We promised some more health related blogs and you know we always deliver! So sit back (or sit forward, we do not judge), tune those eyes in and enjoy our latest blog post dedicated to sauna and longevity, or as we like to say it, Fad Saoil “May you live a long life”.
Excited times lie ahead and we wish to bring you along for the journey, we as much as the next person have been keeping ourselves busy and are very much counting down the days till our sauna can benefit you. Health benefits you say? Let us indulge you.
We all wish to live a long life, a long life and health go hand in hand, health is very important throughout life but many become more aware about it as they get older or maybe the nicer term, wiser. This wisdom could have been the reason you started to partake in exercise such as sea swimming or maybe this wisdom brought you to our sauna, and you would be right as there has been strong evidence to suggest the use of sauna can be of great enhancement to our health.
If you didn’t know saunas have been around for thousands of years, originating in Finland and to this day can be found in almost every Finnish house. For centuries there has been anecdotal evidence for saunas being healthy but Australian researchers highlighted that sauna doesn’t appear to be widely recognised for its health benefits for people.
Luckily for us we have the capability to alter this perspective, highlighted not only in the anecdotal evidence but also the increasing scientific evidence for sauna use as a beneficial health intervention for a number of chronic health conditions.
We want to help our community to live a long and healthy life through the power of sauna. Sauna can help improve longevity in several ways which we will cover in this post, all that is needed is for you to sit in a hot box for a minimum of 20 minutes a few times a week and let your body do the rest.
A Finnish perspective cohort study on sauna bathing on cardiovascular disease and overall effect on longevity. The study found that the higher frequency and duration of sauna bathing was associated with lower sudden cardiac death in middle-aged to elderly males and females. Those who used sauna 2-3 times a week had a 22% lower sudden cardiac death rate in comparison to those who used the sauna once a week. Those who used sauna 4-7 times a week had a 63% lower sudden cardiac death rate when compared to those who used sauna once a week. In terms of duration those who spent at least 19 minutes in the sauna had a 50% reduction in sudden cardiac death, compared to those who spent only 11 minutes had a 7% reduction in sudden cardiac death. In addition to sudden cardiac death there was also a similar trend in reduced risk of cardiovascular disease mortality through increased sauna use. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Ireland, we can help bring those numbers down through our sauna.
Another Finnish prospective cohort study has shown results of reduced risk of stroke with use of sauna, similar to the previous study on cardiovascular disease, the higher the frequency and duration of sauna bathing increased the reduction of risk of stroke.
And another Finnish prospective cohort study has shown results of reduced risk of high blood pressure with use of sauna, and again there was a dose dependent effect, the higher frequency and duration had the best and most robust effects.
Aaannnnddd another Finnish study (we love the Finnish) has shown just one 30-minute sauna session to lower heart rate after sauna, increased parasympathetic activity, and increased heart rate variability which basically means the heart has a better capacity to respond under stressful conditions.
The reason behind these health benefits are due to the body’s physiological response to heat, there is a lot of overlap between the physiological responses to moderate exercise and sitting in a sauna, the similarities are incredible between them. Everyone knows how important and great exercise is for living a long and healthy life (get your 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise in a week!), now you can see how important sauna can be for living a long and healthy life. This does not mean substituting but instead combining the two can reap amazing benefits for your health 😊.
As mentioned in our blog “Embrace the Unknown” (well worth a read 😉), sauna use has shown to reduce risk of age related diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, this benefit could be down to heat shock proteins present in our body.
Long story short these heat shock proteins are essential for maintaining the 3-D shape of proteins within the body for the cell to function properly, they are also essential in preventing protein aggregation which has shown to play a role in nerve degenerative diseases, as well as slowing muscle atrophy which can be essential for those immobilised for a period. Heat shock proteins play a role in human longevity and can be increased in response to heat stress such as our sauna 😊.
Our final point on longevity is that many studies have indicated that inflammation plays a major role in the aging process and also in age-related diseases, and we have another beautiful Finnish study to finish off this paper showing sauna use can reduce inflammation, just another way to impress your friends with your age defying looks!
So to wrap up, sauna can be a great way to enhance longevity, just once a week can make a considerable impact on improving your health but as the evidence suggests the higher the frequency and duration leads to the best and most robust results. We will be back soon enough to help you with your sauna adventures, until then, Fad Saoil!
Ketelhut, S. and Ketelhut, R. (2019) 'The blood pressure and heart rate during sauna bath correspond to cardiac responses during submaximal dynamic exercise', Complementary therapies in medicine, 44, pp. 218-222.
Kunutsor, S. K., et al. (2018) 'Sauna bathing reduces the risk of stroke in Finnish men and women: a prospective cohort study', Neurology, 90(22), pp. e1937-e1944.
Laukkanen, J. A. and Laukkanen, T. (2018) 'Sauna bathing and systemic inflammation', European journal of epidemiology, 33(3), pp. 351-353.
Laukkanen, T., et al. (2015) 'Association between sauna bathing and fatal cardiovascular and all-cause mortality events', JAMA internal medicine, 175(4), pp. 542-548.
Laukkanen, T., et al. (2017) 'Sauna bathing is inversely associated with dementia and Alzheimer's disease in middle-aged Finnish men', Age and Ageing, 46(2), pp. 245-249.
Laukkanen, T., et al. (2018) 'Sauna bathing is associated with reduced cardiovascular mortality and improves risk prediction in men and women: a prospective cohort study', BMC medicine, 16(1), pp. 219.
Laukkanen, T., et al. (2019) 'Recovery from sauna bathing favorably modulates cardiac autonomic nervous system', Complementary therapies in medicine, 45, pp. 190-197.
Zaccardi, F., et al. (2017) 'Sauna bathing and incident hypertension: a prospective cohort study', American journal of hypertension, 30(11), pp. 1120-1125.