HealthDay News — For adults, frequent sauna bathing is associated with reduced risk of future stroke, according to a study published online May 2 in Neurology.

Setor K. Kunutsor, Ph.D., from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the correlation between frequency of sauna bathing and risk of future stroke among 1,628 men and women aged 53 to 74 years. Sauna bathing frequency was categorized as one, two to three, and four to seven sessions per week.

The researchers found that there were 155 incident stroke events during a median follow-up of 14.9 years. The age- and sex-adjusted hazard ratio for stroke was 0.39 for participants with four to seven sauna sessions per week compared with those who had one sauna bathing session per week. The hazard ratio was 0.39 after further adjustment for established cardiovascular risk factors and other potential confounders and persisted at 0.38 after additional adjustment for physical activity and socioeconomic status. The correlation was not modified by age, sex, or other clinical characteristics. A similar correlation was seen for ischemic stroke, but the correlation was modest for hemorrhagic stroke, possibly because of the low event rate (34 events).

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“This long-term follow-up study shows that middle-aged to elderly men and women who take frequent sauna baths have a substantially reduced risk of new-onset stroke,” the authors write.

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