The Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, an ongoing prospective population-based cohort study of health outcomes in more than 2,300 middle-aged men from eastern Finland, identified strong, dose-dependent links between sauna use and reduced death and disease. This reduction typically involved dry saunas that were heated to a temperature of approximately 79°C for at least 20 minutes. Spending less time in the sauna did not elicit the same robust effects. In this clip, Dr. Jari Laukkanen discusses the optimal temperature and amount of time for sauna use to obtain the greatest health benefits.
Rhonda: Wow. So a lot of these parameters that you just described all also known to be affected by cardiovascular exercise, right?
Jari: Yeah, yeah.
Rhonda: Aerobic exercise. So I have to mention that, like, you know, as someone that uses the sauna, when you sit in the sauna for, you know, a long-enough period of time, your heart rate starts to elevate, as if you were doing cardiovascular work. In fact, I think it's something like 100...
Jari: Twenty or 150.
Rhonda: 150 beats per minute.
Jari: Yeah. It is quite high actually. It's something like a moderate level of physical activity.
Rhonda: So you mentioned the duration, the time people spent in the sauna also was an important factor on the robustness of lowering cardiovascular-related mortality. So people that stayed in the sauna, I believe it was longer than 19 minutes had the most robust effect compared to men that stayed in less than 11 minutes, something?
Jari: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, the risk reduction can be seen among those who more than 20 minutes per session in sauna. They was a risk reduction among those men.
Rhonda: Yeah. I'm always sort of hesitant to tell people, like, they ask, you know, "Well, how long should I stay in the sauna?" Because on the one hand, you don't want to stay in too long, but you also don't want to not stay long enough to get these important benefits, these cardiovascular benefits. So do you have any, sort of, parameters or guide that, you know, someone that's trying to figure out how long to stay in the sauna in order to get these sort of benefit, how long they should stay in? Probably depends on temperature as well.
Jari: Yeah, yeah. On the basis of this study, we found that 20 minutes could be enough, but at the moment, actually, we're exploring more carefully what could be the time that's needed to stay in the sauna, and it can't be that very short time, let's say 10 minutes or 15 minutes. It's not enough to get all these health benefits, maybe. So we try to clarify what is the optimal time to stay in sauna.
Rhonda: Great. So you're working on those parameters right now. What was the average temperature that the sauna that these men were using? How hot was it?
Jari: It was 79 celsius.
Rhonda: Seventy-nine degrees Celsius? So about 20 minutes in a 79-degrees Celsius sauna was what was important for, at least in the context of the lower cardiovascular-related mortality and also all-cause mortality as well?
Rhonda: And what was the type of sauna that these men are using? Because this is Finland, right?
Jari: Yeah, yeah. It's Finland, yeah. For us it is clear that it is Finnish dry sauna. Yeah, it's relatively dry.
Rhonda: Relatively dry? So they weren't doing that... What's it called when you dump that water on?
Rhonda: Löyly. So that when you make the humidity you do the löyly?
Jari: Yeah. yeah.
Rhonda: Was that also...
Jari: It was also allowed.
The death rate from all causes of death for a population in a given time period.
An essential mineral present in many foods. Iron participates in many physiological functions and is a critical component of hemoglobin. Iron deficiency can cause anemia, fatigue, shortness of breath, and heart arrhythmias.
The steam that rises from the sauna stove (kiuas) or the heat of the sauna.
A chemical reaction in which an atom, molecule, or ion gains one or more electrons.
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