Visiting a sauna regularly can work wonders on your body, apart from the obvious relaxation and stress relief. A new study, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, says that sauna visits can reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
The study, conducted in Finland, surveyed 1621 middle-aged men. The men, who had normal blood pressure to begin with, were observed for 25 years, during which 251 of them developed hypertension.
Men who go for a single sauna session per week are 46 percent more likely to develop hypertension than the ones who visit the sauna at least four times a week. Dr. Jari Laukkanen, a professor of medicine at the University of Eastern Finland and the lead author of the study, has suggested the ideal temperature and humidity of the sauna. According to him, the sauna's warmth improves blood flow by increasing the flexibility of the blood vessels.
A typical Finnish sauna can help in relaxation, thereby moderating blood pressure. Additionally, the act of excessive sweating acts as a natural diuretic: a long-trusted drug to cure hypertension.
The Finnish tradition of visiting saunas regularly is catching up with the rest of the world now, especially the US. "This is good news," Laukkanen told Channel NewsAsia. "A healthy thing that is pleasant to do and involves no sacrifice."
Another study on the benefits of sauna, conducted by Minna L. Hannuksela and Samer Ellahham, states that regular visits to the sauna cause cardiovascular and hormonal changes that may provide relief to patients with asthma and chronic bronchitis. It also soothes skin conditions like dermatitis and psoriasis.
The adequate conditions of the sauna are explained in a graph provided with the study, published in the American Journal of Medicine.
Sauna bathing is a perfect form of relaxation for most healthy people and also those suffering from coronary heart disease.
It also helps in reducing pain in people suffering from chronic heart failure as well as pulmonary diseases.