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Saunas Connected to Significant Protection Against Dementia


Going to a sauna 4-7 times a week, as opposed to once a week, lowered Alzheimer’s risk 65% in a 20-year Finnish study. Learn more.

Frequent sauna bathing can reduce the risk of dementia, according to a recent study carried out at the University of Eastern Finland. In a 20-year follow-up, men taking a sauna 4-7 times a week were 66% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those taking a sauna once a week. The association between sauna bathing and dementia risk has not been previously investigated.

The Study: 2000 Men in 3 Sauna Groups

The effects of sauna bathing on the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia were studied in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD), involving more than 2,000 middle-aged men living in the eastern part of Finland. Based on their sauna-bathing habits, the study participants were divided into three groups: those taking a sauna once a week, those taking a sauna 2-3 times a week, and those taking a sauna 4-7 times a week.

The more frequently saunas were taken, the lower was the risk of dementia. Among those taking a sauna 4-7 times a week, the risk of any form of dementia was 66% lower and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease 65% lower than among those taking a sauna just once a week. The findings were published recently in the Age and Ageing journal.

Previous results from the KIHD study have shown that frequent sauna bathing also significantly reduces the risk of sudden cardiac death, the risk of death due to coronary artery disease and other cardiac events, as well as overall mortality. According to Professor Jari Laukkanen, the study leader, sauna bathing may protect both the heart and memory to some extent via similar, still poorly known mechanisms. “However, it is known that cardiovascular health affects the brain as well. The sense of well-being and relaxation experienced during sauna bathing may also play a role.”

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January 4, 2017 11:55 pm

This is great. Finally, I've been doing something right for a change!

Reply to  Jim
December 14, 2021 12:03 pm

That a boy Jimbo

January 5, 2017 12:03 am

Is there any chance you could post the link to the full article? Even if its in Finnish, most computers do translations upon request. Thank you.

Reply to  Jim
January 12, 2021 7:55 am
January 5, 2017 2:12 am

In this regard, you might want to see this Finnish film about Finnish men in saunas.

October 12, 2017 12:14 am

If one is already diagnosed with dementia, will the sauna bathing help to slow the progression?

January 21, 2019 10:59 am

More sauna pseudoscience from Finland. Finland has the highest incidence of Alzheimer's in the World, closely followed by Iceland and Sweden. These countries are all excessive users of the sauna. Coincidence!! Medical fact: The brain suffers irreversible damage at temperatures above 42°C. The Finns sit in a hot box exposing their heads to temperatures of 95°C. In Finland the sauna is a religion. Like all religions the sauna is justified by belief, myth and superstition. Don't expect to avoid Alzheimer's by boiling your brain in a sauna.

December 11, 2022 3:45 pm

If it's the rest and relaxation of a sauna, I'll skip it. If I wanted heat and humidity I would have stayed in Houston.

B. Berger

B. Berger

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