If you or a loved one deals with heart or vascular symptoms, you may want to hop in a hot sauna. New research, published in the Journal of Human Hypertension and the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, shows that a sauna kept at 164 degrees Fahrenheit lowers blood pressure.
Research shows sauna-bathing is heart-healthy
Previous research found that regular sauna users had lower rates of hypertension, cardiac death, and dementia compared to infrequent users. However, these observational findings were only association-based, meaning they didn’t prove cause and effect. However, this most recent study does. Finnish researchers recruited 102 people, whom they observed before and after a 30-minute sauna session. The results revealed people’s systolic blood pressure dropped from 137 to 130 mmHg, while their diastolic pressure dropped from 82 to 75 mmHg. The systolic pressure drop was temporary, however the diastolic pressure remained lower 30 minutes post-sauna bath.
Peoples’ vascular compliance — a measure of blood vessels’ ability to expand and contract — also improved. Moreover, their heart rates increased during sauna sessions to an average of 120 beats per minute — what is achievable with moderate-intensity exercise. Study co-author Dr. Jari Laukkanen, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Eastern Finland noted that, “circulatory responses may be similar (to exercise),” suggesting that sauna bathing is aerobically healthy, too.
Other sauna benefits include detoxing
Sauna bathing is a centuries-old way to detoxify your body – it’s actually been a way of life in Finland for over 2,000 years. Why? Well, for one, sweating get rids of the junk. A 2012 review of 50 studies revealed that sweat carries lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury out of the body, especially in people with high heavy-metal toxicity. Another study observed participants in both traditional and infrared saunas with similar results. Sweating also eliminates hormone-disrupting BPA, which accumulates in your fat cells.
Infrared saunas yield health benefits as well
Trendy full-spectrum infrared saunas heat up your body’s core at a cellular level – detoxifying the most harmful and deep toxins from the inside-out. The penetrating heat of infrared saunas stimulates metabolic activity like no other – triggering the release of stored toxins through sweat and through the liver and kidneys. It goes deep. Learn more about the benefits of infrared sauna detoxification here.
Related: 8 Detox Methods That Really Work