Washington D.C. [USA], Dec. 18 : Sauna bathing for four to seven times a week can reduce the risk of dementia in men, reveals a study.
The findings were published in the Age and Ageing journal. The risk of any form of dementia was 66 percent lower in men taking frequent sauna and the risk of Alzheimer's disease 65 percent lower than among those taking a sauna just once a week.
"Sauna bathing may protect both the heart and memory to some extent via similar, still poorly known mechanisms.
However, it is known that cardiovascular health affects the brain as well," said lead study author Jari Laukkanen from University of Eastern Finland.
"The sense of well-being and relaxation experienced during sauna bathing may also play a role," Laukkanen added.
The association between sauna bathing and dementia risk has not been previously investigated. The effects of sauna bathing on the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia were studied in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD).
The study involved more than 2,000 middle-aged men living in the eastern part of Finland. Based on their sauna-bathing habits, the study participants were divided into three groups - those taking a sauna once a week, those taking a sauna two to three times a week, and those taking a sauna four to seven times a week.
Based on a 20-year follow-up, the findings indicated the more frequently saunas were taken, the lower was the risk of dementia.
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.