COMING IN HOT: New sauna research

Turns out a good sauna sweat has similar heart benefits to exercise. Here's the good and bad science-backed news about your favorite Finnish heat therapy.


November 28, 2017

New studies show that at least some of the wild health claims of Sauna “bathing” have substance to them.

Here’s the good and bad science-backed news about your favorite Finnish heat therapy:

What they do do: lower risk of stroke, heart disease, and dementia

A Finnish study that followed the sauna habits and health of 2.5k men for 20 years found that regular sauna-goers are far less likely to die of heart disease and stroke or to develop dementia.

And research from this year shows that getting sauna’d 4-7 times a week (AKA, saunaholics) can reduce high blood pressure by nearly 50%, and improve chronic pain symptoms in diseases like arthritis.

Scientists attribute these benefits to increased heart rate and widening blood vessels, which increases circulation, similar to the effects of regular exercise.

What they won’t do? “Detox” your bod

Even new-fangled “infrared saunas” (which supposedly enable a greater purging of “toxins”) have absolutely no scientific evidence to back up their claims.

FACT OF THE DAY: “For most people, sweating a lot does not detoxify them at all. Because the kidneys are doing it. Sweat’s main job is to keep us cool.” — Dee Anna Glaser, dermatology professor and president of the International Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweaters) Society

That’s right people; you’re not gonna go “sweat out” your alcohol, flu, lactic acid — or whatever Fern Gully “black goo” you imagine is floating around in your bods — via sauna. But we’ll take healthier tickers any day.

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