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How the S. Korean Tradition of Sauna Bathing Can Help You Live Longer

How the S. Korean Tradition of Sauna Bathing Can Help You Live Longer

Sauna bathing has been a traditional norm in S. Korea for centuries. Here’s why you should adopt the practice.

Jjimjilbang, or public bathhouse, is a popular establishment throughout many cities in S. Korea. A typical bathhouse boasts showers, hot tubs, saunas, and massage tables. It’s also a social place with snack bars and heated floors for napping where both genders can enjoy conversation. Some are even the equivalent of a city gym because they have exercise rooms and wide-screen televisions. Others are even more impressive with built-in internet cafe-like rooms called “PC bang” and karaoke bars or “noraebang” where people can dine and sing karaoke.

Jjimjilbang can also serve as a cheap place to stay for men whose residences are outside the city. If they’re on a business trip, or are feeling tired after working overtime, they can drink with other employees, relax in the sauna, and then rent one of the sleeping rooms for the night. Most bathhouses are open 24 hours, making them convenient not just as cheap inns, but also as getaways for families.

Sauna Bathing Is Not Just for Pleasure, But for Health Too

The jjimjilbang is an integral part of S. Korean culture, but is sauna bathing a healthy activity? You’ll be happy to know the answer is yes!

Researchers found that regular sauna bathing can lower your chances of dying significantly the more frequent you go to a jjimjilbang per week. They found that only 49 percent of middle-aged men who sauna bathed once per week died within 20 years. But only 38 percent of the middle-aged men who sauna bathed twice or thrice per week died within the same time frame. What’s even more amazing – only 31 percent of the middle-aged men who sauna bathed every single day per week died in those two decades.

Doctors theorize that sauna bathing protects your heart and blood vessels, and has been found to lower blood pressure. It can also have beneficial effects against diabetes. Its stress-reducing qualities may also play a role in its mortality-lowering effects. Chronic stress has been found to increase your risk for many diseases, like insomnia, obesity, and heart and brain disorders too.

Start regularly sauna bathing every week. If you go everyday, you’ll boost your longevity and protect your cardiovascular system. If you’re fortunate enough to live where there is a jjimjilbang like in S. Korea, then you can also make new friends and have fun using their entertainment facilities!

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