The music video was directed by Michael Bentele and pictures Sandra performing the song in a steamy sauna, surrounded by bare-chested men. The clip was released on Sandra's VHS video compilations Ten on One (The Singles) and 18 Greatest Hits, released in 1987 and 1992, respectively, as well as the 2003 DVD The Complete History.
Bathing oneself in heat for the purposes of purification, cleansing, and healing is an ancient practice, dating back thousands of years and observed across many cultures. Variations of its use are seen today in the banyas of Russia, the sweat lodges of the American Indians, and, most famously, the saunas of Finland.
In recent decades, sauna bathing has emerged as a means to increase lifespan and improve overall health, based on compelling data from observational, interventional, and mechanistic studies. Of particular interest are the findings from studies of participants in the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) Study, an ongoing prospective population-based cohort study of health outcomes in more than 2,300 middle-aged men from eastern Finland, which identified strong links between sauna use and reduced death and disease.
The KIHD also revealed that frequent sauna use reduced the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's disease in a dose-dependent manner. Men who used the sauna four to seven times per week had a 66 percent lower risk of developing dementia and a 65 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, compared to men who used the sauna only one time per week.
The health benefits associated with sauna use extended to other aspects of mental health, as well. Men participating in the KIHD study who used the sauna four to seven times per week were 77 percent less likely to develop psychotic disorders, regardless of the men's dietary habits, socioeconomic status, physical activity, and inflammatory status (as measured by C-reactive protein).
"Men who used the sauna 4-7 times per week were 77% less likely to develop psychotic disorders, regardless of the men's dietary habits, socioeconomic status, physical activity, and inflammatory status." Click To Tweet
Infrared heaters emit thermal radiation, which heats the body directly while also warming the surrounding air. They operate at lower temperatures than traditional saunas, at 45°C to 60°C (113°F to 140°F). Infrared heaters emit either near or far wavelengths. Near infrared heaters use incandescent bulbs to produce thermal radiation of varying wavelengths, ranging from near-infrared wavelengths (primarily) to middle-infrared wavelengths (to a lesser degree). Far infrared heaters use ceramic or metallic heating elements that emit energy in the far-infrared range, which is similar to energy produced by the sun.
Finnish-style sauna bathing involves one to three sessions of heat exposure lasting five to 20 minutes each, interspersed with periods of cooling. Some cooling methods can be rather extreme and involve rolling in snow or immersing in cold water, which further stresses the cardiovascular system. Sauna poses little risk of cardiovascular complications in healthy people, however.
The KIHD studies that found a dose-dependent reduction in cardiovascular-related mortality, all-cause mortality, and Alzheimer's disease incidence typically involved saunas that were heated to a temperature of at least 78.9°C (174°F) for at least 20 minutes. In fact, these studies found that the amount of time spent in the sauna also affected cardiovascular-related mortalities, with a longer duration of 19 minutes or more having a more robust effect than 11 to 18 minutes on lowering mortality rate.
Another form of thermal treatment, called waon therapy, originated in Japan. Like traditional sauna, waon utilizes low humidity, but the temperatures are slightly lower, at approximately 60°C (140°F). Waon therapy is associated with improvements in multiple aspects of cardiovascular function.
Cardiac output, a measure of the amount of work the heart performs in response to the body's need for oxygen, increases by 60 to 70 percent, while the heart rate (the number of beats per minute) increases and the stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped) remains unchanged. During this time, approximately 50 to 70 percent of the body's blood flow is redistributed from the core to the skin to facilitate sweating. The average person loses approximately 0.5 kg of sweat while sauna bathing. Acute heat exposure also induces a transient increase in overall plasma volume to mitigate the decrease in core blood volume. This increase in plasma volume not only provides a reserve source of fluid for sweating, but it also acts like the water in a car's radiator, cooling the body to prevent rapid increases in core body temperature and promoting heat tolerance.
Repeated sauna use acclimates the body to heat and optimizes the body's response to future exposures, likely due to a biological phenomenon known as hormesis, a compensatory defense response following exposure to a mild stressor that is disproportionate to the magnitude of the stressor. Hormesis triggers a vast array of protective mechanisms that not only repair cell damage but also provide protection from subsequent exposures to more devastating stressors.
The physiological responses to sauna use are remarkably similar to those experienced during moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise. In fact, sauna use has been proposed as an alternative to exercise for people who are unable to engage in physical activity due to chronic disease or physical limitations.
Heat exposure induces protective responses against the deleterious biological processes that drive cardiovascular disease and related disability. Some of these responses recapitulate those experienced during exercise. For example, heart rate may increase up to 100 beats per minute during moderate-temperature sauna bathing sessions and up to 150 beats per minute during hotter sessions, similar to the increases observed during moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical exercise. Furthermore, in a study involving 19 healthy adults, the effects of a single 25-minute sauna session were comparable to moderate physical exercise with respect to cardiovascular measures. During sauna use or moderate exercise, the participants' heart rate and blood pressure increased immediately, but after the sauna or exercise session, participants' blood pressure and heart rate began to drop below baseline levels measured pre-sauna or -exercise. Like exercise, long-term sauna use generally improves blood pressure, endothelial function, and left ventricular function, and reduces inflammation.
The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 18 million people die each year from cardiovascular diseases, roughly one-third of all deaths worldwide. Cardiovascular disease is largely preventable with lifestyle behaviors such as sauna use.
As described above, large prospective studies conducted in eastern Finland have shown that compared to men who only used the sauna once per week, moderate sauna users (2-3 times per week) are 22% less likely to experience sudden cardiac death, and frequent users (4-7 times per week) are 63% less likely to experience sudden cardiac death. In addition, the frequent sauna users were found to be 37 percent less likely to die from all causes of premature death, regardless of age, activity levels, and lifestyle factors. Learn more about the role of sauna use in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in this podcast with author Dr. Jari Laukkanen.
"Compared to men who only used the sauna once per week, moderate sauna users (2-3 times per week) are 22% less likely to experience sudden cardiac death, and frequent users (4-7 times per week) are 63% less likely to experience sudden cardiac death." Click To Tweet
Findings from a prospective, multicentered, randomized controlled trial involving 149 patients with advanced CHF demonstrated that two weeks of waon therapy improved the patients' endurance, heart size, and disease status compared to those who received standard medical care.In a different randomized controlled trial involving 30 CHF patients with frequent premature ventricular contractions, or PVCs, a type of abnormal heartbeat, researchers found that two weeks of infrared dry sauna (waon therapy) reduced the number of PVCs the patients experienced in a 24-hour period (from a baseline of ~3161 to ~848). A control group that received conventional medical therapy showed no changes.
Ischemic heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease, is characterized by reduced blood supply to the heart. It is the most common cause of death in most western countries. A randomized controlled trial examined the effects of sauna use in 24 patients with ischemic heart disease with chronic total coronary artery occlusion (full blockage of one or more of the arteries that supply the heart) who had not responded to non-surgical procedures and were not candidates for surgical interventions. The findings demonstrated that 15 waon sessions given over a three-week period improved the patients' vascular endothelial function. No improvements were observed in the control group that received standard medical care.
Dyslipidemia, or abnormal blood lipid levels, is a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease risk. Two small studies have shown that regular sauna use modulates serum cholesterol and lipoproteins in healthy adults. Women who were exposed to seven 30-minute sauna baths over a period of two weeks exhibited reduced total cholesterol levels (from ~4.47mmol/L to ~4.25mmol/L) and reduced low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, levels (from ~2.83mmol/L to ~2.69mmol/L). Similarly, men who were exposed to ten 45-minute sauna baths over a period of three weeks exhibited reduced total cholesterol levels (from ~4.50mmol/L to ~4.18mmol/L) and reduced LDL levels (from ~2.71mmol/L to ~2.43mmol/L). 2b1af7f3a8