The secrets to longevity are everywhere, you just have to be looking for them. Saunas are relatively rare in the United States, but they are widespread in Finland, where they provide a respite from the often freezing cold weather. In Finnish culture, they are believed to promote good health, but Jari Laukkanen of the University of Eastern Finland and his colleagues wanted to test this belief scientifically.
The researchers tracked a group of 2,315 middle-aged men over the course of 21 years. All of them reported going to saunas, but some were more frequent sauna-goers than others. After the men were broken into groups of those who went to the sauna once per week, those who went two to three times and those who went four to seven times, it became clear that there were significant health benefits to going to the sauna as much as possible.
For example, the researchers found that the men who reported going to the sauna two to three times per week had a 22 percent lower chance of sudden cardiac death than those who went only once a week. The men who went to the sauna four to seven times per week decreased their chances of sudden cardiac death by a whopping 63 percent. In fact, those who went to the sauna four to seven times a week were 40 percent less likely to die of any cause during the study than those who went once.
"Further studies are warranted to establish the potential mechanism that links sauna bathing and cardiovascular health," Laukkanen wrote in the study.
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