Want to Stave Off Dementia? Hit the Sauna

by Dr. Meenakshy Varier on  December 17, 2016 at 4:33 PM Health Watch
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Highlights
  • Regular visit to sauna decreased the risk of dementia by 66% and risk of Alzheimer's by 65% in middle aged men who were followed for 20 years.
  • Saunas work by improving blood circulation and reducing blood pressure to keep dementia at bay.
  • The sense of well-being and relaxation experienced during sauna may also play a part in reducing dementia risk.
Visiting the sauna regularly reduces the risk of dementia.
Want to Stave Off Dementia? Hit the Sauna
Want to Stave Off Dementia? Hit the Sauna

Sauna uses heat therapeutically. It elevates body's internal temperature. This helps to eliminate toxins through sweat by opening pores. It also relieves joint aches, boosts immune system and improves blood circulation.

Fun Facts about Sauna
  • Saunas dated back to the 10th century during the Bronze Age of Britain. The Vikings are said to have developed them.
  • It uses dry heat. A sauna uses a heater or a wood burning stove in an enclosed room to raise the temperature. Heat above 160 degrees F, or 71 degrees C is the usual temperature in a dry sauna room.
  • It is ideally used in a detoxifying program. The body can eliminate one third of its wastes through perspiration.
  • It inhibits the growth of bacteria and viruses while promoting relaxation.
The prevailing methods to keep neurodegenrative conditions like Alzheimer's disease at bay is to exercise regularly, eat healthy and avoid smoking.

The new study was conducted by scientists at the University of East Finland, who discovered this link between sauna usage and dementia.

Proof

Previous studies have shown that regular use improves heart health and reduces the risk of dying from all causes.

For the current study, researchers followed more than 2,000 middle-aged men for 20 years to find out the factors that influenced cognitive problems in later life.

Researchers found that regular use of sauna for at least 4-7 times a week reduced the risk of dementia by 66% and Alzheimer's by 65%.

Probable Causes

Using sauna benefits the heart and memory in similar ways according to the study leader, Professor Jari Laukkaben.

"It is known that cardiovascular health affects the brain as well. The sense of well-being and relaxation experience during sauna-bathing may also play a role."Laukkaben said

Dr Clare Walton, Research Manager at the Alzheimer's Society said "With dementia now the biggest killer across England and Wales, finding ways to reduce the risk of developing the condition is a top priority."

Dr Clare speculates that saunas work by improving circulation and reducing blood pressure, both of which helps in reducing your risk of getting dementia.

Dr Rosa Sancho, Head of Research at Alzheimer's Research UK, added "Although sauna bathing isn't a common hobby for men in the UK, this study suggests men who use saunas several times a week may also have a lower dementia risk.

One major limitation of the study is that it does not take into account other groups of people such as women or people who do not use saunas.

But these studies are important for highlighting trends in how lifestyle factors may influence our risk of dementia for more detailed follow-up.

The research was published in the journal Age and Aging.

References

  1. Steam or Sauna - Either Choice to Detoxify - (http://www.medindia.net/news/lifestyleandwellness/steam-or-sauna-either-choice-to-detoxify-117187-1.htm)
  2. Jari Antero Laukkanen et al. Sauna bathing is inversely associated with dementia and Alzheimer's disease in middle-aged Finnish men. Age and Aging; (2016) doi: 10.1093/ageing/afw212


Source: Medindia

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