Sau­nas may be good for blood pres­sure

The Globe and Mail (Alberta Edition) - - HEALTH & FITNESS -

A Fin­nish study sug­gests that reg­u­lar sauna vis­its can re­duce the risk for high blood pres­sure.

The study, in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Hy­per­ten­sion, in­cluded 1,621 mid­dle-aged men with nor­mal blood pres­sure who were fol­lowed for an av­er­age of 25 years. Dur­ing that time, 251 devel­oped hy­per­ten­sion.

Com­pared with those who re­ported one sauna ses­sion a week or less, those who took two to three ses­sions were 24-per-cent less likely to have hy­per­ten­sion and four to seven vis­its a week re­duced the risk by 46 per cent. The study is ob­ser­va­tional and does not prove cause and ef­fect, but the se­nior au­thor, Dr. Jari Laukka­nen, a pro­fes­sor of medicine at the Univer­sity of East­ern Fin­land, sug­gested sev­eral pos­si­ble mech­a­nisms. The warmth of the sauna, he said, im­proves the flex­i­bil­ity of the blood ves­sels which eases blood flow.

JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

A Fin­nish study sug­gests reg­u­lar sauna vis­its can im­prove blood pres­sure, with warm air loos­en­ing blood ves­sels.

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