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Finnish study: Saunas protect against fatal coronary problems

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Finnish researchers have a health tip for middle-aged men: To stay alive, spend more time in the sauna.

A 20-year study led by scientists from the University of Eastern Finland found that frequent sauna use was significantly correlated with lowered risk of death from heart attacks, coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease and mortality in general.

The study followed long-term health outcomes over two decades for about 2,000 men between the ages of 42 to 60. Baseline examinations were conducted between 1984 and 1989. The men were divided into groups -- those who took sauna baths just once a week, those who took them two or three times a week and those who spent time in the sauna four to seven times a week.

The researchers found the men who took to the sauna two or three times a week had a 22 percent lower risk of sudden cardiac death than those making just one visit each week. Those who went four to seven times a week lowered their risk level to about one-third of the once-a-week sauna users.

Risk reduction rates were similar for other forms of cardiac deaths, the study said.