Regular hot baths or trips to the sauna can fight lower back pain, and have been linked to lower blood pressure, healthier hearts, and lower rates of dementia. According to Dr. Ray Schilling, writing on his “Ask Dr. Ray” website, a research project links regular saunas to lower blood pressure and lower dementia rates, news particularly relevant to people in retirement.
Scientists in Finland tracked the lives of more than 1,600 men for more than 25 years and found, according to their article published in the American Journal of Hypertension, that men who went most frequently to the sauna had the lowest blood pressure. The same study showed that men who went to the sauna once a week had no “reduction” in dementia, while those who went 2 to 3 times a week had a 22% reduction in dementia and those who went 4 to 7 times a week had a 66% reduction in dementia.
Is it the Sauna Itself or the Social Experience?
Before you rush off to the sauna, consider the cultural dimension of the experience in Finland. There, going to the sauna is just as much a social a experience as it is a physical experience and, as we’ve learned from many other studies, regular socializing has been linked to lower blood pressure and dementia rates. (It’s a lot like going out for coffee with a friend, as I wrote about in an earlier Tuesday Tip.) So remember to sauna with a friend!
Always consult a qualified medical professional before using a hot tub or sauna.
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