Taking frequent saunas is correlated with a lower risk of stroke, according to a study published in the new online issue of Neurology.
These new findings add to the evidence that saunas are practically magic. Recent discoveries have also been made that saunas dramatically decrease the risk of hypertension, heart disease, Alzheimer’s dementia, and all-cause mortality. Those earlier findings all resulted from research led by Jari Laukkanen at the University of Eastern Finland.
This more recent research also involved Laukkanen, but differs because the previous study involved only male subjects, and this one also included women.
The study was conducted in Finland, where there are an estimated two million saunas for a population of 5.3 million. Or about one sauna for everyone two and a half people.
The study involved 1,628 men and woman with an average age of 63 and no history of stroke. Participants filled out questionnaires about how often they took saunas. The surveys also asked about other factors that might affect stroke risk, such as physical activity, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, and alcohol use.
Subjects were followed for an average of 15 years during which 155 people had a stroke.
According to the media release, those who took a sauna four to seven times a week were 60 percent less likely to have a stroke than people who took only one sauna per week. The results were the same after researchers adjusted for the other factors that could affect risk.
“These results are exciting because they suggest that this activity that people use for relaxation and pleasure may also have beneficial effects on your vascular health,” said study author Setor K. Kunutsor, PhD, of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. “Sauna bathing is a safe activity for most healthy people and even people with stable heart problems. More research is needed to confirm this finding and to understand the ways that saunas affect stroke risk.”
The study is observational, and only shows a correlation, not a cause-and-effect relationship between sauna use and lower stroke risk.
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