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Comment & Response
October 2015

The Link Between Sauna Bathing and Mortality May Be Noncausal

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, United Kingdom
  • 2Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
  • 3School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom
JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(10):1718. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.3426

To the Editor Laukkanen et al1 found a striking inverse relationship between saunas (mean temperature, 79°C [174°F]) and fatal cardiovascular disease in Finnish men. The hazard of sudden cardiac death was more than 60% lower among men who reported 4 to 7 sauna sessions per week compared with those who reported only 1 session. For deaths from coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and all causes, the corresponding hazard ratios were 40% to 50% lower. If these observed associations are causal, the risk reduction associated with frequent sauna visits would be comparable to or greater than that for traditional prevention strategies, such as lipid-lowering and antihypertensive therapy (risk reduction, 20%-50%).2,3

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