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Comment & Response
October 2015

The Link Between Sauna Bathing and Mortality May Be Noncausal

Author Affiliations
  • 1Heller Institute of Medical Research, Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(10):1718-1719. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.3429

To the Editor In their recent report, Laukkanen et al1 summarize a 25-year longitudinal study, indicating that regular sauna bathing (4-7 times per week) is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and all-cause mortality. We would like to suggest that regular sauna bathing is an indicator for a healthy lifestyle. Adopting habits of frequent physical activity, avoiding rich food high in saturated fat, and allowing for more relaxation and leisure time have been proven to be the best measures against many diseases and are also associated with improved health and longevity. Laukkanen et al do not provide data to explain this observation, but other studies suggest that regular sauna bathing lowers blood pressure, improves endothelial function, increases left ventricular ejection fraction, and reduces total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.2,3 Clinical and laboratory data on sauna bathing and its effect on diminishing cardiovascular risk factors (eg, metabolic syndrome symptoms) should be the aim for further studies.

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