According to new research from a group of researchers from the University of Eastern Finland saunas might have a beneficial effect on heart and blood vessels. The results of the study appeared in the Journal of Human Hypertension and the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
Earlier epidemiological studies had already shown that regular visits to the sauna could have a positive effect on, among other things, blood pressure and reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. In this study, a number of measurements were carried out for the first time in 102 subjects before and after a one-off sauna session of 30 minutes (a classic sauna with a temperature of 73°C and a humidity of 10-20%, and a shower after for 15 minutes). The subjects were on average 52 years old and had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
30 minutes before and immediately after the sauna visit, blood pressure, the pulse wave velocity and blood values were measured.
- Immediately after the sauna, the blood pressure fell from an average of 137/82 to 130/75 mmHg. Thirty minutes later, the systolic blood pressure (the highest value) was even lower.
- The pulse wave velocity (the rate at which the blood pressure wave moves through the arteries, which is a measure of vessel wall stiffness) decreased from an average of 9.8 m/s to 8.6 m/s.
- During the sauna, the body temperature rose by an average of 2 ° C, and the heart rate rose from an average of 65 to 81 beats per minute, which is comparable to a moderate effort.
The authors conclude that this study provides additional insights into the possible positive effects of sauna on reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.