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Sauna Bath Linked To Improved Heart Health

While observational studies suggest that taking a sauna bath may have heart health benefits, very little research has been conducted to discover exactly how. Now, a recent study suggests that taking a sauna bath may help reduce blood pressure, increase vascular compliance, and increase heart rate.

Participants in the study included 100 people who took a 30-minute sauna bath. The researchers measured vascular compliance from the carotid and femoral artery, measured heart rate, blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, and pulse pressure before sauna, immediately after sauna, and 30 minutes after. Vascular compliance is the ability of a blood vessel wall to contract and expand passively.

The researchers noted a drop in mean systolic blood pressure from 137 mmHg to 130 mmHg and a drop in diastolic blood pressure from 82 mmHg to 75 mmHg immediately after the sauna bath. Systolic blood pressure levels remained lower than they were before the sauna bath, even 30 minutes after the end of the sauna bath.

The researchers also noted a decrease in carotid-femoral pulse wave activity from 9.8 m/s before sauna to 8.6 m/s immediately after. Finally, the researchers noted that participants heart rates increased up to levels similar to medium-intensity exercise and body temperature raised approximately 2 degrees Celsius.

Researchers from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland led the study. It was published online ahead of print on October 19, 2017, in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Scant research has been conducted on the health benefits of saunas, but previous studies suggest that taking sauna may also reduce the risk of death due to coronary artery disease and other cardiac events.

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