Swedish doctors want to prescribe saunas

Hans Haglunda professor at Uppsala University, has for a few years held the title of “sauna doctor” and is a board member of the Swedish Sauna Academy.

The body wants a constant temperature. When you sit in the sauna, you sweat, your heart beats faster and you breathe faster, to calm your body. It starts the hormonal system and the nervous system. The same principle happens when we train, says Hägglund.

Thus, it is possible to passively exercise and strengthen the heart by sunbathing.

In Sweden, doctors already prescribe physical activity such as dancing and yoga as a preventative measure for cardiovascular disease, cancer and other diseases.

Overall, we know that lifestyle plays a role in health and that physical activity can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 80-90 percent, says Hägglund.

Prevents cardiovascular diseases

According to a 2015 Finnish study, sauna bathing can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by up to 50 percent, provided the sauna is used more than four times a week. The study is based on the sauna habits of middle-aged men for 20 years.

There are some studies that also show that strength training combined with heat treatment has a positive effect on muscles. These groups appear to be getting stronger, says Hägglund.

There are about 3 million saunas in Finland, and saunas have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2020.

Bathing in a sauna increases blood circulation like brisk walking and prevents cardiovascular disease. So the Swedish doctor Hans Haglund wants to prescribe a prescription along with other treatments.

According to Hägglund, saunas are not made in Sweden, which makes it difficult to estimate the number of saunas in the country. But access is available, especially in most gyms, in swimming pools, in some residential associations and also in private homes, just as in Finland.

Increased interest in saunas in Sweden

Interest in sauna bathing is growing in Sweden, which is represented by Hägglund with more and more construction of cold bath houses, Harvia sales and the famous cold bath week in Helsingborg.

In recent years, saunas have become more and more popular even among young people. There are saunas in most gyms and swimming pools in Sweden.

Hägglund says that Swedes are people who train and that he himself tries to shower about five days a week in his gym in Mariatorget in Stockholm.

In the sauna lab at Sunderby Hospital in Sweden, Hägglund wants to develop a joint study protocol to measure what makes the heart stronger with a sauna bath.

We want to know how hot it is, how humid it is, how many times a week you need to shower and introduce other researchers to take part in this protocol, says Hägglund.

sauna as a hobby

It is not very likely that saunas in Finland can be described as an individual preventive method.

I find it hard to see that covering food can be prescribed as the only form of treatment. However, there are certainly individual health effects to saunas that should be taken into account, he says Ian KoskinemiCEO of the Finnish Sauna Association.

On the other hand, the bass may be a mandatory pastime, he believes.

– Basting bumps that reach both the bud and the body. Especially now, the sauna is one of the few places to relax. As the sweat dries up, anxiety often comes out of our shoulders. I recommend eating out as a habit and not as a hobby at least.

Keeping up with the book “Sauna Book: Hot Facts about Sauna and Health” (Ekerlids förlag, 2020).

He is a physician, Assistant Professor at the Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Board Member of the Swedish Sauna Academy and National Cancer Coordinator for Swedish Municipalities and Regions.

Hägglund has been involved in building a sauna lab at Sunderby Hospital in Luleå, which has not yet started operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The hope is to develop an internationally standardized protocol for sauna temperature and humidity.

Source: Uppsala University

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