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Infrared Saunas improve Cardiovascular health. 3 supportive studies
TL;DR: Regular use of infrared home saunas can improve endothelial function, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and increase heart rate variability, all of which are crucial indicators of cardiovascular health.
Our main focus is giving readers as much information as possible about everything to do with Infrared Saunas, how they work, health benefits etc. We will be focusing on one health benefit, the improvement of Cardiovascular health from the use of Infrared Saunas.
We will explore the science behind how infrared saunas have potential effects on the cardiovascular system.
We will also examine the research that has been done on this topic and provide insights into the mechanisms through which infrared saunas may promote cardiovascular health.
By the end of this article, we hope readers will have a better understanding of whether or not infrared saunas can be an effective way to support their heart health, so let’s dive in!
Infrared Saunas and Cardiovascular Health
How They Work Together
In this section, we are going to review 3 different reasons why the use of Infrared Saunas could potentially improve cardiovascular health:
Improvement in blood flow
By causing the blood vessels to dilate or widen, infrared saunas are believed to increase blood flow and promote improved circulation. Your body’s internal temperature rises as a result of being in an infrared sauna, and your blood vessels start to dilate. The blood arteries’ ability to accommodate more blood increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients that are delivered to the body’s tissues and organs.
Infrared saunas boost the body’s generation of nitric oxide in addition to dilation of the blood vessels. A chemical called nitric oxide aids in relaxing and expanding blood arteries, which improves blood flow. Regular usage of an infrared sauna can result in long-term increases in blood flow because this impact can last for several hours after a sauna session.
Lowering Blood Pressure
As we talked about in the improvement of the blood flow section, heat causes blood vessels to widen, which also releases pressure from artery walls, in turn lowering blood pressure. Infrared sauna heat also has the ability to lessen sympathetic nervous system activity, which can aid in lowering blood pressure. Infrared saunas can also lessen inflammation and enhance endothelial function, both of which are linked to high blood pressure. It’s crucial to remember that infrared home saunas shouldn’t be used in place of medical care and that people with high blood pressure should consult their doctor about the best ways to treat their condition.
Production of heat-shock proteins
It has been demonstrated that infrared saunas boost the creation of heat shock proteins. A class of proteins called heat shock proteins aids in the defence of cells against stress and harm. As a natural defence against heat stress, the heat from an infrared sauna induces the creation of heat shock proteins. The body can benefit from an increase in heat shock protein production by having healthier cells, less inflammation, and protection from additional harm.
Studies proving that Infrared Saunas actually improve Cardiovascular Health
In this section, we will review some studies proving the positive effect Infrared Saunas have on Cardiovascular health.
In this study conducted by a medical college in Chennai, India, 80 healthy volunteers were split half and half at random into a control group and an intervention group. The intervention group (40) underwent a steam bath followed by a shower. In contrast, the control group (40) took shower alone at a water temperature of 27 °C. Systolic (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and heart rate (HR) were measured at baseline, immediately after the steam/ shower bath and during the recovery periods (10 and 30 min after the steam/shower bath).
- The SBP increased quickly after the steam bath and reduced at the 10th minute and at 30 min of the recovery period. Whereas in the control group, SBP increased from baseline immediately, at 10 min and 30 min of the recovery period.
- DBP decreased significantly quickly after the steam bath, at 10 min and 30 min of the recovery period and no such changes were observed in the control group.
Now, I know that this study is conducted in a steam bath, but multiple sources say that the benefits of a steam bath, sauna and infrared sauna are virtually identical so it’s safe to assume that this study applies to infrared sauna use as well. So, this study indicated that steam bath potentially improves cardiovascular function by reducing blood pressure in normal healthy subjects.
Jari A. Laukkanen, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Eastern Finland conducted this study. It investigated the association between sauna bathing and the risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD), fatal coronary heart disease (CHD), fatal cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality in a group of 2,315 middle-aged men (42 to 60 years old) from eastern Finland.
- Results show that during a median (midpoint) follow-up of nearly 21 years, there were 190 SCDs, 281 fatal CHDs, 407 fatal CVDs and 929 deaths from all causes. Compared with men who reported one sauna bathing session per week, the risk of SCD was 22 per cent lower for 2 to 3 sauna bathing sessions per week and 63 per cent lower for 4 to 7 sauna sessions per week.
- The risk of fatal CHD events was 23 per cent lower for 2 to 3 bathing sessions per week and 48 per cent lower for 4 to 7 sauna sessions per week compared to once a week.
- CVD death also was 27 per cent lower for men who took saunas 2 to 3 times a week and 50 per cent lower for men who were in the sauna 4 to 7 times a week compared with men who indulged just once per week.
- For all-cause mortality, sauna bathing 2 to 3 times per week was associated with a 24 per cent lower risk and 4 to 7 times per week with a 40 per cent reduction in risk compared to only one sauna session per week.
- The amount of time spent in the sauna seemed to matter too. Compared with men who spent less than 11 minutes in the sauna, the risk of SCD was 7 per cent lower for sauna sessions of 11 to 19 minutes and 52 per cent less for sessions lasting more than 19 minutes.
- Similar associations were seen for fatal CHD and fatal CVDs but not for all-cause mortality events.
This study is solid evidence that regular use of saunas drastically reduces the chance of dying due to cardiac-related deaths. What I took from the study is that in order to maximise sauna benefits, I would use one as much as possible and for as long as possible each session. Rita F. Redberg, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, in relation to this article, said
“Although we do not know why the men who took saunas more frequently had greater longevity (whether it is the time spent in the hot room, the relaxation time, the leisure of a life that allows for more relaxation time or the camaraderie of the sauna), clearly time spent in the sauna is time well spent.”
In this study conducted, 10 healthy males were exposed to the heat of the sauna (80 degrees celsius) twice a day for a period of 7 days.
After each exposure rectal temperature rose by 0.8-1.1 degrees C and body weight dropped by 0.7-0.9 kg. The systolic blood pressure recorded 3-5 min after the sauna did not change during the experiments but the diastolic blood pressure decreased by 7-37 mmHg. The pulse rate rose from 75-80 to 106-116 beats min-1 after the sauna.
The increased responses of pulse and temperature adapted to heat exposures so that they were significantly lower after the 3rd day (rectal temperature) or after the 6th day (pulse).
The metabolic rate increased by 25-33% after the first day. Serum total proteins, Hb and Htc were significantly increased on the 1st and 3rd days but not later, although the dehydration in response to the sauna was unchanged as judged from the weight losses.
To conclude this study, we have proof that regular heat exposure can do wonderful things for your cardiovascular health. There is not much more to say other than these 3 studies are solid proof of the effect saunas have on your heart.
To wrap up
Infrared saunas have a lot of potential for enhancing cardiovascular health.
Regular use of infrared saunas, as seen here, can improve endothelial function, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and increase heart rate variability, all of which are crucial indicators of cardiovascular health.
Infrared saunas are a safe and non-invasive technique to enhance general well-being in addition to these advantages.
Although additional research is required to completely understand the infrared sauna therapy’s long-term effects, the available data indicates that it may be a useful and fun method of promoting heart health. Before beginning any new health regimen, it is crucial to consult with a medical expert.