PHILADELPHIA (CBS)— Using the sauna frequently may  reduce the risk of dementia for men, according to researchers at the University of Eastern Finland.

According to the study, men taking a sauna 4–7 times a week were 66% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those taking a sauna once a week.

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The effects of sauna bathing on the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia were studied in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD), involving more than 2,000 middle-aged men living in the eastern part of Finland.

Researchers say the study participants were split up into three groups:

  • Those taking a sauna once a week
  • Those taking a sauna 2–3 times a week
  • Those taking a sauna 4–7 times a week

The results: the more frequent you use a sauna, the lower risk of dementia, researchers say.

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Frequent sauna bathing may also have other health benefits.

University of Eastern Finland says other studies show that the bathing also significantly reduces the risk of sudden cardiac death, the risk of death due to coronary artery disease and other cardiac events, as well as overall mortality.

“However, it is known that cardiovascular health affects the brain as well. The sense of well-being and relaxation experienced during sauna bathing may also play a role,” said Professor Jari Laukkanen.

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The association between sauna bathing and dementia risk has not been previously investigated.