Finnish researchers found that sauna can have an unexpected long-term benefit on heart health as it can lower blood pressure naturally. The study appeared in the American Journal of Hypertension.
In their research, scientists surveyed 1,621 participants who were followed for 25 years. All participants were middle-aged men at the beginning of the study. During the follow-up period, 251 were diagnosed with high blood pressure.
Researchers found that volunteers who made two to three sauna visits per week were 24 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who visited sauna just once or non-users. What’s more, volunteers who took four to seven sessions per week had a 46 percent lower risk of hypertension.
The research team adjusted the study results for several risk factors that may influence the outcome such as smoking, alcohol use, body weight, heart rate, family history of heart disease, and so on.
Finnish Saunas Beneficial on Many Levels
Researchers underlined that they have found just a statistically significant link between frequent sauna use and healthy blood pressure, not a cause-and-effect association.
The research team couldn’t explain the link entirely but lead author Jari A. Laukkanen, MD, who teaches medicine to students of the University of Eastern Finland, has some theories. He thinks the warmth inside a sauna can boost the flexibility of blood vessels which enables blood to flow unrestrained.
Plus, Finnish saunas alternate the warmth with coolness which relaxes the body and has a positive impact on blood pressure. Moreover, sweating helps eliminate toxins as it acts as a diuretic. Diuretics have been used for decades to treat high blood pressure.
“This is good news. A healthy thing that is pleasant to do, and involves no sacrifice,”
Dr. Laukkanen said in an interview.
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