Saunas are not only for relaxation, they are also highly beneficial for the health. According to a new study, people who use a sauna frequently can lessen their chances of getting a stroke.

The study was conducted in Finland by Setor K. Kunutsor, PhD of the University of Bristol, who found that sauna bathing can be good for person's vascular health.

Sauna Bathing Can Be Healthy

The study was done on 1,628 people who were 63 years old and had no history of a stroke throughout their life. The study followed each participant for 15 years. The participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their health, any physical activities they partake in, if they smoked or drank, and how often they used a sauna.

Each participant's blood pressure and cholesterol levels were sampled before the test began.

During the study, at least 155 of the volunteers suffered from a stroke. Kunutsor noted that those who went to a sauna once week were more likely to suffer from a stroke then those who visited the hot bath two or three times a week. For the ones who visited a sauna four to seven times a week,  their chances of getting a stroke were reduced by 62%.

"Sauna bathing is a safe activity for most healthy people and even people with stable heart problems. More research is needed to confirm this finding and to understand the ways that saunas affect stroke risk," Kunutsor stated.

The lead researcher stated that previous research showed sauna bathing has helped lower a person's chances of getting dementia, high blood pressure, and even death. The only setback to this study was that it was conducted using a Finnish-style hot bath and could not account for other types of "heat therapy" that include steam rooms and hot tubs.

The Dangers of Saunas

Other studies have suggested that sauna bathing can be potentially dangerous for elderly people, particularly ones who have just suffered from a heart attack or have frequent chest pains.

While this new study has shown the positive effects that hot bathing can have, Kunutsor stressed that more research needs to be done to understand how saunas actually prevent a person from getting a stroke.

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