Sauna Bathing Reduces Risk of Alzheimer's and Dementia

Sauna bathing reduces risk of Alzheimer's and dementia. (Getty Images)

A recent study in Finland suggests frequent sauna bathing may reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Over the last 20 years, the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD) analyzed the effects of sauna bathing on the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia among 2,000 middle-aged men living in eastern Finland. Based on their sauna habits, the study participants were divided into three groups: once a week, two to three times a week, and four to seven times a week. Men taking a sauna four to seven times a week were 66 percent less likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those taking a sauna once a week. The association between sauna bathing and dementia risk has not been previously investigated. Previous results from the KIHD study have shown that frequent sauna bathing also significantly reduces the risk of sudden cardiac death, the risk of death due to coronary artery disease and other cardiac events, as well as overall mortality. Sauna bathing may protect both the heart and memory.