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Effect of the Significant Loss of Salt in Sweat

      To the Editor:
      The review article on the health benefits of sauna bathing in the August 2018 issue
      • Laukkanen J.A.
      • Laukkanen T.
      • Kunutsor S.K.
      Cardiovascular and other health benefits of sauna bathing: a review of the evidence.
      appeared comprehensive but failed to mention the effect of the significant loss of salt in sweat that occurs with this clearly beneficial event repeated on a regular basis. Wouldn't most— if not all—of these benefits occur simply as a result of regularly repeated substantial losses of salt from the body? Is this counter-balanced by the consumption of salt-preserved fish in Finland?
      I am old enough to remember the recommendation of hot baths for renal failure when dialysis was not available.

      Reference

        • Laukkanen J.A.
        • Laukkanen T.
        • Kunutsor S.K.
        Cardiovascular and other health benefits of sauna bathing: a review of the evidence.
        Mayo Clin Proc. 2018; 93: 1111-1121

      Linked Article

      • In reply—Sauna Bathing and Healthy Sweating
        Mayo Clinic ProceedingsVol. 94Issue 4
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          We thank Eiser and Brooks for their comments about the health benefits of sauna bathing. Regular sauna bathing has some beneficial effects on blood pressure, cardiometabolic biomarkers, arterial compliance, and cardiovascular function.1 Our prospective studies have shown that higher frequency and duration of sauna bathing are related to a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality, sudden cardiac death, stroke, hypertension, pulmonary diseases, and dementia.1-3 The feelings of relaxation and promotion of mental health and well-being associated with sauna sessions might be linked to the increased production of circulating levels of hormones such as endorphins.
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      • Sauna Bathing and Healthy Sweating: II
        Mayo Clinic ProceedingsVol. 94Issue 4
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          In their review on Cardiovascular and Other Benefits of Sauna Bathing, Laukkanen et al1 observed that, in a previous population cohort study, they detected that frequent use of sauna bathing (4 to 7 times a week), showed a 66% reduction in dementia in Finnish men compared with those who had 1 session per week. Regarding a possible mechanism for such a dramatic effect, toxicologists have shown that sweating is a major means of excreting both organochlorine pesticides2 and a variety of toxic metals including cadmium, lead, and aluminum.
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      • Cardiovascular and Other Health Benefits of Sauna Bathing: A Review of the Evidence
        Mayo Clinic ProceedingsVol. 93Issue 8
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          Sauna bathing, an activity that has been a tradition in Finland for thousands of years and mainly used for the purposes of pleasure and relaxation, is becoming increasingly popular in many other populations. Emerging evidence suggests that beyond its use for pleasure, sauna bathing may be linked to several health benefits, which include reduction in the risk of vascular diseases such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and neurocognitive diseases; nonvascular conditions such as pulmonary diseases; mortality; as well as amelioration of conditions such as arthritis, headache, and flu.
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