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Sauna use associated with reduced risk of cardiac and all-cause mortality.

Taking a sauna for the purposes of purification, cleansing, and healing is an ancient human practice dating back thousands of years across many cultures around the world. Societies have long used sauna because they noticed that it relaxed the mind and body, reduced pain and improved flexibility and sleep. But how does sauna work and what does modern science tell us about this ancient practice that continues to be so popular today?

Metabolic and physiological responses to heat stress:​ 1. The heat from sauna increases heart rate and causes blood vessels to relax and dilate. Skin and then core body temperature increase. Under these conditions, cardiac output (measure of the amount of work the heart performs in response to the body's need for oxygen) increases by 60-70%, while the heart rate increases and the stroke volume (amount of blood pumped with each beat) remains unchanged. In sum, the amount of blood being circulated around the body per minute is dramatically increased. This increased blood circulation will deliver more valuable oxygen and micronutrients to every organ of the body, enhancing their function and performance! ​ 2. Sauna not only relaxes smooth muscle in the vascular system but also in the airways or bronchial tubes. This can benefit chronic conditions such as chronic bronchitis, asthma and COPD. 3. Repeated sauna use acclimates the body to heat and optimizes the body's response to future exposures. This is likely due to a biological phenomenon known as hormesis, a compensatory defense response following exposure to a mild stress that is dispropor