Regular and frequent sauna bathing can reduce the risk of elevated blood pressure. This was concluded by a Finnish research team, after the extensive follow-up on a population-based study carried out at the University of Eastern Finland.
The Kuopio study
The Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD) is based on 1,621 middle-aged men living in eastern Finland. As they are followed through their lives, they give regular reports about their lifestyle, their habits and their health. The aim of the Kuopio study is to identify risk factors for heart diseases, and in the course of research, a number of discoveries related to health and sauna bathing have been made.
50% lower risk of hypertension
The researchers found that the risk of developing elevated blood pressure was lowered with almost 50% among the men who took sauna baths 4-7 times a week, when compared to the men who only spent time in the sauna once a week. In the study, the participants were divided into three groups, taking a sauna once a week, 2-3 times a week, or 4-7 times a week. The follow-up was done on average 22 years later, and showed that the risk of high blood pressure was significantly reduced for the most frequent sauna bathers. These findings were published recently in the American Journal of Hypertension.
Sauna bathing, blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases
The same research team have previously discovered that sauna bathing can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, thereby having a positive effect on overall longevity. You can read more about sauna bathing and heart-related diseases in this blogpost. Elevated blood pressure in itself is also a strong risk factor of cardiovascular diseases.