Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland have found that people who take a sauna 4-7 times a week have a 61 percent lower risk of stroke than those who do so once a week.
Sauna starts having a preventive effect when conducted 2-3 times per week, when the risk of stroke drops 14 percent compared to that of the weekly sauna visitor.
The study included some 1,600 53-74-year-old men and women, following them over fifteen years. They were divided into three groups: those who took a sauna once a week, those who did so 2-3 times a week, and those who engaged in ritual sweating 4-7 times per week.
The observations applied to both men and women, with the connection between highly regular saunas and lower risk of stroke holding even when controlled for gender, diabetes, body mass index, socio-economic status, alcohol usage, exercise levels and blood lipids.
Researchers have previously observed that plentiful sauna bathing is associated with reduced risk of heart disease and death. According to researchers that could be down to a reduction in blood pressure, activation of the immune system and improved function of the heart and circulatory system.
This is the first major study on the topic. The results were published in the Neurology journal.