Finnish scientists: Sauna bathing can reduce risk of hypertension

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It’s time to turn up the heat—scientists in Finland have released evidence that frequent sauna bathing can decrease risk factors for men diagnosed with hypertension.

Study co-author Francesco Zaccardi, MD, and colleagues found that in a study population of 1,621 middle-aged men struggling with high blood pressure, those with the best results after 22 years of follow-up were sauna bathing between four and seven times a week.

Just over 15 percent of men developed clinically defined hypertension during follow-up, the researchers noted in the study, but the risk of developing the condition was reduced by 24 percent in men who used a sauna two to three times a week and nearly 50 percent in men who sauna bathed more frequently.

During sauna bathing, the body’s temperature can rise 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), according to the research, which causes vessel vasodilation. Regular bathing seemed to result in improved endothelial function, healthy sweating and lower systemic blood pressure.

This isn’t Zaccardi and colleagues’ first foray into sauna research, either—the team has also proven that regular sauna bathing can reduce risk of sudden cardiac death, cardiovascular mortality and all-cause mortality.

Interested? Read up on the study here: