High blood pressure: Slash your risk of hypertension by 46 percent by bathing

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Published in the American Journal of Hypertension, Dr Francesco Zaccardi determined that regular sauna use could slash your hypertension risk by 46 percent – especially if you get hot and steamy four times per week. The increase in body temperature during sauna bathing is said to cause blood vessels to dilate, which can help increase blood flow. Moreover, regular sauna use is thought to improve the function of the endothelium – the tissue that lines the inside of the blood vessels.

These two elements combined are likely to explain the drop in blood pressure.

The study’s details

There were 1,621 people involved in the research analysis, who were aged between 42 to 60 years old.

Data was collated over a median time of 24.7 years, with blood pressure and sauna habits recorded.

Sauna sessions were grouped into three groups:

  • One sauna session per week
  • Two to three sauna sessions per week
  • Four to seven sessions per week.

During the follow-up period, 251 people developed high blood pressure – defined as 140/90mmHg.

Compared to the group that only had one weekly sauna session, the group who had up to three weekly sessions had a 24 percent lower risk of developing high blood pressure.

Meanwhile, the group that had between four to seven weekly sauna sessions slashed their hypertension risk by 46 percent.

Dr Zaccardi noted in his research that sauna bathing also reduced cardiovascular risk.

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This hypothesis suggests that sauna bathing protects against heart disease.

“Cardiovascular disease is one of the main causes of death and disability in the UK,” the NHS stated.

Thus, by taking regular sauna sessions, you’re helping yourself live a longer life.

The health benefits of sauna sessions

The Mayo Clinic stated: “Emerging evidence suggests that sauna bathing has several health benefits.”

Benefits of sauna sessions might include:

  • Reduction in high blood pressure, stroke, neurocognitive disease
  • Reduction of risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduction of flu, mortality, skin conditions, and headaches.

Attending a sauna session is said to evoke the same physiological responses as walking.

Sauna use is said to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, improve lipid profile, and improve the cardiorespiratory system.

“Regular sauna bathing may alleviate and prevent the risk of both acute and chronic disease conditions,” said the Mayo Clinic.

Sauna bathing is considered to be “passive heat therapy”, with common use ranging between five to 20 minutes per session.

The pleasurable recreational activity is considered safe for most people.

Harvard Medical School pointed out “general precautions” before using a sauna, which include:

  • Avoid alcohol before use
  • Do not stay inside a sauna for more than 20 minutes
  • Cool down gradually afterwards
  • Drink up to four glass of cool water after each sauna session
  • Don’t use the sauna if you’re feeling unwell
  • Leave the sauna if you feel unwell at any point.

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