A recent article published in JAMA Internal Medicine concluded that regular sauna use resulted in increased longevity, a decreased risk of fatal cardiovascular disease, and decreased overall mortality. For those in the know about saunas, this is not startling news but a striking confirmation of long held views about sauna use.
Live Longer with Fewer Heart Attacks
The risk of Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) was 22% lower for 2-3 sauna sessions per week and 63% lower for 4-7 sauna sessions per week. The risk of fatal Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) events was 23% lower for 2-3 sessions per week and 48% lower for 4-7 sauna sessions per week compared to once a week. Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) death also was 27% lower for men who took saunas 2-3 times a week and 50% lower for men who were in the sauna 4-7 times a week compared with men who indulged just once per week.
For all-cause mortality, sauna use 2-3 times per week was associated with a 24% lower risk and use 4-7 times per week with a 40% reduction in risk. Longer duration sauna sessions lowered the risk of SCD. The risk was 7% lower for sauna sessions of 11-19 minutes and 52% less for sauna sessions lasting more than 19 minutes. Similar associations were seen for fatal CHDs and fatal CVDs but not for all-cause mortality events. Sauna therapy is increasing longevity, and interestingly, doing more sessions per week as well as for longer durations both dramatically multiply the health benefits.
Near Infrared Saunas Are Even Better
Finnish saunas are very hot, with temperatures in the range of 180ºF or more. Near infrared (NIR) saunas deliver the same thermal effects achieved by Finnish saunas in the JAMA article, but at a much more tolerable 110-120ºF temperature range. The best infrared saunas use ultra-low EMF incandescent tungsten heat lamps. These lamps provide NIR light that gently heats the body from within faster and more efficiently. Unlike traditional saunas, tungsten lamp saunas emit NIR light. Our bodies contain tiny cell receptors called chromophores that only absorb near infrared light (600-950nm). NIR light absorption is linked to wound healing & tissue regeneration, relief from inflammation, enhanced detoxification and more. We all need to emulate the Finns!