Next time your wife threatens the couch over you randomly buying a sauna, you can thank a study from Finland for saving you from the doghouse.
It turns out that men who spend regular time in the sauna seven times a week reap serious health benefits. Compared to those that barely enter to sweat it off, these men were less likely to develop heart disease.
The team of researchers followed 2,000 middle-aged men in Finland for about 20 years. The results were the more more often a man went to the sauna and the longer he stayed, his risks dropped for a variety of cardiovascular diseases and sudden death from cardiac events.
The team, from the University of Eastern Finland, had more than 2,000 men filling out questionnaires in the 1980s. Evidently, the sauna is reasonably popular in Finland. Must be those Scandinavian winters.
Out of the participant pool, 1500 men reported using a sauna two to three times a week. 600 said they used one just once per week. 200 were in the four to seven times range, and only 12 reported not using a sauna.
Time in the sauna varied widely on the questionnaire, along with the temps. Timing was from two to ninety minutes. Temperatures ranged from 104 degrees all the way to 212 degrees. What in the hell are you sweating off that you need the sauna at boiling temps?
In 2011, researchers used hospital records, autopsies, interviews and death certificates to measure the efficacy of sauna use. 190 men had died of a sudden cardiac event, 281 from coronary heart disease, 407 from cardiovascular disease and 929 from other causes.
Ten percent of the once per week sauna users suffered a sudden cardiac death, compared to 8 percent of those using a sauna three times per week, and five percent of those using it seven times per week.
Dr Rita Redberg, from the University of California and editor of Jama Internal medicine said: “Although we do not know why the men who took saunas more frequently had greater longevity (whether it is the time spent in the hot room, the relaxation time, the leisure of a life that allows for more relaxation time, or the camaraderie of the sauna), clearly time spent in the sauna is time well spent.”
This isn’t the first time saunas have been linked to good health. Other research has shown it can lower your blood pressure, assists in treating diabetes, lower stress and even fight the common cold.
So, should you install one in your house? If you can get away with it, go for it. If not, your local gym should have one. Pop in during your workout.