Sauna is good for your heart
Sometimes stress and being under pressure feel like someone is squeezing your heart tightly. You feel anxious. These symptoms are often harmless, but that is not always the case. 20 144 people died of cardiovascular diseases in Finland in 2008, and many more have symptoms leading to sick leaves and medical treatment. This is a problem that almost all Western countries have in common. When it comes to heart based problems, the social and economic effects of precautionary acts are considerable.
Cardiologist Jari Laukkanen and his research group have been looking for ways to prevent heart problems in their study at the University of Eastern Finland. What was the medicine they suspected could prevent illnesses and deaths linked to cardiovascular problems?
It has something to do with hot rocks, steam, and heat.
Yes, the answer is sauna. A monitoring study extending over about twenty years revealed that a sudden death caused by a heart attack was up to 63% smaller in men who went to the sauna four to seven times a week, compared to those who only used the sauna once a week.
The reasons why sauna is good for your heart are not yet fully understood. It is thought that the heat of the sauna lowers the blood pressure and maintains flexibility in the veins. Cardiovascular health affects the functioning of the brain, but feelings of relaxation and calmness the sauna provides can also play a role.
Sauna alone does not keep a person healthy. It is important to exercise and to maintain a healthy way of life in general as well. Nevertheless, it is clear that the sauna protects the heart, and it may also prevent the risk of dementia. The study shows that those who use the sauna four to seven times a week are 66% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those using the sauna once a week.
Remember this: to maximize the benefits of sauna, you should enjoy its heat for at least 15 minutes at a time. It is not advised to eat a heavy meal just before the sauna, or to consume large amounts of alcohol. The heat of the sauna should feel pleasant, not burning hot. It is important to stay hydrated by drinking water before, during and after the sauna.