Can regular sauna use really extend your lifespan?
Did you know that people who take regular saunas can prolong their lives? That’s according to decades of research into the effect of saunas, by physician Dr Rainer Brenke.
Dr Brenke’s research has shown that regular sauna use over many years reduces core body temperature. As well as bolstering the body’s own defence mechanisms against free radicals and other immunodeficiencies, it can also lead to a longer lifespan.
How does regular sauna use extend lifespan?
Many people consider a sauna to be purely for relaxation. And whilst sauna bathing can be a very effective way to relax and unwind, it goes beyond simply maintaining general wellness.
Dr Brenke is convinced that regular use can even help people avoid some visits to the doctor. One interesting observation from his research is the thermal adaptability of the body, as well as the resulting long-term reduction in core body temperature.
After just a few weeks, regular sauna users sweat more healthily and efficiently than before. These individuals also take longer to get cold in winter and suffer less from the heat in summer. Regular sauna use enables the body to intensify its ability to give off heat over time. After just ten saunas, the skin temperature increases due to stronger circulation. Not only does this improve heat emission, but the resulting reduction in insulation by the body shell also leads to a long-term drop in core body temperature due to regular sessions of heating and sweating in the sauna.
Although the study participants saw their core body temperature fall to 0.5°C below the set point within just a few weeks, they did not perceive this externally, such as by feeling cold or shivering. Rather, the new set point simply established itself on a lasting basis once the process of thermal adaptation was complete.
“A core body temperature that is 0.5°C lower would result in at least a five-year increase in life expectancy. If you began the process of thermal adaptation in middle age, you could still expect an increase of two to three years,” explains Dr Brenke.
Thermal adaptation in sauna users due to the alternating stimuli allows various ageing processes to be slowed down, so to speak. Just as most vital functions are temperature-dependent, heat also has a general accelerating effect on many processes, and cold can also have a decelerating effect. To achieve the described health effects, it’s crucial to heat the sauna up to 90°C and to shower in cold water.
Lastly, regular sauna use reduces core body temperature and bolsters the body’s own defence mechanisms.
Brenke continues: “Japanese studies have shown that the vasodilatory effect [the widening of the blood vessels] of the alternating hot/cold stimuli in sauna therapy counteracts the development of arteriosclerosis [clogged arteries]. Moreover, lower core body temperature leads to reduced formation of free radicals. Statistically, this reduced load of free radicals on the body can in turn be a reason for longer life – because these species accelerate the ageing process in the body.
“In recent years, there has been a growing volume of international findings to indicate that repeated heat applications – in a sauna, for example – tip the balance between processes in which free radicals are formed and their opponents in favour of the opponents. At the same time, the classical sauna consisting of two or three sessions lasting 10–15 minutes each, is the most effective way of toughening up the body. Exposure to hot air followed by subsequent cooling is vital in order to dilate the blood vessels. In other words, the long-term effect relies on the alternating hot/cold stimuli. The body temperature falls after just a few months, while the skin temperature increases and the body begins to toughen up.”
Enjoy sauna health benefits at home
The best part is that regular and soothing sauna sessions to increase your body’s resistance, and give you a moment of respite for the soul, can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home with your very own KLAFS home sauna. Create your own private fountain of health and youth, with a bespoke KLAFS sauna from Guncast, designed and built to suit your living space.
About Dr Rainer Brenke:
For many years, Dr Brenke served as head physician for natural remedies at Hufeland-Klinik Bad Ems. Before that, he carried out years of research at Berlin’s Charité hospital, including on the subject of saunas. He is now living in Berlin again and devotes his time to further education and training.