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    Infrared sauna use reduces frailty in older adults. sauna onlinelibrary.wiley.com
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Sauna use is associated with reduced risk for a wide range of age-related conditions, including cardiovascular disease, metabolic dysfunction, and neurodegenerative disease. Evidence from a new study suggests that infrared sauna use reduces frailty in older adults.

The heat in a sauna is typically provided by conventional electric heaters or infrared heaters. Conventional heaters warm the air to a high temperature, ranging from 70°C to 100°C (158°F to 212°F), and the heat of the warmed air transfers to the body. Infrared heaters emit thermal radiation, which heats the body directly while also warming the surrounding air. They operate at lower temperatures than conventional saunas, typically at 45°C to 60°C (113°F to 140°F).

Frailty is a progressive biological syndrome defined by the presence of three or more of the following characteristics: unintentional weight loss, fatigue, weakness, slowness, and physical inactivity. Evidence indicates that frailty increases a person’s risk of death.

The intervention study involved 67 adults between the ages of 66 and 93 years who had been classified as having some degree of frailty. The participants sat in a 60°C infrared sauna for 15 minutes and then rested while lying down and covered with a warm blanket for an additional 30 minutes. The sauna sessions were conducted twice a week for three months.

The authors of the study assessed the participants' muscle mass, body mass, physical strength, walking speed, cardiorespiratory fitness, cognitive function and mood before and after the intervention. They weighed the participants before and after each sauna session and instructed them to drink sufficient water to compensate for sweat losses.

They found that 26 percent of the participants showed improvements on measures of frailty. The remainder showed no change (~71 percent) or declined (~2 percent). These findings suggest that infrared sauna use ameliorate measures of frailty in older adults.

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