London: Taking a sauna bath of 30 minutes reduces blood pressure and increases vascular compliance as well as heart rate similarly to medium-intensity exercise, a study has found.
The research provides new insight into changes that take place in the human body during and after having a sauna.
The study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension analysed the effects of a 30-minute sauna bath in 100 participants.
In particular, the objective was to analyse the role of vascular compliance and reduced blood pressure in the health benefits caused by sauna bathing.
Vascular compliance was measured from the carotid and femoral artery before sauna, immediately after sauna, and after 30 minutes of recovery, said researchers from the University of Eastern Finland.
These vascular compliance measurements carried out in the experimental study constitute a new assessment method in a sauna setting.
Immediately after 30 minutes of sauna bathing, systolic blood pressure of the participants reduced from 137 mmHg to 130 mmHg, and their diastolic blood pressure from 82 mmHg to 75 mmHg.
Furthermore, their systolic blood pressure remained lower even after 30 minutes of sauna bathing.
During sauna bathing, test subjects' heart rate increased similarly to medium-intensity exercise, and their body temperature rose by approximately 2 degrees Celsius.
The findings shed light on the physiological mechanisms through which health benefits, which have been observed at the population level and are caused by the heat exposure of sauna, may develop.