Doctors have known for years that saunas are good for your heart.
One study found that regular sauna users have less than half the stroke risk of those of us who never take a sauna.1 And sauna takers have a 46% lower chance of having high blood pressure.2
The problem is that most of us don’t have easy access to a sauna. Now a new study may have solved that problem.
Researchers at Ehime University in Matsuyama, Japan gathered 873 subjects for the study.3
All were between the ages of 60 and 76. They answered detailed questions about their bathing habits.
Scientists wanted to know the temperature of the water and how long they stayed in the tub.
The researchers also examined the subjects’ medical records over a five-year period and took measurements of their cardiac health. They looked at “cardiac loading.” This is a measurement of the heart’s ability to properly pump blood. They also gauged atherosclerosis, which is hardening of the arteries.
The study found that “hot water bathing showed a favorable effect” on heart health. Subjects who took at least five hot baths weekly had much better markers for atherosclerosis and cardiac loading.
A “hot” bath was defined as being over 106 degrees Fahrenheit. Average bath time was 12.4 minutes.
Professor Jeremy Pearson is associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation. He said there are “plausible reasons” for why hot baths are good for heart health. Previous studies have found that heating the body increases heart rate, which has a beneficial effect similar to moderate exercise. And heat generates sweating, which can lower blood pressure.4
Bathe Your Way to Heart Health
The research clearly shows that if you don’t have access to a sauna, you can get the same kind of cardiac benefits by taking hot baths.
Mimic the habits of heart healthy study subjects:
- Take a hot bath at least five days a week.
- Stay in the tub for at least 12 minutes each time.
- Make sure the water temperature is at least 106° F.
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