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How You Deal With Stress is the Number One Contributor to Your Mortality

Our Cortisol Slope, via Our Relationship to Stress, is The Greatest Predictor of Total Mortality

A fascinating video (linked at the bottom) from Food Matters TV during their recent Sleep and Stress Online Event chatting with Dr Alan Chritianson discussing the relationship with stress and mortality and highlighted some findings from the Whitehall II study in the UK, which revealed that for cardiovascular mortality, cigarette smoking was the number one predictor of mortality, with cortisol slope (via our relationship to stress) following closely behind. They also compares these with the usual health metrics such as exercise levels, blood pressure, cholesterol levels etc. etc.

Yet, for overall mortality, cortisol slope was the highest predictor of mortality.

The implications for this on how to prioritise your health incentives are huge – Dr Christianson, said these results hit him like a tonne of bricks. You could be a non smoker, non-alcohol drinking, clean food eating, exercise loving health nut, yet if your relationship with stress, or how you deal with stress is dysfunctional, it could make you ill or kill you quicker than a smoking, drinking, junk food eating couch potato who doesn’t get overly stressed too much. That sucks!!

These results basically suggest that, whilst it is important to focus on our nutrition, exercise, alcohol consumption, eliminating cigarette smoking etc. for our health, we should make how we deal with stress our number one priority.

Fortunately, two of the modalities I use with clients focus one exactly that.

  1. Diaphragmatic breathing – of all of the automatic functions that our body performs, breathing is the only one that we can consciously control, with ease. And the same nervous system that regulates our automatic functions (including breathing), the autonomic nervous system (ANS), is also the same nervous system that regulates stress. Moreover, most of us breathe in emergency mode, far too quickly, with an exhale to inhale ratio that is out of whack, so we end up in permanent emergency mode, or ‘fight or flight’ functioning. By learning how to diaphragm breathe in certain rhythms, we can get out of emergency, or ‘fight or flight’ mode, and restore a nervous system that is more restful and relaxed, than it is on the go.
  2. Mickel Therapy – this technique, which is far from therapy as you might think of it, is an ‘action based’ technique that focuses on restoring harmony and optimal function to the ‘hypothalamus’ gland in our brain stem, which is the gland responsible for regulating the function or our autonomic nervous system, and therefore our stress response, all automatic and endocrine gland functions of our body, our immune system, our sleep cycles, neurotransmitter levels and many other bodily functions. It is like the ‘general’ of our bodily functions and it’s job is to maintain homeostasis, or efficient, healthy functioning of our body. It is also like a link between our brain and our body. A healthy relationship with stress requires, at the highest levels of our functioning (in our brain) a healthy relationship between our instinctive, emotional brain (which registers threats to our system and, therefore, stress) and our thinking, or rational brain (which, ideally, interprets the signals of stress sent by the emotional brain, negative emotions, and creates actions to deal with them). This allows us to functionally deal with stress as it arises. However, we ‘modern’ humans have created a huge mismatch between the bodies we have inherited (from our hunter gatherer ancestors) and the culture we have created, and this mismatch leads this healthy relationship in our brain between our instinctive emotions and our thinking, to break down. The result being that rather than dealing with stress functionally, most of us, most of the time, suppress it; and the hypothalamus is the gland in the body that first deals with this suppressed stress, causing it to go into overdrive. The follow on effect of this is that homeostasis within our body is upset and our automatic functions start to go into emergency mode, resulting often in symptoms of acute and/or chronic illness.

Hopefully these explanations may shed some light on why our relationship to stress is the number one predictor of overall mortality.

If you would like to explore using these modalities to improve your relationship with stress, overcome any chronic illness that you believe stress may play a role in (CFS, Fibromylagia, IBS, Anxiety/Depression, Auto-Immune etc), or you would like to explore increasing your quality of life, or the duration between now and your inevitable mortality :-), then contact me via tim@timaltman.com.au or call 0425 739 918.

https://www.facebook.com/foodmatters/videos/10154761999126570/

 

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Scientists Suggest A Possible Blood Test Diagnosis for CFS

Article: ‘Yuppie flu’ an inflammatory disease which blood test could easily diagnose, say scientists.’

The article above (and linked below) by science editor of the Telegraph newspaper in the UK, Sarah Knapton suggests that:

“Chronic fatigue syndrome is an inflammatory disease which could soon be diagnosed through a simple blood test, scientists have said.

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine discovered that people suffering the symptoms of CFS show spikes in 17 proteins produced by the immune system. The bigger the rises, the more severe the condition.”

Given that diagnosis of CFS, Fibomyalgia, ME, Post Viral Syndrome, Adrenal Fatigue (or whatever name you choose to label it) has always been so difficult to diagnose (in fact, it is a diagnosed by exclusion, meaning that everything else yielding similar symptoms that can be diagnosed via a number of tests is ruled out), this is great news.

The failure, or difficulty in diagnosis of CFS, and therefore the failure to recognise this condition as an actual, or legitimate illness by much of the medical community, and the general public, has led to untold suffering and frustration over extended periods of time for those unfortunate enough to live with this illness.

Knapton says: “But for decades the illness was largely dismissed by skeptics as ‘yuppie flu’ because no cause could be found.”

So often clients present to doctors and health practitioners feeling extremely helpless, frustrated and depressed, and to have the medical professional offer them anti-depressants as the only, or main solution, is extremely offensive, and frequently exacerbates their feeling of helplessness, frustration and depression.

So, the news that this condition may be diagnosed via a blood test in the future is very positive.

However, I remain very wary about being overly optimistic as, whilst a faster and simple diagnosis may lead to more universal acceptance of this illness, which is extremely positive, it is highly unlikely to remove the sense of helplessness and depression sufferers feel as the diagnosis as an inflammatory illness will not make conventional medicine and science any more capable of providing a cure or treatment solution.

The mainstream medical approach, by and large, merely palliates inflammatory ailments (also including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity etc.) rather than eliminating or curing them. And, the anti-inflammatory drugs used invariably result in a myriad of side effects that can be as uncomfortable as the original, condition itself.

To create an effective treatment, or a cure, we need to take a step back from biochemistry and pharmacology, and look at what causes these conditions in the first place. And the answer lies more in genetics and anthropology.

Evolution takes a long, long time. In fact, research suggests it takes 40-100,000 years for a change in our environment to be fully assimilated by our bodies. What this means is that the body we have inherited is that of our hunter gatherer ancestors some 40,000 years ago, or more. In short, our body still thinks we are wandering the bush.

We were built to eat food directly from the source, exercise a lot in order to survive, live in social, supportive tribal settings where our only biological needs were to stay safe, comfortable, fed and happy. We did not live in isolated family homes, watching screens for entertainment, sit a lot, eat highly processed foods with as many chemicals as nutrients, have expectations to succeed, earn large incomes, have mortgages, or spend most of our day working. In fact, research has suggested the average hunter gatherer culture worked only 15-25 hours per week (hunting and gathering). The rest spent in leisure, or family/tribe time.

We have developed our culture so quickly, that we have created a mismatch between the body we have inherited and the culture we have created. Address and rectify the mismatch, and the biochemistry and physiology of the body will be optimised, and the body will return to ideal health. It’s that simple, yet it requires a thorough approach.

My favourite quote, that beautifully summarises this dilemma is as follows:

“We didn’t evolve to be healthy, but instead we were selected to have as many offspring as possible under diverse, challenging conditions. As a consequence, we never evolved to make rational choices about what to eat or how to exercise in conditions of abundance or comfort. What’s more, interactions between the bodies we inherited, the environment we create, and the decisions we sometimes make have set in motion an insidious feedback loop. We get sick from chronic diseases by doing what we evolved to do but under conditions for which our bodies are poorly adapted, and we then pass on those same conditions to our children, who also then get sick. If we wish to halt this vicious circle then we need to figure out how to respectfully and sensibly nudge, push and sometimes oblige ourselves to eat foods that promote health and to be more physically active. That too, is what we evolved to do.” Daniel Lieberman, ‘The Story of the Human Body. Evolution, Health & Disease.’

My complete recovery from CFS over 20 years was achieved by this approach. That is, addressing the factors of living that influence our health and performance, and comparing how we we’re built to perform these, with how we actually do it nowadays. This process oriented approach was extremely thorough, and yielded a permanent outcome, that far better than I believed could have been possible (prior to treatment). In fact, I became far healthier than I ever was prior; and continue to be so. Exploration of the upper limits of health and performance have been a focus for myself and many clients ever since.

Subsequently, my approach to clinic work, specialising in CFS has also focused on this methodology. In treating a client, I aim to correct any imbalance in the following aspects of living, that then restore the person back to full health. I have found this approach far more effective than a reactive approach aimed out eliminating individual symptoms, or an approach using product to attend to theoretical deficiencies. The modalities I use include:

  1. How we process stress via the hypothalamus addressing the relationship between our rational, thinking brain and our instinctive, emotional brain via Mickel Therapy. This technique has been incredibly potent in yielding complete resolutions as it addresses the highest or root cause of chronic illness.

    mickel therapy

  2. How we eat and drink based on our understanding of how our hunter gatherer ancestors ate and drank.

  3. How we breathe – via Breathing Dynamics. Most people do not realise that we invariably over breathe (too often and too much volume) compared to how we should (or what we are built for). And this affects not only our energy production, but a number of other functions throughout the body.

  4. How we rest and rejuvenate – via relaxation, meditation, sauna therapy, detox/fasting etc.

  5. How we sleep.

  6. Also using herbs as medicines.

If you suffer from CFS, fibromyalgia, post viral syndrome, ME, adrenal fatigue, IBS, anxiety, depression or any other chronic ailment and would like to be free of it, feel free to book in the calendar on this website, or email tim@timaltman.com.au.

Or, if you have any further questions, please call +61 425 739 918.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/07/31/yuppie-flu-inflammatory-disease-blood-test-could-easily-diagnose/

 

 

Ketogenic Diet

Ketogenic Diets Offer Significant Benefits for Mental Health: A Research Review

Ketogenic Diets for Psychiatric Disorders: A New 2017 Review

Where the science stands, and what it means for you.

The linked article (below) is a summary by Dr Georgia Ede on a recent review article The Current Status of the Ketogenic Diet in Psychiatry by researchers at the University of Tasmania in Australia [Bostock et al 2017 Front Psychiatry 20(8)]  that updates the status on research of ketogenic diets and mental health.
Quoted here is Dr Ede’s definition of a ketogenic diet: “Definitions vary, but what all ketogenic diets have in common is that they are very low in carbohydrate (typically 20 grams per day or less) and relatively high in fat. The goal is to lower blood sugar and insulin levels; when these are nice and low, the body naturally turns to fat (instead of sugar) as its primary source of energy. Most ketogenic diets also limit protein (to no more than the body requires), because excess protein can raise blood sugar and insulin levels to some extent. Body fat and fat from the diet then break down into ketones, which travel through the bloodstream and can be burned by various cells throughout the body, including most brain cells. Ketone levels rise in the blood, urine and breath within days, and can be measured using various home test methods, but it can take weeks for the body to become efficient at burning fat for energy, and for full benefits to be realized.”

Dr Ede, adds: ”Ketogenic diets have been around for about 100 years, and have proved to be invaluable tools in the treatment of stubborn neurological conditions, most notably epilepsy. They have also shown promise in the management of other brain-based disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, ALS, Traumatic Brain Injury, Multiple Sclerosis, and chronic headaches, as well as in metabolic disorders like obesity, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

But where does the science currently stand on the ketogenic diet and psychiatric disorders like bipolar disorderschizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s Disease?”

The review of research suggests benefits to a number of psychological conditions, in addition to the extensive research on epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, ALS, MS, chronic headaches, obesity, cancer & Type 2 diabetes. Whilst, in many cases further research needs to be done to make these findings more definitive, these additional conditions include:

  1. Bipolar Disorder
  2. Schizophrenia
  3. Anxiety
  4. Depression
  5. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  6. ADHD
  7. Alzheimer’s Disease.

I have used controlled ketogenic diets in clinic for over 15 years and have found them extremely effective for weight loss, raising energy levels, regulating and lowering blood sugar levels, improving sleep quality, and reducing inflammation and chronic pain.

If you are interested in investigating ketogenic diets further for your general health or health condition, or would like to book in to start a program, please email me at tim@timaltman.com.au or call 0425 739 918.

 

Tim Altman Naturopath

Breathing Interview – ABC Radio National ‘Saturday Afternoon’

Recently I was interviewed on the subject of breathing for health and well-being by a former client, Joel Spry, who overcame IBS and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), on his Saturday afternoon session on ABC Radio National.

We combined breathing retraining techniques and Mickel Therapy to treat Joel, and he applied everything with openness and enthusiasm (along with some trepidation initially, which is expected), and fully earned the full recovery he achieved.

It was a pleasure to work with a client who was very inspiring in his openness and application to his treatment.

And now he is working on national radio!! Woohoo.

No stopping Joel now.

Here is the interview..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsDO1umJLfA&spfreload=10

Gluten

Opinion Article: The Myth of Big Bad Gluten

A very interesting article that suggests, bases on research available, gluten may not be as evil is suggested so often in the modern world.

Rather than it being that our bodies have not adapted at all to grain as yet, it is possible that the cause of the dramatic increase in Coeliac’s disease and immune system dysfunction in the modern world has more to do with the impact on cultures and environments we have exposed our immune systems to since we moved away from hunter gatherer living.

Food for thought 🙂 ……

 

Obesity

Research: Consuming more of daily caloric intake at dinner predisposes to obesity.

Consuming more of daily caloric intake at dinner predisposes to obesity. A 6-year population-based prospective cohort study.

Linked below is a study confirming the old adage “Breakfast like the king/queen, dinner like a pauper”.

Quoted here is the conclusion: “Consuming more of the daily energy intake at dinner is associated with an increased risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and non-alcohol fatty liver disease (NAFLD).”

Well, technically this study only suggests the second part – ‘dinner like a pauper’. Or, certainly not a king or queen.

However plenty of studies have found that those who make their breakfast (or first meal of the day) their most substantial meal, they eat better and less for the next 24 hours.

I certainly have found consistently with clients in clinic that eating substantially at breakfast and less at dinner is much better for regulating blood sugar levels, having even and consistent energy throughout the day, and definitely helps to stay lean or lose weight.

Most clients who come to see me often really understand what foods are good, and not good, however many of these people simply do not know how to put together their daily nutrition to get the most out of themselves. They may be eating organic foods, and consuming lots of ‘super-nutrients’ (I quietly hate that term), but so often they don’t regulate their blood sugar levels, so end up having sporadic energy levels and mental functioning, and can often battle to keep prevent weight gain.

If you feel you would like help in working out the best way to plan your daily nutrition, please email me at tim@timaltman.com.au or phone 0425 739 918.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25250617

Nutrition for energy and performance

TED Talk: Research Reveals Nutrition Improves Mental Health Better Than Prescription Medication

A great TED talk and article outlining that good nutrition is often more potent than medication.  It doesn’t just stop at mental health.

The findings cross over to longevity, chronic illness and the immune system.

If you want to get the most out of your nutrition and yourself, email me at tim@timaltman.com.au or call to book on 0425 739 918

In the mean time, it’s definitely worth watching this great TED talk

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Resilience Is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure

Article: Resilience Is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure

A great article (linked below) in the Harvard Business Review by Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan discussing resilience and where it actually comes from.

Too often resilience is misunderstood by a conditioning we are subject to from a young age that if we endure, or push through, that will make us mentally tough and resilient. The following quote from the author’s beautifully sums up this misconception, and the impact it is has on our health and lives:

“We often take a militaristic, “tough” approach to resilience and grit. We imagine a Marine slogging through the mud, a boxer going one more round, or a football player picking himself up off the turf for one more play. We believe that the longer we tough it out, the tougher we are, and therefore the more successful we will be. However, this entire conception is scientifically inaccurate.

The very lack of a recovery period is dramatically holding back our collective ability to be resilient and successful. Research has found that there is a direct correlation between lack of recovery and increased incidence of health and safety problems. And lack of recovery — whether by disrupting sleep with thoughts of work or having continuous cognitive arousal by watching our phones — is costing our companies $62 billion a year (that’s billion, not million) in lost productivity.

And just because work stops, it doesn’t mean we are recovering. We “stop” work sometimes at 5PM, but then we spend the night wrestling with solutions to work problems, talking about our work over dinner, and falling asleep thinking about how much work we’ll do tomorrow. In a study released last month, researchers from Norway found that 7.8% of Norwegians have become workaholics. The scientists cite a definition of “workaholism” as “being overly concerned about work, driven by an uncontrollable work motivation, and investing so much time and effort to work that it impairs other important life areas.”

It is highly likely that the rates of ‘workaholism’ are far higher in countries such as Australia, England and the USA.

In the work I have done with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibomyalgia, IBS, anxiety and other chronic illnesses using Mickel Therapy and a variety of techniques, I regularly see a person’s homeostasis (or internal state of balance or regularity) being pushed way out of balance. The imbalance then sees the person in state of what we would describe as ‘hypothalamitis’, or permanently in a state of ‘fight or flight’. The impact of this is that the person is constantly running in emergency mode, leading to them being internally, and therefore externally, exhausted, or in pain. It is like they are running a continual, permanent ‘biochemical marathon’ internally. No wonder they display symptoms of chronic illness!!  Their resilience has been completed depleted.

As a result, we incorporate regular actions in their daily life that rejuvenate or balance them. They are the actions that bring them joy or pleasure, engage or stimulate them, or get them out of their heads. We call it the fun list or joy list.

The idea being to balance work, chores and the things we have to do, with something more rewarding or enjoyable afterwards. According to the approach of this article, this will recharge us, and increase our resilience. And balance. And therefore energy levels increase, pain decreases, we feel happier and our body achieves homeostasis – or health.

It makes sense from an evolutionary perspective given that research of hunter gatherer cultures has revealed that are designed or built to work 15-25 hours per week max. The rest is spent in leisure. That is balanced.

Compare that to the culture we have created and the wok ethic that gets conditioned into most of us, and it is not surprising that many of us end up with poor resilience, exhausted, burnt out, unhappy and chronically ill.

If you feel any of the above, or this blog resonated with you, feel free to email me on tim@timaltman.com.au or phone 0425 739 918, to book in or see whether the techniques I use to optimise health, energy and happiness would be helpful for you.

https://hbr.org/2016/06/resilience-is-about-how-you-recharge-not-how-you-endure

 

Barrel Sauna

Research: Frequent Sauna Bathing May Protect Men Against Dementia, Finnish Study Suggests

Another great article in Science Daily featuring research on the benefits of sauna therapy. Again, I’ve included the whole article and the link below.

“Frequent sauna bathing can reduce the risk of dementia, according to a recent study carried out at the University of Eastern Finland. In a 20-year follow-up, men taking a sauna 4-7 times a week were 66% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those taking a sauna once a week. The association between sauna bathing and dementia risk has not been previously investigated.

The effects of sauna bathing on the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia were studied in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD), involving more than 2,000 middle-aged men living in the eastern part of Finland. Based on their sauna-bathing habits, the study participants were divided into three groups: those taking a sauna once a week, those taking a sauna 2-3 times a week, and those taking a sauna 4-7 times a week.

The more frequently saunas were taken, the lower was the risk of dementia. Among those taking a sauna 4-7 times a week, the risk of any form of dementia was 66% lower and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease 65% lower than among those taking a sauna just once a week. The findings were published recently in the Age and Ageing journal.

Previous results from the KIHD study have shown that frequent sauna bathing also significantly reduces the risk of sudden cardiac death, the risk of death due to coronary artery disease and other cardiac events, as well as overall mortality. According to Professor Jari Laukkanen, the study leader, sauna bathing may protect both the heart and memory to some extent via similar, still poorly known mechanisms. “However, it is known that cardiovascular health affects the brain as well. The sense of well-being and relaxation experienced during sauna bathing may also play a role.”

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161216114143.htm


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Eastern Finland. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tanjaniina Laukkanen, Setor Kunutsor, Jussi Kauhanen, Jari Antero Laukkanen. Sauna bathing is inversely associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in middle-aged Finnish men. Age and Ageing, December 2016 DOI: 10.1093/ageing/afw212

Cite This Page:

University of Eastern Finland. “Frequent sauna bathing may protect men against dementia, Finnish study suggests.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161216114143.htm>.

 

Sauna 2.7_Barrel_front_blog

Research: Sauna Use Associated with Reduced Risk of Cardiac, All-Cause Mortality.

A great article in Science Daily outlining a study conducted by Dr Jari A. Laukkanen, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio on the benefits of saunas on health.

I’m such a fan of saunas myself, and they have made such a positive impact on my health and well-being, that I’m going to include the whole article here, as well as link it below.

If you would like to explore the incredible and surprising levels of health your body can experience when living the way we were designed to, the contact me on tim@timaltman.com.au or 0425 739 918 to book in a consultation.

“A sauna may do more than just make you sweat. A new study suggests men who engaged in frequent sauna use had reduced risks of fatal cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Although some studies have found sauna bathing to be associated with better cardiovascular and circulatory function, the association between regular sauna bathing and risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) and fatal cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is not known.

Jari A. Laukkanen, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, and coauthors investigated the association between sauna bathing and the risk of SCD, fatal coronary heart disease (CHD), fatal CVD and all-cause mortality in a group of 2,315 middle-aged men (42 to 60 years old) from eastern Finland.

Results show that during a median (midpoint) follow-up of nearly 21 years, there were 190 SCDs, 281 fatal CHDs, 407 fatal CVDs and 929 deaths from all causes. Compared with men who reported one sauna bathing session per week, the risk of SCD was 22 percent lower for 2 to 3 sauna bathing sessions per week and 63 percent lower for 4 to 7 sauna sessions per week. The risk of fatal CHD events was 23 percent lower for 2 to 3 bathing sessions per week and 48 percent lower for 4 to 7 sauna sessions per week compared to once a week. CVD death also was 27 percent lower for men who took saunas 2 to 3 times a week and 50 percent lower for men who were in the sauna 4 to 7 times a week compared with men who indulged just once per week. For all-cause mortality, sauna bathing 2 to 3 times per week was associated with a 24 percent lower risk and 4 to 7 times per week with a 40 percent reduction in risk compared to only one sauna session per week.

The amount of time spent in the sauna seemed to matter too. Compared with men who spent less than 11 minutes in the sauna, the risk of SCD was 7 percent lower for sauna sessions of 11 to 19 minutes and 52 percent less for sessions lasting more than 19 minutes. Similar associations were seen for fatal CHDs and fatal CVDs but not for all-cause mortality events.

“Further studies are warranted to establish the potential mechanism that links sauna bathing and cardiovascular health,” the study concludes.

Editor’s Note: Health Benefits of Sauna Bathing

In a related Editor’s Note, Rita F. Redberg, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, and editor-in-chief of JAMA Internal Medicine, writes: “Although we do not know why the men who took saunas more frequently had greater longevity (whether it is the time spent in the hot room, the relaxation time, the leisure of a life that allows for more relaxation time or the camaraderie of the sauna), clearly time spent in the sauna is time well spent.”

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150223122602.htm

 


Story Source:

Materials provided by The JAMA Network Journals. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tanjaniina Laukkanen, Hassan Khan, Francesco Zaccardi, Jari A. Laukkanen. Association Between Sauna Bathing and Fatal Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality Events. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2015; DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8187

 

 

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150223122602.htm