Sauna Use Can Improve Heart Health and Longevity

Health Benefits of Sauna Use

Over the past few decades, an ever-increasing amount of research has emerged showing there are tremendous health benefits of sauna use; including improving heart health, increasing longevity, lowering stroke risk, and decreasing all-cause mortality.

Renowned health researcher, Dr. Rhonda Patrick, recently gave a presentation at a professional conference covering the health benefits of sauna use that are being proven by long-term scientific studies.

Dr. Patrick started her talk with a very bold statement…

In the next 10 years, I believe that sauna bathing will become part of the standard of care for the prevention and treatment for heart disease and a variety of heart conditions.Dr. Rhonda Patrick

The Many Health Benefits of Sauna Use

Studies have shown that 25 minutes of sitting in a sauna will raise heart rate just as much as the same amount of time engaging in moderate physical activity, but more importantly, the time in the sauna also increases heart rate variability, which is the ability of the heart to respond favorably to stressful conditions.

Here’s some great insight from the presentation she shared on a recent Instagram post:

Several studies have shown that frequent sauna bathing (4-7 times per week, 174F/79C for 20 minutes) is associated with a 50% lower risk for fatal heart disease, 60% lower risk for sudden cardiac death, 51% lower risk for stroke, and 46% lower risk for hypertension.

Just a single sauna session has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve heart rate variability, and improve arterial compliance.

Some of the positive benefits of sauna use on heart health are similar to physiological changes that also occur during physical exercise.

For example, there is a 50-70% redistribution of blood flow away from the core to the skin to facilitate sweating. You start to sweat. Heart rate increases up to 150 beats per minute which corresponds to moderate-intensity physical exercise.

Cardiac output (a measure of the amount of work the heart performs in response to the body’s need for oxygen) increases by 60-70%. Immediately following the sauna, blood pressure and resting heart rate are lower than baseline⁠—similar to physical activity.

Also presented in the presentation is how sauna use may offer overall longevity benefits.

For example, frequent sauna use is associated with a 40% lower all-cause mortality and a 60% lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s possible that some longevity benefits may be conferred by the increased production of heat shock proteins. This mechanism has been somewhat in lower organisms where heat shock proteins and heat stress itself can boost longevity. Heat shock proteins have also been shown to prevent and slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, slow human muscle atrophy, and are associated with human longevity in genetic studies.

Here’s a rundown of some key health benefits of regular sauna use:

For more information on the health benefits of sauna use, we go into great detail here on Sauna School.



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