Is Regular Sauna Use Good For My Heart?
The sauna, a staple of Finnish culture known for its relaxing heat sessions, is gaining attention for more than just its ability to soothe and unwind. Recent research from the University of Eastern Finland suggests that sauna bathing could offer significant heart health benefits, potentially reducing the risk of fatal cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and heart attacks in both men and women. This blog delves into what the research indicates about saunas and heart attack risks, how to use a sauna safely, and the advantages of having a sauna at home.
What Research Says on the Correlation of Saunas and the Risk of Heart Attacks
The study, published in BMC Medicine, utilised data from the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease (KIHD) Study, involving 1,688 participants aged between 53 and 74. The findings were compelling, showing that individuals who frequented saunas experienced a significantly reduced risk of fatal CVD events and all-cause mortality.
Particularly, the group that used saunas four to seven times per week had the lowest risk of CVD-related mortality. The study suggests that the therapeutic benefits of heat, such as lowering blood pressure and enhancing the body's ability to fight infection, contribute to these outcomes.
These results build on earlier research which found that regular sauna use might also benefit those with risk factors for heart disease, like high blood pressure and diabetes. It's worth noting, however, that the specific conditions of Finnish saunas—very hot and dry environments—are unique, and these findings may not directly apply to other types of saunas, such as steam baths or hot tubs.
How to Safely Use a Sauna
While the health benefits of sauna bathing are significant, safety should always be a priority, especially for those with existing heart conditions. Here are some guidelines to ensure a safe and beneficial sauna experience:
- Avoid Alcohol: Do not consume alcohol before or during your sauna session, as it can increase the risk of dehydration and hypotension.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water before entering the sauna and bring water with you to avoid dehydration.
- Be Cautious of Dizziness: The heat can cause dizziness, particularly when standing up. Rise slowly and be aware of your surroundings to prevent falls.
- Consult Your Doctor: If you have a history of heart problems or other cardiovascular diseases, it's crucial to discuss sauna bathing with your healthcare provider before starting.
The Benefits of Having a Sauna at Home
Having a sauna at home extends the convenience of accessing its health benefits and creates an environment conducive to stress reduction. Here are some of the advantages:
- Accessibility: With a sauna at home, you can enjoy the heart health benefits of sauna bathing at your convenience, potentially increasing the frequency of use.
- Stress Reduction: Saunas offer a private retreat where you can relax, meditate, and unwind, promoting mental well-being alongside physical health.
- Social and Family Bonding: Like in Finland, a home sauna can become a place for family and friends to gather, fostering social connections and enhancing the sauna's stress-relieving benefits.
Why the Solo One Infrared Sauna is Perfect for your Home
The Solo One Infrared Sauna is the perfect choice to enjoy the benefits of a sauna at home. It is the size of a regular corner shower cabin and because it is a dry sauna, you could place it in any room. Not just in your bathroom. It is also:
- Cheap to run - electricity costs approximately £0.51 per 60-minute session.
- Easy Assembly - two adults can complete the build in a few hours using basic tools.
- Easy Installation - requires only 1 normal plug socket.
The research from the University of Eastern Finland presents a compelling case for the role of saunas in reducing the risk of heart attacks and promoting overall cardiovascular health. While the unique nature of Finnish sauna culture may not be directly replicable everywhere, the potential health benefits are significant. As with any health-related activity, it's essential to approach sauna use with safety in mind, especially for those with pre-existing heart conditions.
If you're considering incorporating sauna bathing into your routine for its heart health benefits, consulting with a healthcare professional is a wise first step. With the right precautions, sauna bathing can be a safe and enjoyable addition to a heart-healthy lifestyle.