Does frequent sauna bathing prevent a stroke?

Too much cholesterol in the blood is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke. But how can it be that regular visits to the sweat room can prevent a stroke? The Finns are showing us how it's done, and data from 1700 sauna-goers was analyzed.
Off to the sauna - sauna protects against stroke

Off to the sauna – sauna bathing protects against stroke

Does regular sauna bathing prevent a stroke? Scientists at the University of Bristol have also asked themselves this question – and found an impressive answer. We sauna fans have long been aware that the pleasant hours in the heat offer more than just relaxation. But they also have many health benefits. To experience them, however, there’s one prerequisite: you have to sweat regularly.

But that’s actually good news. But back to sauna bathing and stroke. The study was conducted by scientists at the University of Bristol in the UK. But it was conducted, where else, in Finland. The results were first published a short time ago in the journal Neurology.

What did the scientists do?

A certain Setor K. Kunutsu is the author responsible for the study. He analyzed the data of almost 1700 Finns. Why Finns of all people? Well, the men and women from the far north take saunas whenever they have time. In addition, sauna bathing is a big topic at the country’s universities – in this respect, there is also a lot of accessible data here. The Finns in the study were between 53 and 74 years old. Why? Quite simply, this is the time when the risk of suffering a stroke is comparatively high. Moreover, there is sufficient data for the age group.

So what exactly did the researchers find out?

We won’t keep you in suspense any longer. The researchers found that the participants who treated themselves to a sauna bath particularly frequently suffered a stroke particularly rarely. Frequent in this case means four to seven times a week. The scientists looked at a time span of 15 years. They were able to show that sauna bathing reduced the risk of stroke by up to 60 percent. The values were very different. In some cases, they were only able to determine a risk reduction of around 30 percent. However, this was mostly due to other factors. The authors agree: sauna bathing helps prevent strokes.

What is the reason for this?

That’s the bad news. The British scientists have not yet been able to find out where this effect comes from. But it probably has to do with the many health-promoting factors of sauna bathing. After all, it is proven that the beautiful hours in the pleasant warmth can alleviate for example blood high pressure. In addition, regular sauna bathing reduces the risk of developing dementia. At these points the researchers know already, rather exactly, which factors work. In the case of stroke risk, they are only at the beginning. But it is likely that the British will soon come up with interesting results.


The Bristol University study suggests that regular sauna bathing can reduce the risk of stroke. Participants who frequently took saunas four to seven times a week had up to a 60 percent lower risk of stroke over a 15-year period, according to the study. Although the exact reasons for this effect are not fully understood, it is suspected that the health-promoting properties of sauna bathing, such as lowering blood pressure and dementia risk, may contribute. However, more research is needed to understand the relationships in detail.


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