journal of Hypertension. These results found that frequent sauna bathing reduces the risk of elevated blood pressure.

According to a media release, the risk of developing elevated blood pressure was nearly 50% lower among men who had a sauna four to seven times a week compared to men who had a sauna only once a week.

The same researchers, led by Jari Laukkanen, have also previously shown that frequent sauna bathing reduces the risk of sudden cardiac death, and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.

This research has all been conducted on middle-aged Finnish men, and more should be done on both sexes as well as on other nationalities and age groups, researchers said.

Saunas are a big part of the national culture in Finland.There are an estimated two million saunas in Finland, for a population of 5.3 million.

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(Image: petejau / 123RF.com)

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