Frequent Saunas Protect Men Against Dementia

Birch logs for a traditional wood-fired sauna: frequent saunas protect men against dementia.
A study carried out at the University of Eastern Finland, suggests that frequent saunas are associated with significantly reduced risk of dementia in men.

The effects of sauna use on the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia were studied in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD), which gathered data for 20 years on more than 2000 middle-aged men living in eastern Finland. Based on their sauna useage, participants were divided into three groups: those taking a sauna once a week; those taking one 2–3 times a week; those taking one 4–7 times a week.

The more frequently saunas were taken, the lower was the risk of dementia. Among those taking a sauna 4–7 times a week, the risk of any form of dementia was 66% lower and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease 65% lower than among those taking a sauna just once a week.

Previous results from the KIHD study have shown that frequent sauna bathing also significantly reduces the risk of sudden cardiac death, the risk of death due to coronary artery disease and other cardiac events, as well as overall mortality. According to Professor Jari Laukkanen, the study leader, saunas may protect both the heart and memory to some extent via similar, still poorly known mechanisms. The sense of well-being and relaxation may also play a role.

(University of Eastern Finland, online news, accessed 4 January 2017.)