800px-Highgrove_SaunaBack in the day, when Frank, Dean, Joey, Peter and Sammy wanted to work up a sweat, they never thought about going for a run. Instead, they took a steam.

This is the no-muss-no-fuss way to work up a healthy glow and get the blood flowing without having to lace up a pair of Adidas.

And now we find out that the boys were really on to something and were just a little ahead of their time. Having a frequent sauna reduces the risk of a cardiovascular event and results in better circulatory function, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s Internal Medicine.

The news comes from researchers at the University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, where 2,315 men between the ages of 42 and 60 were studied for incidents of sudden cardiac death (SCD) and fatal cardiovascular diseases. Over 21 years, the risk of SCD was 22 percent lower for men who had two to three sauna sessions per week compared with those who had just one.

The risk of a fatal coronary heart disease event was a whopping 48 percent lower among men who took a steam four to seven times a week compared to those who only did one.

“The amount of time spent in the sauna seemed to matter too,” Jama reported on its Jamanetwork website. “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.”

In a 2013 feature on saunas, the BBC interviewed a Helsinki man who spent three hours a day in the sauna six days a week. “Finns say the sauna is a poor man’s pharmacy,” he told the British news agency. “If a sick person is not cured by tar, spirits or sauna, then they will die.”

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HERE’S A CHEERY STUDY: Individual health care premiums purchased in states that rely on the federal health insurance exchange could jump an avearge of 255 percent if the Supreme Court sides with the plaintiffs in this summer’s King v. Burwell case. Some people could see premium hikes of up to 774 percent, according to the study by a healthcare research group, Avalere.

The plaintiffs argue that Obamacare subsidies are illegal in states that don’t have a state-run exchange due to a flubbed wording by Congress. in the original 2010 law. Eighty-seven percent of federal exchange customers receive a subsidy, Avalere said, which amounts to about 7.5 million Americans. Most of them would be exempt from a tax penalty, however, due to their income.

Avalere’s Elizabeth Carpenter said: “Loss of premium subsidies in federally run exchanges would mean that many exchange consumers will be exempt from the individual mandate. Moreover, because the employer mandate is tied to employees claiming a premium subsidy, it would also undermine employer responsibility requirements in those areas.”

In fact, there’s reason to believe that a ruling for the plaintiffs would impact all health insurance premiums, even those that aren’t subsidized, since the entire basis for the Affordable Care Act is to allow insurers to spread around the risk by getting young people on board.

Photo by Todtanis via Wikimedia Commons

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