Those sweating it out four to seven times a week were 60 per cent less likely to have a stroke than people who took only one a week.
Researchers followed 1,628 people for an average of 15 years. Their average age was 63 and they had no history of stroke.
Their cholesterol, blood pressure and other factors that could affect the risk of a stroke were tested at the start.
During the study, 155 of the participants had a stroke. But the rate was highest in those who took only one sauna a week and lowest in those who took up to seven a week.
The study was held in Finland, where saunas originated and nearly every home has one.
Author Dr Setor Kunutsor, of the University of Bristol, called the findings “exciting”.
He said: “This activity that people use for relaxation and pleasure may also have beneficial effects on vascular health.”
But he said the study was based only on traditional Finnish saunas and the results cannot be applied to other treatments such as steam rooms and hot tubs.
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