Created September 23, 2023, last updated 3 months ago.
Collection: 164, Score: 26, Trend score: 0, Read count: 107, Articles count: 10, Created: 2023-09-23 10:30:27 UTC. Updated: 2023-09-23 10:37:57 UTC.
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This review is based on a multiple database survey on published literature to determine the effects on health following voluntary exposure to cold-water immersion (CWI) in humans. After a filtering process 104 studies were regarded relevant. Many studies demonstrated significant effects of CWI on various physiological and biochemical parameters. ⋯ Whether winter swimmers as a group are naturally healthier is unclear. Some of the studies indicate that voluntary exposure to cold water has some beneficial health effects. However, without further conclusive studies, the topic will continue to be a subject of debate.
Randomized Controlled Trial Clinical Trial
Whole-body cryotherapy (WBC; -110 degrees C) and winter swimming (WS) in ice-cold water are severe ambient cold exposures, which are voluntarily practiced by humans in minimal clothing. The purpose was to examine thermal sensation and thermal comfort associated with WBC and WS. Twenty women similar in body mass index, age, physical activity, and use of hormonal contraception were pairwise randomized either to the WBC group or the WS group. ⋯ In the WBC group, cold sensation was less intense already after the second exposure. In conclusion, repeated exposures to WBC and WS in healthy women were mostly well tolerated and comfortable. The results indicate that during repeated severe whole-body cold stress of short duration, thermal sensation and comfort become habituated during the first exposures.
Thermoregulation in control subjects and cold-adapted winter swimmers was examined during 1 h of cold water immersion (13 C). It was found that the thermoregulatory functions of winter swimmers differ from those of non-cold-adapted subjects. As evident from the relationship between rectal temperature and the magnitude of cold thermogenesis, in controls a significant part of cold thermogenesis during the early phase of cooling was induced by changes in peripheral temperature input, while in the late phase of cooling it was the central temperature input which was mainly engaged in induction of cold thermogenesis. ⋯ Additionally, the capacity of the total cold thermogenesis due to potentiation of non-shivering heat production was also increased. Heat produced due to thermogenic action of adrenaline may represent more than a quarter of the total cold thermogenesis. In conclusion, the data suggest that winter swimmers exhibit metabolic, hypothermic and insulative types of cold adaptation.
Cold water submersion can induce a high incidence of cardiac arrhythmias in healthy volunteers. Submersion and the release of breath holding can activate two powerful and antagonistic responses: the 'cold shock response' and the 'diving response'. ⋯ We propose that the strong and simultaneous activation of the two limbs of the autonomic nervous system ('autonomic conflict') may account for these arrhythmias and may, in some vulnerable individuals, be responsible for deaths that have previously wrongly been ascribed to drowning or hypothermia. In this review, we consider the evidence supporting this claim and also hypothesise that other environmental triggers may induce autonomic conflict and this may be more widely responsible for sudden death in individuals with other predisposing conditions.
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. ⋯ This review summarizes the available epidemiological, experimental, and interventional evidence linking Finnish sauna bathing and its effects on cardiovascular outcomes and other disease conditions on the basis of a comprehensive search for observational studies, randomized controlled trials, and non-randomized controlled trials from MEDLINE and EMBASE from their inception until February 24, 2018. An overview of the postulated biological mechanisms underlying the associations between sauna bathing and its health benefits, areas of outstanding uncertainty, and implications for clinical practice is also provided.
Environmental stress such as extremely warm or cold temperature is often considered a challenge to human health and body homeostasis. However, the human body can adapt relatively well to heat and cold environments, and recent studies have also elucidated that particularly heat stress might be even highly beneficial for human health. Consequently, the aim of the present brief review is first to discuss general cardiovascular and other responses to acute heat stress, followed by a review of beneficial effects of Finnish sauna bathing on general and cardiovascular health and mortality as well as dementia and Alzheimer's disease risk. ⋯ In addition to heat exposure with physiological adaptations, cold stress-induced physiological responses and brown fat activation on health are also discussed. This is important to take into consideration, as sauna bathing is frequently associated with cooling periods in cold(er) environments, but their combination remains poorly investigated. We finally propose, therefore, that possible additive effects of heat- and cold-stress-induced adaptations and effects on health would be worthy of further investigation.
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a global public health burden accounting for 15-20% of all deaths. Though established atherosclerotic risk factors explain a large proportion of the risk of SCD, these factors are often absent in a large proportion of SCD victims and the pathogenesis of SCD is still not fully established. It therefore appears that additional factors may be involved. ⋯ Sauna bathing is generally safe for most healthy people and even among patients with stable CVD, if used sensibly and with caution. Plausible pathways underlying the protective effect of sauna bathing on SCD may be linked to the impact on CV function via reduced arterial stiffness, decreases in inflammation and oxidative stress, stabilization of the autonomic nervous system, beneficial changes in circulating lipid profiles and other CVD risk markers, and lowering of systemic blood pressure. Sauna is a potential novel tool to promote SCD prevention in addition to other known means, being an enjoyable way to take care of general health and well-being.
Sauna bathing is a health habit associated with better hemodynamic function; however, the association of sauna bathing with cardiovascular and all-cause mortality is not known. ⋯ Increased frequency of sauna bathing is associated with a reduced risk of SCD, CHD, CVD, and all-cause mortality. Further studies are warranted to establish the potential mechanism that links sauna bathing and cardiovascular health.
Sauna bathing, a tradition deeply rooted in the Finnish culture, has been used for thousands of years for leisure, relaxation, and wellness. Sauna bathing is linked with substantial health benefits beyond its use for leisure and relaxation. Several observational and interventional studies suggest that regular or frequent sauna bathing reduces the incidence of vascular and nonvascular diseases, such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and respiratory conditions; may improve the severity of conditions such as musculoskeletal disorders, COVID-19, headache, and influenza; and increases the life span. ⋯ Evidence suggests that frequent sauna bathing is an emerging protective risk factor that may augment the beneficial effects of other protective risk or lifestyle factors, such as physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness, or attenuate or offset the adverse effects of other risk factors, such as high blood pressure, systemic inflammation, and low socioeconomic status. This review summarizes the available epidemiologic and interventional evidence linking the combined effects of Finnish sauna bathing and other risk factors on vascular outcomes including cardiovascular disease and intermediate cardiovascular phenotypes, nonvascular outcomes, and mortality. We also discuss the mechanistic pathways underlying the joint contributions of Finnish sauna bathing and other risk factors on health outcomes, the public health and clinical implications of the findings, gaps in the existing evidence base, and future directions.
Review Comparative Study
Both cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and frequency of sauna bathing (FSB) are each strongly and independently associated with sudden cardiac death (SCD) risk. However, the combined effect of CRF and FSB on SCD risk has not been previously investigated. We evaluated the joint impact of CRF and FSB on the risk of SCD in the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease prospective cohort study of 2291 men aged 42-61 years at recruitment. ⋯ Comparing high vs low FSB, the corresponding HR was 0.67 (0.46-0.98). Compared to men with low CRF & low FSB, the multivariate-adjusted HRs of SCD for the following groups: high CRF & high FSB; high CRF & low FSB; and low CRF & high FSB were 0.31 (0.16-0.63), 0.49 (0.34-0.70), and 0.71 (0.45-1.10) respectively. In a general male Caucasian population, the combined effect of high aerobic fitness (as measured by CRF) and frequent sauna baths is associated with a substantially lowered risk of future SCD compared with high CRF or frequent sauna bathing alone.
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