The Mayo Clinic Proceedings has published a paper reviewing sauna research — they're as healthful as regular exercise!! The Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the Washington Post reported it, among other news outlets.
Of course, this is no surprise to regular sauna-goers. But what's special is that our own Mayo Clinic has endorsed the practice in a paper, “Cardiovascular and Other Health Benefits of Sauna Bathing: A Review of the Evidence.”
Their conclusion is that sauna bathing may be linked to reducing the risk of:
|Sauna helps people relax.|
- vascular diseases like
- high blood pressure,
- cardiovascular diseases and
- neurocognitive diseases,
- non-vascular conditions such as
- pulmonary diseases,
- amelioration of conditions such as
- headache and
Over the years, physicians and researchers have tested — and documented — a wide variety of health benefits, such as reducing the risk of dementia or high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, allergic rhinitis, chronic fatigue, exposure to methamphetamines or environmentally-induced diseases, depression or rheumatoid arthritis. In previous posts, I've summarized many studies, long range and short, testing men or women, healthy and ill — with proven evidence. The studies may have not been large, but there have been many.
The Mayo Clinic Proceeding publication looked at all studies through February 2018.
- The subjects spent from 5 to 20 minutes in saunas which were heated from 175 to 210 degrees. (That's a considerably shorter time span and hotter temperatures than I recall reading about in other studies.)
- The sauna was followed with a swim, shower or other return to room temperature.
- Exposure to the sauna pumped up the subjects' heart rates to 120 to 150 beats per minute and increased blood flow to the skin similar to moderate exercise.
Several large studies linked sauna bathing to lower blood pressure and decreased artery stiffness. And frequent sauna bathers (4 to 7 times a week) have 60% lower rates of heart disease and stroke than once-a-week-ers.
Which would you rather do — work out or sauna? For me, when it's 8 p.m., that's time to turn on the sauna stove. But it's always even better after a bike ride or ski afternoon.