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Heartwarming

THE CARDIOVASCULAR BENEFITS OF INFRARED SAUNA

Heat therapy provides a host of mental and physical health benefits, but promotion of better heart health tops the list. Read on to learn why Perspire Sauna Studio’s proprietary infrared saunas should be an integral part of your preventative, heart-healthy wellness routine.

Man sitting in the sauna

Heart disease, broadly defined as heat and blood vessel disease involving plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries, remains the leading cause of death in adults across the US, with one person dying from heart disease every 33 seconds. While some risk factors for heart disease are not modifiable, other risk factors can be positively influenced by changing our health behaviors. According to the American Heart Association’s Lifes Essential 8, the key modifiable measures for improving and maintaining cardiovascular health are: eating better, being more physically active, getting healthy sleep, managing your weight, controlling cholesterol, managing blood sugar, and managing blood pressure.

Consistent infrared sauna use has been linked to improvements in several modifiable risk factors, including sleep, managing blood pressure, and weight management. Additionally, studies have shown meaningful relationships between regular sauna use and lower risk for cardiovascular diseases. Let’s take a look at some of the available evidence. 

  1. Lower Risk of Early Death from All Causes: Researchers have looked at a large cohort of adults from Finland, investigating relationships between sauna use and all cause mortality. Their results suggest that adults who reported using a sauna 4+ times per week saw a ~40% reduction in early death from all causes when compared to those who did not report using the sauna as consistently. 
  2. Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Better Heart Health: Researchers studying this large cohort of Finnish adults also report a relationship between frequent, long-term sauna use and a decreased risk of both developing cardiovascular disease and dying from cardiovascular disease. Other researchers have explained that this protective factor of sauna use may be partially due to the physiological mechanisms that underlie heat acclimation; the body’s response to heat acclimation mimics those of regular physical activity in many ways.
  3. Blood Pressure Management: Some evidence suggests that regular sauna use may have beneficial effects on blood pressure acutely (after one session) that can be helpful when the behavior is repeated consistently. With hypertension affecting almost 48% of adults in the US, identifying tools that may help manage blood pressure as part of a treatment plan is key!
  4. Improved Cholesterol: Dyslipidemia, the elevation of various types of cholesterol, is a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease risk. Some evidence suggests that consistent sauna use may improve cholesterol levels. For example, a small study saw improvements in total cholesterol levels and LDL cholesterol levels in men who completed 10, 45-minute sauna sessions over a 3-week period. 
  5. Better Stress Management and Mental Health: According to the American Heart Association, chronic stress may contribute to heart trouble. While acute stressors (including exercise and infrared saunas) are a necessary part of life and help us develop resiliency, poorly managed chronic stress can increase likelihood for high blood pressure, and even stroke. Finding solutions and practical tools that help effectively manage stress is paramount. Some evidence suggests that regular sauna use may improve mental health outcomes in adults. 

 

The prevalence of heart disease in adults is high, and science suggests that heat therapy is one health behavior that can improve various aspects of heart health. If you have questions about adding this powerful modality into your routine, we recommend consulting with your healthcare provider directly.

It’s never too late to prioritize your wellness and embrace the transformative power of infrared saunas. Take the first step today – book your session at a local Perspire Sauna Studio and embark on your heart-healthy journey!

Rachelle Reed, PhD, MS

Rachelle Reed, PhD, MS

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