Medical Studies Link Sauna Use to Wellbeing

Medical Studies Link Sauna Use to Wellbeing by Matt Williamson{3:24 minutes to read} When most people think of a sauna, they think of warmth and relaxation, but saunas as tools for wellness are becoming more and more popular. Below are 5 examples, with scientific backup, of the positive effects that your warm and relaxing sauna can have on your health and wellbeing.

  • Time in Saunas Associated with Reduced Risk of Alzheimer’s & Dementia

A 2016 study from the University of Eastern Finland (analyzing the medical records of 2,315 men over 20 years) found that those who used a sauna 4-7 times a week had a 66% lower risk for dementia and a 65% lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers hypothesized that various physiological mechanisms are likely involved: from sauna bathing reducing inflammation and blood pressure and improving vascular function.

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  • Regular Sauna Use Linked to Improved Heart Function

A small University of Toyama (Japan) study showed that repeated sauna treatments improved exercise tolerance (increasing the heart’s ability to pump blood and boosting the distance that participants could walk in six minutes from 337 meters to 379) in patients with chronic heart failure – in association with improvement in endothelial function.

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  • Benefits of Regular Sauna Use Include Potential for Treatment of Pain

A small Nishi Kyusyu University study (Japan) found that patients with chronic pain that received four weeks of infrared sauna therapy and post-sauna warming (in addition to cognitive behavioral and exercise therapy) reported lower pain scores than those that just experienced the behavioral + exercise programs – suggesting that repeated thermal therapy may be a promising pain treatment method.

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  • Sauna Treatments Show Promise with Hypertension Patients

A small Montreal Heart Institute randomized study found that a single sauna session induced a significant alteration of autonomic cardiovascular control in patients with untreated hypertension, with an increased sympathetic and decreased parasympathetic drive. These alterations were normalized within 15 to 120 minutes after sauna bathing. Additional studies are required to identify long-term effects of chronic sauna bathing on patients with hypertension.

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  • Females with Fibromyalgia Benefitting From Sauna Use

A Kagoshima University (Japan) study found that 3 weeks of sauna therapy combined with underwater exercise significantly improved the pain, symptoms and quality of life of female fibromyalgia patients.

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  • High Temperatures of Sauna Air Show No Ill Effects Towards Symptoms of Common Cold

A Charité University Medical Center (Germany) randomized, single blind control trial (137 participants) concluded that inhaling hot air while in a sauna has no significant impact on overall symptom severity for the common cold.

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Matt Williamson
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“Time in Saunas Reduces Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.” Wellness Institute. Global Wellness Institute, 04 Jan. 2017. Web. 11 Jan. 2017.


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