A sauna a day could help keep dementia away, says study
Visiting the sauna regularly could reduce the risk of dementia, a new study has found.
Scientists at the University of East Finland followed more than 2,000 middle-aged men for 20 years to find out what factors influenced how many developed cognitive problems in later life.
They found that those who used the sauna between four and seven times a week were 66pc less likely to be diagnosed with dementia during the study period compared with those taking a sauna once a week or less.
It is the first time anyone has found a link between sauna use and dementia, although previous studies have shown that regular use seems to improve heart health.
Professor Jari Laukkaben, the study leader, said that sauna bathing may protect both the heart and memory in similar ways.
"It is known that cardiovascular health affects the brain as well," he said. "The sense of wellbeing and relaxation experienced during sauna-bathing may also play a role."
Dementia charities said saunas might work by reducing blood pressure and improving circulation.
Dr Rosa Sancho, head of research at Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "As this study does not look at other groups of people such as women or people who do not use saunas, we don't know how this risk compares to the general population and or what might be behind it.
"These kinds of studies can't unpick cause and effect, but they are important for highlighting trends."