Seniors in Sauna

Taking Saunas Can Lower Your Blood Pressure Without Drugs or Exercise

In All Health Watch, Diet and Nutrition, Featured Article, Fitness and Exercise, General Health

A new study shows you can lower your blood pressure naturally without drugs or hours of grueling exercise. In fact, you don’t have to anything but sit still…and sweat.

Regular sauna use cut high blood pressure risk in half, according to research at the University of Eastern Finland.1

The study followed 1,621 middle-aged men for 22 years. At the start of the study, none of the participants had a blood pressure reading of over 140/90 mm/Hg. Higher readings are typically considered “high” blood pressure.

More than two decades later, when the study ended, 15.5% of them had high blood pressure. This is not unusual, since blood pressure usually rises with age.

The researchers divided the men into three groups:

  • Light once-a-week sauna users.
  • Moderate sauna users (two-to-three times a week).
  • Frequent sauna users (four-to-seven times a week).

Frequent sauna users had a 46% lower chance of high blood pressure compared to light sauna users.

Presumably, the benefit would be even greater when compared to men who never take a sauna. But the study was conducted in Finland, where sauna bathing is a national pastime. So there were no subjects who never used steam baths.

Researchers concluded, “Regular sauna bathing is associated with reduced risk of hypertension.”2

These findings were published recently in the American Journal of Hypertension.

Sweating Out Heart Disease

Previously, the same group of researchers had shown that frequent sauna bathing reduces the risk of sudden cardiac death as well as cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.

Several biological mechanisms explain how sauna bathing decreases blood pressure:

  • Body temperature rises as much as several degrees, causing blood vessels to open.
  • Heat improves endothelial function. This means your blood vessels are more flexible, which has beneficial effects on blood pressure.
  • Sweating removes fluid from the body. The more fluid in your body, the higher your blood pressure.
  • Saunas relax the mind, reducing stress associated with high blood pressure.

Saunas Are Good for Your Lungs and Brain, Too

An analysis of the same study revealed that those taking frequent saunas have a lower risk of pulmonary diseases.3

Sauna takers had a drastically reduced risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and pneumonia.4

Moderate to frequent sauna bathing was also found to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias by up to two-thirds.5

7 Steps for a Healthy Sauna

Saunas are becoming more popular in the U.S. Many major health club chains now have them. Here’s how to use a sauna for maximum health benefits:

  1. Take a warm shower. This unclogs your pores. It removes anything that impedes sweat production: lotions, skin oils, etc.6
  1. Remove all jewelry. This includes rings, earrings, watches, bracelets, necklaces, and any metal piercings. The metal will get hot and can cause burns.
  1. Hydrate. Drink a large glass of water before entering the sauna. During the sauna, drink at least eight ounces of water for every five minutes you are in the steam room.
  1. Bring at least three towels. One is to sit on. Another is for putting beneath your feet. The third is for covering your face if it starts to feel too hot.
  1. Start slow. If you’re a novice sauna bather, you might want to start out around 150 degrees F and work your way up. Keep your first sauna short, around five minutes. Once your body gets used to the heat, you can build up to 15-20 minutes per session.7
  1. Take a cool shower. Afterward, take a cool (not cold) shower. This will close your pores and help lower your body temperature back to normal.8
  1. Drink more water. While resting after your sauna session, drink as much water as your thirst demands. The Finns traditionally eat a dill pickle afterward to replenish salt lost by sweating.

A hot tub or Jacuzzi provides some of the same benefits as a sauna, but they are not as effective because they don’t cause as much sweating.

Editor’s Note: Something strange was happening to pilots training to fly F-16 fighter jets. The ones who went into the program with elevated blood pressure were coming out a few weeks later with normal, healthy readings.

They hadn’t taken any medications… Their diets hadn’t changed… And they hadn’t made any changes to their exercise regimens.

Go HERE to discover their secret—and how you could lower your blood pressure up to 15 points from your living room using this same trick.

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