Sauna use decreases risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 65 percent, study reports

Sauna use decreases risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 65 percent, study reports
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(NaturalHealth365) The number of Americans currently living with Alzheimer’s disease exceeds 5 million – a number that the Alzheimer’s Association estimates will triple by the year 2050. And, while rates of some degenerative conditions, such as heart disease, have decreased since 2000, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have soared by an astonishing 89 percent – causing researchers and scientists to scramble to find methods of treating and preventing this debilitating disease, like the use of a sauna.

Now, a new study shows that a time-honored and relaxing Scandinavian tradition can drastically reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In truth, many traditional cultures – like the Native Americans – understand the physical (and spiritual) value of sweating inside a sweat lodge or sauna.

Frequent use of a sauna is great for detoxification and lowers the risk of dementia

In a Finnish population study spanning 20 years and involving 2,315 healthy middle-aged men, researchers examined the relationship between participants’ sauna habits and their odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

The study – the first to examine the effect of sauna bathing on rates of dementia – was helmed by Professor Jari Laukkenen, of the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition at the University of Eastern Finland, and published last December in Age and Aging.

The use of saunas is an extremely popular and widespread cultural tradition in Finland, with over 3 million public and private saunas existing in a country of 5.4 million. The study participants – all regular sauna users – were divided into three groups: those who enjoyed a 15-minute sauna session four to seven times a week, those who used a sauna two to three times a week, and those who did so only once a week.

What the researchers discovered was eye-opening: the most frequent sauna users enjoyed a dramatic 66 percent decrease in their risk of dementia and a 65 percent decrease in Alzheimer’s risk – when compared to the weekly users.

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Those who used a sauna two to three times a week also lowered their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia – cutting their odds by roughly 20 percent. But they didn’t enjoy the same robust level of protection as the most frequent sauna users.

And the benefits of frequent sauna use don’t end there. Dr. Laukkenen noted that the heat generated by saunas seems to protect not only the memory, but the heart as well.

Lifesaving effect: Frequent sauna use cuts the risk of heart disease and sudden cardiac death

In an earlier study, published in 2015 in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found that those who used a sauna four to seven days a week had significantly lower mortality rates from heart disease, sudden cardiac death and stroke than did weekly users – a pretty substantial benefit for merely relaxing for 15 minutes in a heated room!

The team went on to report that frequent sauna use improves cardiovascular health – along with the condition and function of blood vessels – and is associated with lower blood pressure and enhanced left ventricular function.

Not surprisingly, the researchers lauded frequent sauna use as a “recommendable habit.”

Sauna bathing offers cardioprotective and neuroprotective benefits similar to that of exercise

Although researchers still aren’t certain of the exact mechanisms by which saunas improve health, they report that saunas may offer cardiovascular conditioning that is surprisingly similar to that resulting from aerobic exercise.

Researchers in the JAMA study noted that sauna bathing causes skin blood flow to increase – leading to higher cardiac output and paralleling what happens during low and moderate intensity physical exercise.

And, exercise has been shown to lower the risk of both Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease.

Specifically, aerobic exercise can help minimize Alzheimer’s-related changes in the brain, and do so more effectively than any medication currently on the market. In one particularly significant study, vigorous exercise helped people with mild cognitive impairment to substantially decrease their levels of tau protein, a chemical in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The takeaway? The experience of sweating in a sauna actually mirrors the benefits and neuroprotective effects of physical activity – a boon to people who can’t or won’t commit to vigorous exercise regimes.

More lifesaving benefits: Regular sauna use promotes tumor death and help eliminate carcinogens

As if these sauna benefits weren’t impressive enough, recent research supports the cancer-fighting effects of frequent sauna bathing. In a review published in Lancet Oncology, the authors credited heat therapy with beneficial effects in controlling cancers and boosting survival rates.

Because cancer cells are less tolerant of heat than healthy cells, the heat produced in a sauna can create “heat shock” proteins on their surfaces, causing them to be more susceptible to attack by the immune system. Research has shown that heat therapy also activates natural killer cells and macrophages – part of the body’s defense system (and mortal enemies of tumors).

In short, raising body heat promotes tumor death – while sweating helps the body detoxify and eliminate assorted carcinogens, heavy metals and environmental toxins.

Thankfully, conventionally-trained medical experts and organizations are beginning to take notice. The American Cancer Society acknowledges heat therapy as a “promising” way to improve cancer treatment, while the National Cancer Institute notes that heat therapy has been shown to reduce tumor size.

Of course, those experts (educated by the pharmaceutical industry) emphasize that heat therapy must be combined with other forms of cancer treatment to be effective like, chemotherapy. But, wouldn’t it be great to study the anticancer effects of sauna – along with natural therapies? (I would love to see those study results!)

The upshot of the emerging sauna research seems to be this: while there is no substitute for actual physical exercise, sauna bathing seems to offer many great health benefits.

Of course, you should get the go-ahead from a trusted, integrative physician before beginning an sauna bathing routine – especially if you’re dealing with a life-threatening health condition. Then, prepare to enjoy this relaxing, therapeutic and soothing custom – while slashing your risk of dementia and heart disease at the same time.

Sources for this article include:

NIH.gov
PsychologyToday.com
Academic.oup.com
NaturalHealth365.com


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Freida Lapidos
Freida Lapidos
3 years ago

Reducing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by 65% is an enormous amount. Putting this in perspective means it has one of the largest influences on preventing these two conditions. The combination of these conditions will bankrupt our healthcare system if the upward trend continues.

Kenneth Forster
Kenneth Forster
3 years ago

I don’t want to miss this opportunity. If there is a way to prevent this devastating condition I want to know about it. Now that I do I certainly will do something about it.

ARJAY
ARJAY
Reply to  Kenneth Forster
2 years ago

Interesting facts:

Autopsys show heavy metals in the brains of those that died from Alzheimer’s, including mercury in vaccines and Aluminum in ANTIPERSPIRANTS.

Big pharma says that mercury is no longer in vaccines, it has been replaced with “Thimerosal”, Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative!

The medical “research professionals” can’t figure out if the metals are the result of or the cause of ALZHEIMER’S?!?!

Rupert Altman
Rupert Altman
3 years ago

There isn’t any pharmaceutical that can boost of having this kind of success. There are Alzheimer’s non-profits, which collected millions in contributions and still haven’t offered any substantial information. I wonder what they do with the funds other then pay themselves large salaries.

Stuart
Stuart
2 years ago

I am sure their lifestyle is the most important aspect. Finland is known for their health which comes from good quality whole foods, exercise and clean living with the reduced amount of processed foods and refined sugar. The sauna is just part of the whole healthy way of living. If you want to test the sauna put them in care homes where the people may find benefit.

ARJAY
ARJAY
Reply to  Stuart
2 years ago

Never happen here. The BIG pharma just wants to fill people with DANGEROUS drugs!!

Suzy
Suzy
2 years ago

Wonderful news! It’s always nice to know that something you’re already doing has even more benefits than you were aware of. I love my Relax portable FIR sauna!

ARJAY
ARJAY
2 years ago

I’ve seen research reports that indicate 5 flu shots INCREASES your chances of getting Alzheimers by a factor of 5 to 10 TIMES!!

That, and if an immunized child gets a flu strain NOT in the yearly vaccine, they are MORE SICK than those NOT getting the vaccine.

No thanks. I’ll take my chances with the actual flu viruses.

After all, I’ve only had “flu like” symptoms two times in the last 35+ years!!

ARJAY
ARJAY
2 years ago

BIG pharma just wants to fill people with DANGEROUS drugs!!

They don’t want an actual CURE for ANY diseases!

IMHO_2
IMHO_2
2 years ago

Does it make a difference if it is the steam sauna or the dry sauna…?

GritMom
GritMom
2 years ago

Does anyone have a link to the actual research paper? I am wondering if the data collected was from dry saunas, wet saunas (steam room), or both?

GunzRloaded
GunzRloaded
2 years ago

Queensland Brain Institute:
https:// qbi.uq.edu.au/dementia/dementia-treatment

https:// qbi.uq.edu.au/article/2015/03/alzheimers-breakthrough-uses-ultrasound-technology