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Home Intellectual Expansion 6 Powerful Ways Saunas Can Boost Your Brain — Max Lugavere
Intellectual ExpansionMax Lugavere

6 Powerful Ways Saunas Can Boost Your Brain — Max Lugavere

In Finland, saunas are a national obsession. There is, on average, 1 sauna per household in this small Scandinavian country. Watch the quirky documentary Steam of Life to see the funny things that Finns will convert to saunas—everything from abandoned telephone booths to decommissioned crop harvesters.

Scientists have studied the effects of sauna use on our physiology, and the results are pretty convincing—saunas may be both medicine and the ultimate performance enhancer!

Here are 5 incredible things you are doing for your brain when you sit in a sauna.

DISCLAIMER: Sauna use isn’t safe for everyone. Make sure your doctor approves your use of a sauna so you don’t hurt yourself. I’m not responsible for harm that comes from using saunas beyond their intended or appropriate use.

1. You may be reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Observational research from Finland has shown that men who used the sauna 4-7 times per week had a 65% reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. (R)

Now, this kind of research can’t prove causality (it’s only a correlation) but there is one thing I’d like to point out: In the States, sauna use is associated with a gym membership and healthy lifestyle. Were this observational study performed in the U.S, it would be hard to say whether the sauna itself was actually doing anything. However, in Finland, sauna use is extremely commonplace. It’s not even necessarily a health practice. This strengthens the notion that sauna use was actually mediating the effect seen on practitioners’ health.

2. You are helping prevent your brain from becoming a dumping ground for plaque.

When proteins become disfigured, they can clump together. This is the case with beta amyloid, the protein comprising the plaque found in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease sufferers. What if we could do something to prevent this accumulation? Enter: heat shock proteins.

Exercise and saunas provide a form of heat stress. Heat stress activates heat shock proteins (HSPs). Think of these proteins as structural reinforcement to other proteins, like the scaffolding on a building. Among their many duties is to prevent beta amyloid from becoming disfigured which can cause it to clump up. (R

3. You may be treating your depression. 

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