A new study has found that saunas might hold some health benefits, at least in men.
According to the researchers, the study showed that men who spent seven times a week in a sauna lowered their death risk, especially those linked to heart problems, against those counterparts who visited the sauna once a week.
For the new study, the researchers looked at over 2,000 middle-aged men living in eastern Finland and followed them for a period of about 20 years.
The researchers found that the men who visited sauna more often and also had the longer stay there ended up by lowering their death risk from fatal coronary heart disease, sudden cardiac arrest and fatal cardiovascular disease during the 20 years of study period.
The association between fauna and high death risk was strong even after several potentially interacting factors were taken into consideration, according to senior study author Dr. Jari Laukkanen.
Laukkanen is a cardiologist at the Clinical Nutrition of the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio and the Institute of Public Health.
“There was an inverse relationship between sauna and cardiovascular disease risk, meaning that more is better. On the basis of these results, it seems that more than four sauna sessions per week had the lowest risk, but also those with two to three sauna sessions may get some benefits,” Laukkanen said in an emailed statement.
The researchers surveyed more than 2,000 men with the help of questionnaires to know about their weekly sauna use. Nearly 1,500 men were found using a sauna twice or thrice per week, while 600 participants said they used the sauna only once a week and 200 men said they went to the sauna four to seven days of the week. 12 participants said they not used a sauna at all.
The duration ranged between two and 90 minutes at a given time, while the temperature was ranging from 40 to 100 degrees Celsius (i.e. 104 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit) traditionally humidity at low levels.
In 2011, the researchers studied hospital documents, interviews, autopsy reports and death certificates to analyse when and how the study participants had died.
Following were the findings of the study:
- 190 participants died of sudden cardiac death
- 281 men died of coronary heart disease
- 407 died from cardiovascular disease
- 929 participants died from other causes
The study’s findings were published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.