New Data for an Old Therapy: Sauna for Heart Health and Blood Pressure

We are still in the depths of a frigid January but Heart Month in Feburary where we focus on heart health is around the corner. One heart treatment that has been a relative secret is sauna therapy, particularly infrared sauna. Doctors in Japan and Finland have been working for years testing the benefits of sauna therapy in some of the sickest heart and vascular patients and they have published over 20 research articles showing this is a major breakthrough. Now new data is availabe and the results are stunning. First, a look at the studies that demonstrated the benefits of sauna therapy for serious heart disease.

Infrared sauna improves the health of arteries.

The lining of your arteries is a single layer called your endothelium. Waon therapy has been shown to improve the function of these cells and the blood flow they carry. Infrared sauna has also been shown to lower blood pressure in studies done at the University of Kansas.

Infrared sauna lowers the “fire” in your body.

Whether you have a disease, eat junk and processed food, are stressed or are overweight, your blood is filled every day with molecules triggering inflammation. When measured after a few weeks of waon therapy, the levels of these molecules decrease whether in patients with heart disease or just the “average joe” living the stressed Western lifestyle.

Infrared sauna improves exercise ability.

A hallmark of heart disease is the reduced ability to exercise. After treatments with waon therapy, people demonstrate a greater ability to walk, whether limited by heart or leg vascular issues.

Infrared sauna may save lives.

In an amazing study of 129 patients with bad heart problems, patients treated with infrared therapy at least two times a week were compared to similar patients who did not get the soothing warmth therapy. Over five years the rate of hospitalization and death was cut in half in the waon treated patients compared to the others!

Infrared therapy and heart failure.

In a study of 149 patients with advanced congestive heart failure, half were treated with infrared sauna and half were the controls. After just 10 days of infrared therapy these sick patients could walk farther, breath better, showed healthier hearts by chest X-ray and lab measures, and had no side effects.

New data from Finland on Artery Health

In an ongoing project called the Sauna and Cardiovascular Health Project in Finland, 102 participants with at least 1 risk for heart disease had a single 30 minute session of Finnish steam sauna. After the sauna treatment, systolic blood pressure fell from 137 to 130 mmHg and diastolic pressure from 82 to 75 mmHg. Measures of the stiffness of arteries, using a technique called pulsed wave velocity I use in my preventive heart clinic, indicated more flexible arteries after the sauna therapy.

If sauna therapy is so beneficial in heart patients, why haven’t you heard of it? And why isn’t it used more?

Many doctors aren’t familiar with the strong scientific data supporting sauna therapy for the prevention and treatment of heart disorders. It is a therapy I recommend to all of my patients and I have a full spectrum infrared sauna in my bedroom. In Japan infrared sauna is listed as a therapy of heart disease with strong recommendations in published guidelines. With dozens of studies showing that you can actually strengthen your heart with sauna therapy, Febuary Heart Month is a perfect time to develop a sauna habit whether you are healthy or dealing with a heart issue. Full spectrum infrared sauna (3 in 1) as I use may accelerate the efficiency of healing and protecting the heart.