What is commonly associated with wellness centers and spas, and therefore beauty, is actually a real panacea for health and especially for the heart: the sauna. According to a study by the University of Finland, published in the journal Biomed Central, doing sauna ‘trains’ the heart like exercise and has a ‘heart saving’ effect.
Professor Giulio Stefanini, an assistant in the Operative Unit of Interventional Clinical Cardiology at Humanitas and a lecturer at Humanitas University in Milan, talked about it in an interview.
The Finnish study
“This Finnish study undoubtedly reveals interesting data that show and confirm how the sauna reduces the risk of mortality from cardiovascular causes,” explained Stefanini. The novelty of this research lies in the reporting of times and ways of doing the sauna, “showing that the frequency and duration reduce this risk proportionally: the maximum benefit is achieved with four sessions per week and at least 45 minutes per week of sauna.
How the sauna acts on the heart
During the sauna sessions our heart performs a kind of ‘cardiovascular gymnastics’: “two sauna sessions actually train all the vessels of the body and have a beneficial effect on the heart on blood pressure, for example.
“These data will have to be confirmed, but undoubtedly very interesting because they involve about 2000 Finnish patients who have had a follow up of 15 years and are therefore events observed in fifteen years. It is also true that not necessarily these cases see evidence can be applied to all populations. The population of Finland is certainly different from the Italian one in terms of lifestyles and therefore risk factors, but it is certainly a very interesting research”, concluded the cardiologist.