A study at the University of Eastern Finland has suggested that frequent use of saunas could reduce the risk of dementia. In a 20-year follow-up, men taking a sauna between four and seven times a week were 66% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those taking a sauna once a week. It was 65% less likely in the case of Alzheimer’s.
The effects of saunas on the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia were studied in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD). They involved more than 2,000 middle-aged men living in the eastern part of Finland. The findings were published recently in the Age and Ageing journal.
Previous studies have shown that frequent sauna use also significantly reduces the risk of sudden cardiac death, the risk of death due to coronary artery disease and other cardiac events, as well as overall mortality.
Professor Jari Laukkanen, the study leader, said that sauna use may protect both the heart and memory to some extent. “It is known that cardiovascular health affects the brain as well,” he said. “The sense of well-being and relaxation experienced during sauna bathing may also play a role.”
So just in case you were contemplating a New Year’s resolution, perhaps it should be more time spent in a sauna.
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