- Health Benefits
- What Is It
- When to Avoid
Whether you have one after a workout or just to relax at the end of your work day, saunas can be good for your health.
8 health benefits of regular saunas
- Improves heart function: A study has shown that regular saunas may improve heart function in people with heart failure. Another study has shown that using a sauna 4-7 times a week can significantly lower the risk of sudden cardiac death and other heart diseases.
- Improves lung function: Studies suggest that sauna bathing improves lung function in people with asthma and chronic bronchitis by helping open up the airways, loosen phlegm, and reduce stress.
- Alleviates pain: Sauna bathing has been linked to relieving pain and reducing symptoms associated with bone disorders, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia.
- Prevents skin irritation: Although scientific evidence is lacking, some people have reported that their psoriasis symptoms improved with regular sauna bathing. However, it is not recommended for all types of skin disorders, as saunas can cause atopic dermatitis symptoms to worsen.
- Lowers the risk of dementia: A study conducted on healthy Finnish men who had 4-7 sauna sessions a week showed a link between regular saunas and a lower risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases. However, the exact mechanism of action by which a sauna session protects the nerves from degeneration is unclear.
- Reduces inflammation: Studies suggest regular sauna baths may lower the levels of circulating inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP levels are usually higher in certain inflammatory conditions.
- Lowers cholesterol levels: A sauna bath may help reduce total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and triglycerides and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
- Boosts immune system: Evidence shows that a sauna bath can boost the immune system and bolster your defense against common colds and infections in healthy individuals.
What is a sauna?
Sauna bathing involves exposing yourself to high temperatures for a short period of time. Generally, a sauna is a room heated to between 158 and 212 degrees F. A sauna may either use dry heat or wet heat and increase the skin temperature to 104 degrees F. A rise in skin temperature can lead to:
- Heavy sweating: A pint of sweat may be lost within a short time spent in the sauna.
- Increased heart rate: Heart rate increases as the body attempts to keep cool.
Different types of saunas include:
- Wood burning
- Electrically heated
- Infrared room
- Smoke sauna
- Steam room
How much time should I spend in a sauna?
You should spend no more than 15 minutes in a sauna. However, if you are trying it for the first time, you should limit your sauna time to a maximum of 10 minutes or until the heat becomes intolerable. If you want to have a sauna bath after exercise, wait for at least 10 minutes.
Some of the risks of spending too much time inside a sauna include:
What safety precautions should I take before entering a sauna?
Some of the safety precautions you should to follow before entering a sauna are:
Who should avoid taking a sauna?
Avoid saunas if you the following conditions:
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Laukkanen JA, Laukkanen T, Kunutsor SK. Cardiovascular and Other Health Benefits of Sauna Bathing: A Review of the Evidence. Mayo Clin Proc. 2018;93(8):1111-1121. https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/action/showPdf?pii=S0025-6196%2818%2930275-1
Harvard Health Publishing. Sauna Health Benefits: Are saunas healthy or harmful? https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/saunas-and-your-health
The North American Sauna Society. Sauna Types. https://www.saunasociety.org/sauna-types/
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