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Sweat It Off: Visiting Sauna Baths 7 Times a Week Linked to Lower Risk of Dementia

Dec 19, 2016 04:27 AM EST

A new study from the University of Eastern Finland revealed that men who frequent to sauna baths were less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

The study, published in the journal Age and Ageing, showed that sweating it off the sauna four to seven times a week could reduce the risk of dementia by 66 percent and the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 65 percent.

Dubbed as the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD), the researchers look into the effects of sauna bathing on the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Previous results of the KIHD study showed that frequent sauna bathing could significantly reduce the risk sudden cardiac death, the risk of death due to coronary artery disease and other cardiac events. Due to these, the researchers want to find out if the beneficial effects of sauna bathing could be extended to cognitive health.

"It is known that cardiovascular health affects the brain as well," said Jari Laukkanen, a professor at University of Eastern Finland and lead author of the study, in a press release. "The sense of well-being and relaxation experienced during sauna bathing may also play a role."

For the study, the researchers analyzed the data of more than 2,000 middle-aged men living in the eastern part of England and were involved in previous KIHD studies. The researchers divided the participants into three groups depending on their weekly sauna bathing habit. The first group visits the sauna batch once a week, the second group two to three times a week while the third group takes sauna four to seven times a week.

The researchers observed that the men who frequent most in the sauna bath every week have 66 percent lower risk of dementia and 65 percent lower risk of Alzheimer's disease, compared to those who only took sauna bath once a week.

The mechanisms behind the beneficial effects of sauna to both the heart and memory are still poorly understood. However, the researchers claim that the sense of relaxation experience during sauna baths may be part of the sauna's beneficial effects.

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