Regularly indulging in sauna bathing can be safe and can even be used in patients with stable cardiovascular disease, finds a study.
Sauna bathing is a form of passive heat therapy that is characterised by exposure to high environmental temperature for a brief period. It is an activity that has been popular in Finland for thousands of years and mainly used for pleasure and relaxation and is becoming increasingly popular in many other populations.
This feeling of relaxation and promotion of mental health and well-being associated with sauna sessions may be linked to the increased production of circulating levels of hormones such as endorphins, said researchers, including Jari A. Laukkanen from the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland.
The results, published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, suggested that the physiological responses produced by an ordinary sauna bath corresponded to those produced by moderate or high intensity physical activity such as walking. Further, regular sauna baths were found to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, mental health disorders, and mortality.
Sauna bathing may also have positive effects on circulatory, respiratory, cardiovascular, and immune functions. It also alleviated conditions such as skin diseases, arthritis, headache, and flu.
For the study, the team had conducted comprehensive literature review and found that regular sauna bathing stabilizes the autonomic nervous system, reduces blood pressure and oxidative stress.