Sauna Baths Slash Blood Pressure by 46%
For those who sometimes wonder if natural health practices can offer more than a marginal benefit, a study from the University of Eastern Finland will banish all doubt. It found that taking sauna baths regularly could nearly halve the risk of high blood pressure.
The authors conducted earlier research in 2015 that associated sauna bathing with a decreased death risk from sudden cardiac events and cardiovascular disease. They said the current findings provide a possible explanation for these benefits, since high blood pressure is one of the key risk factors of the maladies. (You can read all about the study’s impressive findings in our article Scandinavian Health Secret: Sauna Therapy.)
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In the new study, the researchers followed 1,621 men with healthy blood pressure whose age ranged from 42 to 60. They divided the men into three groups based on their sauna bathing frequency: one sauna per week, two to three per week, and four to seven per week.
After monitoring the men for 22 years, the team found a substantial link between sauna bathing and healthy blood pressure. During the two decades, 16 percent of the men developed high blood pressure, which was denoted as a reading higher than 140/90 mmHg. The men who took two to three sauna baths per week had a 24-percent reduced risk of developing high blood pressure compared to those who took one sauna per week. More impressively, those who took four to seven saunas per week had a 46-percent reduced risk.
How Saunas Promote Better Blood Pressure
According to the team, sauna baths may lower blood pressure through several physiological benefits. They enhance the function of the endothelium, the interior lining of blood vessels, which plays a fundamental role in blood pressure. Saunas also increase perspiration, a reaction that decreases blood pressure by removing fluid from the body. In addition, they promote relaxation, which can help protect against the constricting effect of stress on blood vessels.
The study was published in the American Journal of Hypertension.
Sauna baths have been used for centuries as therapy, and they are especially popular in Finland. Aside from the blood pressure advantage, some studies show saunas may help with arthritis, psoriasis, asthma and dementia.
Precautions to Follow When Taking a Sauna
Although saunas are safe for most healthy people, certain precautions should be followed. First time users should limit the bath to five minutes and slowly increase the time to 15 to 20 minutes. Drink water before the bath, and drink two to four glasses after the bath to maintain hydration. Never take a sauna after drinking alcohol or using drugs. People who are ill should wait until they recover before taking a sauna. Always have someone with you in the sauna, as the potential for negative health effects makes it an unsafe practice to do alone.
Some experts urge caution in sauna use for people with a heart condition or high blood pressure. The temporary drop in blood pressure can increase the heart rate, putting an increased workload on the heart. Reportedly, some people with high blood pressure have experienced a dangerously adverse effect. Anyone with these disorders should consult a doctor before taking a sauna bath. People with low blood pressure should avoid saunas.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.