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Older adults who regularly bathed in hot springs in the evening were less likely to have hypertension, a new study has found. Having hypertension markedly increased the likelihood of having other chronic diseases, however.

Researchers gathered information about the hot spring bathing habits and overall health of more than 10,000 older adults. The participants lived near Beppu, Japan, an area known for its many hot springs.

They found that older adults who regularly bathed in hot springs in the evening were approximately 15 percent less likely to have hypertension. Older adults who didn’t frequent the hot springs were roughly 50 percent more likely to have type 2 diabetes, heart arrhythmia, stroke, gout, or abnormal blood lipids.

Evidence suggests that chronic mental stress promotes hypertension. Research has shown that bathing in hot springs improves mental health and reduces stress. Other research has shown that hot water bathing before bedtime promotes faster sleep onset and better sleep quality, which could reduce the risk of developing hypertension.

Exercise, hot baths, and sauna use may have similar effects on promoting sleep and reducing blood pressure. Learn more about the effects of sauna use on hypertension in this clip featuring Dr. Jari Laukkanen.

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