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Life Longevity And Sauna Bathing

What is life extension really about? Implicit in any longevity program is extending the quantity of chronological life and improving the quality of life. For many, this means creating a body that is free of disease, full of vitality, and an emotional stance that is both stable and joyful.

The pursuit of longevity can be broken down into two primary branches. First, creating a healthy physiological landscape that prevents high mortality rates due to disease and illness—second, altering and transforming how genes are expressed through proteins in a coherent and high-functioning cellular landscape.

Longevity is a complex topic. Many factors correlate indirectly and directly to the quantity and quality of life. From the geographical location, nutrition, and genetics, there are many aspects to consider.

There will always be considerations that fall out of the realm of immediate control, but with respect to the participatory actions an individual can take toward his or her longevity, regular sauna bathing emerges as a heavy hitter in the game of longevity.

For the sake of precision and clarity, this article has been divided into two primary compartments.

  • Factor #1: Reducing the risk of mortality from chronic disease and examining how and why regular sauna bathing may positively impact degenerative illness.
  • Factor # 2: The transformation of proteins, cellular, and intracellular expression through sauna bathing to alter the physiological makeup of each individual to promote longevity.

What Is Longevity And How Is It Defined?

In very simplistic terms, longevity refers to life expectancy. Increasing longevity, or the probability of living longer, involves two primary components: A) Reducing the risk of mortality and B) Altering the biological expression of age at a cellular level.

In tandem, both factors contribute to the expected longevity of the human species. While many correlative elements contribute to life expectancy, from genetics to nutrition, geographical location, access to modern medicine, and clean water. Each of these influences plays a significant role in determining an individual or community’s life expectancy. Another surprising factor that is deeply compelling for longevity is sauna bathing.

With over forty clinical studies on health and sauna bathing, research demonstrates impressive evidence in the field of sauna bathing and human biology that has accelerated over the past twenty years. This collection of data demonstrates that regular sauna bathing may powerfully and positively impact health in general and more specifically, longevity.

Factor # 1 Reducing Overall Mortality Risk With Sauna Bathing

  • mprove Insulin Sensitivity
  • Reduce Chronic Heart Failure & Hypertension
  • Improve Cardiovascular Function
  • Augment Circulation And Oxygenation Of The Body
  • Create Healthy Intracellular Communities Rich In Heat Shock Proteins

There is little action anyone can take outside of safety precautions and measures, so perhaps there ought to be a third-factor category labelled ‘Fate’. When it comes to maintaining a healthy body free of disease, sauna bathing certainly is a heavy hitter in any life extension program.

Consider two primary factors in determining life extension. The first is the ability to reduce the risk of mortality.  This concept, however, abides beyond the parameter of ‘life events’. If we can define ‘life events’ as, for example, motor vehicle accidents, natural disasters, crime, and other contributing causes of death that are not overtly health-related, meaning those occurrences outside of immediate control.

Sauna Bathing And Heart Health

“The cardiovascular effects of saunas have been well documented in the past. It lowers blood pressure, and there is every reason to believe its effects are good for blood vessels.”

Dr. Thomas Lee, a cardiologist from Harvard Medical, writes this. From heart disease to diabetes and a broad array of autoimmune diseases, many chronic illnesses respond positively to regular sauna bathing. Roughly 670,000 Americans die every year of heart-related diseases. As a general demographic, there is significant room for improvement in heart health.

While it is true that diet and other contributing lifestyle habits profoundly impact heart health, it is also true that regular sauna bathing demonstrates positive results for individuals living with chronic heart conditions. Moreover, it is relatively inexpensive, accessible, as well as enjoyable.

Establishing a healthy heart will undoubtedly be top of the list for anyone interested in longevity. In Harvard Medical Journal on Heart Disease Fatality reporting on a study involving individuals with cardiovascular disease, the authors write: “Frequent visits to a sauna were also associated with lower death rates from cardiovascular disease and stroke.”

Autoimmune Disorders And Sauna Bathing: Remission And Sauna Bathing

According to the National Institute Of Health, over 23.6 million Americans have autoimmune disorders. While many of the over 80 varieties of autoimmune disorders may not always be directly lethal, they can be debilitating and weaken immune defences that, ultimately increase mortality rates.

Sauna bathing capitalizes on the thermoregulatory trait of humans to continually find a balance of internal temperature. By this innate trait, a variety of the body’s systems are engaged to do this, including the triad of the autonomic nervous system, the hypothalamus (the emotional center of the brain), the pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands.

Many autoimmune disorders, although they exist without a concrete causative factor, can be traced back to overextension of sympathetic dominance, or more colloquially put, living in states of stress for too long depletes the health of the body. A depleted physical form inevitably begins to demonstrate illness and disease. Sauna bathing nurtures the autonomic nervous system by ushering states of being back into parasympathetic dominance, where cellular regeneration occurs, as well as healing of the body’s tissues.

Type II Diabetes And Sauna Bathing: Secretion Of Heat Shock Proteins Positively Affects Insulin Sensitivity

According to Dr. Philip L. Hooper of Colorado University Medical, in his published journal by the National Institute of Health, there is a strong correlation between full body thermal therapy, the production of Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs), and insulin sensitivity. He writes the following expanding on the relationship between this cascade of  biochemical change:

“t2DM (Type II Diabetes) is an age-related disease that reduces longevity and, in many ways, accelerates many of the features associated with aging. HSPs are thought to play a fundamental role in longevity and aging.” 

Research suggests that insulin sensitivity is low in tissues with fewer HSPs; this has a remarkable impact on both types of diabetes. This information suggests that as the number of HSPs increases in different body tissues, so too does insulin sensitivity. Increased insulin sensitivity directly impacts the expression of both types of diabetes. While it is true that all thermal therapy induces increased HSPs, meaning either plunging temperatures or elevated temperatures, the former is certainly a more comfortable option! 

For various reasons, sauna therapy in its many forms is more pleasurable, accessible, and possibly a safer means by which to increase the production of heat shock proteins than extreme cold therapies. The development of Type II diabetes drastically impacts longevity in a significant portion of global society.

Brain Degenerative Diseases And Sauna Bathing:

According to a Finnish study that followed twenty men between the ages of 42 and 60 years over a decade, researchers found that regular sauna bathing (at least three times per week) had a strong correlation with the reduction of the expression of brain degenerative diseases. The authors of the publicized journal entitle their work:

“Sauna bathing is inversely associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in middle-aged Finnish men”.

An estimated 46 million individuals were diagnosed worldwide in 2015 with some form of dementia. Deterioration of brain function significantly reduces life expectancy and quality of life. Many factors indeed contribute to progressive brain degenerative diseases, but it is remarkable the positive impact that regular sauna bathing has on preventing the development of dementia.

In addition, not only is sauna bathing effective, but it is also enjoyable and relies on the natural functions of biology. Indeed, with the wellspring of available health benefits associated with sauna bathing, its impact on Alzheimer’s and other brain degenerative diseases is astounding.

Factor # 2 Biological Age Versus Chronological Age: Genes, Proteins, And Cellular Expression

  • Heat Shock Proteins: Intracellular Health
  • Telomeres: The Longevity Protein Cap
  • FOX03: A Gene Necessary For Longevity
  • Autonomic Nervous System Health

Longevity is not only a matter of reducing mortality rate: Fundamental to any life extension program is the transformation of cellular composition, genetic expression, and a balanced autonomic nervous system that fosters the health of all tissues within the body’s systems.

What Is A Telomere, And How Does Its Length Affect Longevity? Ground Zero Of The Aging Process

Telomeres are the ‘caps’ that seal off the proteins at the end of every chromosome. Often likened to the plastic portion of a shoelace that keeps the lace from fraying at the end. Telomeres have three primary functions:

  • They help to organize each of the 46 chromosomes in the nucleus of the cell
  • They protect the ends of the chromosomes by forming a ‘cap.’ This ensures the proper fusion 
  • They allow cells to replicate properly during cell division

The demonstration of increased biological age can be brought back to ground zero. Are telomeres maintaining length?

Every time DNA is replicated, the chromosome strands are shortened. This is fine because the end caps, the telomeres, take the hit of being shortened. Once telomere length is shortened excessively, DNA itself begins to be affected without the protective barrier, and demonstrable aging occurs.

Expert Tip: Longevity could be summed up in one sentence: Maintain telomere length; Maintain Youth!

So if every time cellular replication occurs and telomere length shortens, how do we keep telomeres healthy and long? Here is where regular sauna bathing comes in. Yes, it can ensure telomere health by sweating it out in a warm cabin-like structure! This is great news.

The action of telomerase allows cells to keep reloading without aging. How can an individual encourage telomerase? What specific actions can be taken to ensure telomeres maintain their length? Creating a healthy atmosphere in the intracellular community is crucial.

A study performed by Brigham Young University revealed that individuals who were able to sweat at least three times a week profusely demonstrated significantly longer telomere length. 

Profuse regular perspiration is so critical because Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs) are produced in higher quantities. Singularly HSPs play a vital role in intracellular health. Often HSPs are considered protein chaperones; they escort, clean, and ensure a  healthy intracellular space void of excessive free radicals.

Through regular thermal, both hot and cold therapies, the body begins to produce more HSPs. This, in turn, aids in maintaining telomere length so that cellular replication can occur healthily without destruction to DNA.

Heat Shock Proteins, Telomere Length, And FOX03: The Longevity Cocktail

The triad of protein chaperones, protein end caps, and the longevity gene makes it possible to reduce the biological expression of age actively. Unfortunately, continued environmental stress may erode the efficacy of this triad.

When research is performed on the gene FOX03, changing the external environment to include more or fewer toxins directly affects the subject’s lifespan.

Authors of: ‘FOX03: A Major Gene For Human Longevity’ published by the National Institute of Health and authored by Dr. Brian J. Morris, write: “…Because of its actions and strategic position concerning intracellular pathways, FOX03 has long been considered to play a pivotal role in the molecular basis of longevity”

As a healthy intracellular community is crucial for the gene FOX03, it becomes clear why augmented production of HSPs, the protein chaperone, is critical. Further, detoxifying potentially harmful pathogens while engaged in regular sauna bathing is paramount to maintaining the integrity of FOX03. The production of HSPs that occurs while engaged in sauna therapy is necessary to maintain a healthy intracellular community and, therefore, the integrity of the longevity gene FOX03.

The Autonomic Nervous System And Longevity

“Oxidative stress: Accounts for the loss of 50-100 base pairs per cell division. The amount of oxidative stress in the body is thought to be affected by lifestyle factors such as diet, smoking, and stress.” 

Imperative to longevity is a balanced autonomic nervous system; this ensures that individuals remain in states of stress response for prolonged periods. As the leading cause of chronic illness, stress is not news, but how does this work?

Understand that all involuntary processes within the body, including heart rate, digestion, cellular regeneration, circulation, and the list goes on, all take direction from the autonomic nervous system, thus the autonomic.

Within this system of the body, two states of being can occur but are mutually exclusive. This means that when the adaptive portion of the autonomic nervous system swings into sympathetic dominance, or survival states, circulation, hormone secretion, mood, heart rate, and many other involuntary actions are all affected.

Survival depends upon the individual’s ability to release cortisol and adrenaline from the adrenal glands to perform extreme acts of fight or flight; however, if individuals remain in stress response for too long, the body’s health is eventually eroded.

Regeneration, healthy digestion, and cellular nourishment only occur when the autonomic nervous system is in parasympathetic dominance. This means that healthy cell replication can only occur in states of relaxation. Sauna bathing is an incredible tool that aids in coaxing the autonomic nervous system back into states of regeneration where health and, ultimately, longevity can be experienced.

Anyone interested in promoting their health must find both easy and accessible means of drawing the autonomic nervous system out of states of stress response back into relaxation.

Adrenaline overload is a primary correlative factor in almost all autoimmune disorders. When the body remains in stress response for prolonged periods, eventually, the adrenal glands break down. Consider the health of the endocrine system; pineal, pituitary, thyroid, adrenal, and reproductive glands. When this system is in balance, many health benefits occur; likewise, when the endocrine system is out of balance, there is an erosion of health, vitality, and longevity within the physical form.

Individuals looking for longevity protocol would do well to add regular sauna bathing to a well-balanced, healthy diet, clean water, and plenty of rest!

Criteria To Acquire Results Successfully: The ‘How To’ Of Sauna Bathing For Longevity

With over 40 peer-reviewed articles on sauna bathing and longevity, one thing is clear; to benefit from the results of sauna bathing, the therapy must be engaged regularly. This means a minimum of three times per week for fifteen minutes.

Yes, sauna bathing promises compelling results for human longevity, but you must be willing to commit to regular sauna protocol.

It is no wonder that sauna bathing in its many forms has existed since before recorded history. Science has now enabled a means to measure these astounding truths; from reducing mortality rates by aiding in the prevention and remission of chronic illness to enhancing protein health and genetic expression, sauna bathing may hold the key to the fountain of youth. Still, you must be willing to turn to your heat therapy several times a week! 

Is sauna bathing the elixir of life? Perhaps. Indeed, it has stood the test of time and scientific research. If you feel moved toward a longevity program for yourself, take some time to discover what form of sauna bathing suits your personality and lifestyle!

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