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Sauna Use Linked To Reduced Risk Of Death

Sauna is becoming a hot topic at the moment.


Regular sauna use can reduce your risk of all-cause mortality by 50%!

An all-cause mortality is your chance of dying at any point in time by non-accidental causes. 

This is mainly due to a reduction in major cardiovascular events.

A study on 2000 middle-aged men was taken for 20 years during which how they died from non-accidental death was recorded.

Men who used sauna 2-3 times a week were 27% less likely to die from any cardiovascular-related event compared to men who saunaed only once a week.

Men who used sauna 4-7 times a week were 50% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease when compared to men who saunaed once a week.

How long you use the sauna is also important – greater than 19 minutes had the biggest effect on the reduction in cardiovascular disease. 

Temperature also matters.

You need to use a sauna at 85 to 95 degrees to get the desired benefit and that is why infra-red saunas do not provide the same benefits as they do not get hot enough.

You can learn more about the results of this study here.

What Are The Mechanisms Behind Sauna Use?

Sauna mimics moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise as your heart rate reaches around 150 bpm.

Blood flow increases to the heart, so it has to do less work per beat, thus putting less strain on the heart.

Sauna improves endothelial function, which is the lining of arteries and lowers blood pressure. 

Sauna use 3 or more times a week decreased the risk of all types of non-accidental deaths by 40% – this included cancer and neurological conditions too.

Confounding factors were adjusted for that may affect results, such as body fat, if they smoked and socioeconomic status.

Mechanisms For Reduction In Cancer And Neurological Conditions  

Heat shock proteins are activated when using sauna. They help protein maintain their 3D structure as this is essential for the protein’s normal function. Enzymes can not work optimally if their 3D structure is damaged.

Protein gets damaged by stress from general living, such as UV light, chemicals etc. This causes them to misfold and sit around in cells longer than they should.

They then form aggregates with other proteins and as we age more protein aggregates accumulate – amaloid beta is the most infamous, associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

This leads also to other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and cardiovascular disease.

Heat shock proteins can repair proteins so they can fold back to their normal structure, stopping aggregate formation.

How Sauna Reduces Depression And Anxiety 

When you do something that makes you feel good, you produce endorphins which make you euphoric. 

Dynorphin is the opposite and is activated with heat stress. It is produced to cool the body down.

It makes you feel bad (dysphoric).

It is released from presynaptic neurones and binds to kappa opioid receptors.

This, in turn, changes the way your body responds to endorphins.

Endorphin binds to the mu-opioid receptor.

When you produce dynorphin it tells your body to make more mu-opioid receptors and sensitises you to endorphin.

So next time you train or eat good food etc., you feel even more euphoric. Your response to endorphins is heightened. 

This helps to lower depression and anxiety.


As you can see, there are numerous benefits of using sauna so lets do a quick recap:

  • Sauna sensitises the brain to endorphins which reduces anxiety and depression
  • Sauna improves cardiovascular health and overall longevity 
  • Sauna increases heat shock proteins which help maintain the structure of proteins and stop the formation of cancer-forming aggregates
  • Infrared sauna is not as effective as they it’s not hot enough 
  • Using sauna four times a week at 85-95 degrees for 19 minutes is optimal to reap all the benefits

Whether you’re seeking to transform your physique, boost your athletic performance, or simply improve your overall health, our highly rated team of certified personal trainers in Hampstead, North London, is committed to crafting tailored in-person and online personal training programs that align with your goals, preferences, and lifestyle.

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