What if you could sit back and relax while simultaneously reducing your all cause-mortality risk? Yes, your risk of dying from any cause! Well, you can, but there’s a catch. You might get a little heated…
Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio wanted to investigate the relationship between sauna use and the risk of SCD (sudden cardiac death), fatal coronary heart disease and all-cause mortality. They tracked a nice sample size of 2,315 men aged 42 to 60 years old from eastern Finland. The original assessments were conducted between 1984 through 1989.
The results are stunning. During the median (midpoint) checkup of 21 years, there had been 190 SCDs, 281 fatal CHDs, 407 fatal CVDs and 929 deaths from all causes. Here’s where things get interesting. Men who reported using the sauna 2 to 3 times per week had a 22 percent lower risk for SCD than men who reported using the sauna once per week. On average the men who reported using the sauna 2 to 3 times also had a 23 percent lower risk of fatal CHD. More impressively, men who reported using the sauna 4 to 7 times per week had a 48 percent lower risk of fatal CHD compared to once a week users and a 50 lower risk of CVD death.
Dying From Any Cause
The researchers also looked at all-cause mortality, dying from any imaginable cause. Men who reported using the sauna 2-3 times per week was associated with a 24 percent lower risk. Now read carefully, men who reportedly used the sauna 4-7 times per week was associated with a 40 reduced risk of all-cause mortality.
With a 40 percent lower risk of dying, just from sitting in a sauna. If you have access to a sauna, it’s a no-brainer. But, the amount of time you spend in the sauna is also important. The risk of SCD was 52 percent lower for those who spent over 19 minutes in the sauna compared to those who spent less than 11. Similar associations could be seen for fatal CVDs and CHDs but not all-cause mortality. The assessments represent typical sauna sessions with a recommended temperature of 80°C to 100°C.
The bottom line.
Why wouldn’t you want to increase your overall health by hitting the sauna? If you want to live longer and more importantly better, then you should consider sauna bathing.
- Tanjaniina Laukkanen, Setor Kunutsor, Jussi Kauhanen, Jari Antero Laukkanen. Sauna bathing is inversely associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in middle-aged Finnish men. Age and Ageing, December 2016 DOI: 10.1093/ageing/afw212