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Sauna bathing linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease

Finnish sauna bathing is an activity characterized by exposure to high environmental temperatures (80°C to 100°C) for a brief period of time, and is done for pleasure, relaxation, and wellness benefits. It’s often said that it can be linked to health benefits as well, but is this true?

A new study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings has found that sauna bathing is linked to a reduced risk of vascular diseases, such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

It is also associated with reduced risk of neurocognitive diseases, nonvascular conditions – such as pulmonary diseases – mental health disorders, and mortality. Beyond these health benefits, results showed that sauna bathing also helped mitigate conditions such as skin diseases, arthritis, headache, and flu.

This research was led by scientists from the University of Jyväskylä, the University of Eastern Finland, and the University of Bristol, and consisted of a comprehensive literature review on the effects of Finnish sauna baths on health outcomes.

They found that the physiological responses that occur as a result of a sauna bath are similar to those produced by moderate- or high-intensity physical activities. The feelings of relaxation and positive effects on mental health associated with sauna sessions may be due to the increased production of circulating levels of hormones such as endorphins.

Ultimately, this study found that sauna bathing has a good safety profile and is even of benefit to patients with stable cardiovascular disease. So if you haven’t tried a Finnish sauna bath yet, what are you waiting for?

By Connor Ertz, Staff Writer

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