A new study shows brief saunas 4 to 7 times per week results in 66% less chance of developing dementia compared to those who only sauna once a week. Regular sauna bathers are 63% less likely to have a fatal heart attack. Hot dry sauna for 5 – 20 minutes, interspersed with cooling off periods outside of the sauna, was all it took to give these statistically significant results.
The study looked at the sauna habits and medical records of more than two thousand Finnish men age 42 to 60, over a period of almost 3 decades.
Sweat is the earliest known form of detoxification and is a tradition in native cultures the world over. This includes Native American sweat lodges, pre-Christian Irish stone sweathouses, ancient Mayan steam saunas, and variations of the Roman steam bath in North Africa, Greece, and Turkey. The traditional Japanese way of provoking a purifying sweat is the sento, a steamy bath sometimes associated with the option of dry sauna followed by a dip in a cold pool.
The Finnish word loyly originates from a term that once meant spirit or life. Sauna has been used in spiritual and religious traditions with the general theme of purification, but sauna also has a strong scientific basis for providing effective biochemical detoxification.
A current theory of dementia is that a lifetime of toxic exposures eventually overcomes the ability of the body to detoxify on its own. This impaired capacity then cannot handle the steady stream of metabolic ‘junk’ that are normal products of everyday metabolism. The combination results in ongoing low-level toxicity that provokes chronic inflammation and the deposition of abnormal proteins. So it makes sense that sauna reduces the risk of dementia.
Similarly, atherosclerosis, once blamed on cholesterol, is now thought to be a chronic inflammatory condition. The abnormal accumulation of cholesterol in the blood vessel walls is only a secondary reaction to chronic inflammation.
“Give me a chance to create sweat, and I will cure disease.”
Tips for the smart consumer: Sauna! Make sure you use a facility that is properly cleaned daily. Before letting yourself or a relative be slapped onto a dementia drug, see the section on regular medical drugs that cause serious psychiatric effects in No-Nonsense Guide to Psychiatric Drugs. Get fully informed on cholesterol lowering medications before deciding to take them, by reading No-Nonsense Guide to Cholesterol Medications.