How Hot is a Sauna: Discover the Optimal Temperature for Heat Therapy

A person sitting in a sauna, looking at a thermometer

Quick Hit: Finnish saunas can reach temperatures ranging from 160-194°F (71-90°C)

Discovering the ideal sauna temperature can unlock a world of therapeutic benefits. But with so many sauna types available, it can be challenging to know which temperature works best for you. In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between traditional Finnish saunas, infrared saunas, and steam saunas, and provide you with essential tips and guidelines to help you find the perfect temperature for a safe and enjoyable sauna experience, answering the question – how hot is a sauna?

Key Takeaways

  • Explore different sauna types and temperatures to find the optimal heat therapy.

  • Gradually increase temperature, stay hydrated, avoid alcohol and monitor your body’s response for a safe experience.

  • Use thermometers or hygrometers to accurately measure temperature & humidity levels in your sauna.

Understanding Different Sauna Types

A person sitting in an infrared sauna

Saunas have been cherished for centuries for their restorative and rejuvenating effects. While there are various types of saunas, the three primary ones are traditional Finnish saunas, infrared saunas, and steam saunas. Each type offers unique benefits and operates within different temperature ranges, affecting the overall sauna experience.

Recognizing the distinctions between these sauna types will assist you in making the best choice for your needs and preferences. Each sauna type utilizes heat therapy in unique ways, which we will explore in detail.

Traditional Finnish Sauna

The traditional Finnish sauna, sometimes referred to as a wet sauna, is known for its high temperatures and unique heating method. Utilizing wood-burning or electric stoves, Finnish saunas can reach temperatures ranging from 160-194°F (71-90°C). The heat generated warms the air within the cabin, creating a hot and dry environment that encourages traditional sauna bathing, sweating, and relaxation.

When using a traditional Finnish sauna, the temperature typically ranges from 140-200 degrees Fahrenheit. Always start at a temperature you’re comfortable with and slowly increase it to your desired level. This strategy lets your body adjust to the heat, preventing any discomfort.

Infrared Sauna

Infrared saunas are a modern alternative to traditional saunas, providing infrared heat therapy at lower temperatures. Instead of using hot air to heat the space, infrared saunas utilize infrared light to directly heat the body, raising the core body temperature. This method allows infrared saunas to operate within an infrared sauna temperature range of 100-150°F (38-65.5°C), making them more accessible and affordable for many people.

One advantage of using an infrared sauna at a lower temperature range is the ability to perform light exercise or stretching during the preheating time. The recommended duration of an infrared sauna session is 20-45 minutes, which may be more manageable for individuals who are new to sauna use or have health concerns.

Steam Sauna

Steam saunas, also known as steam rooms or wet saunas, use steam to create a warm and humid environment in a steam room with temperatures ranging between 90-120°F (32-49°C). The humidity level in a steam sauna can reach up to 100 percent, which distinguishes it from the dry heat of traditional Finnish saunas.

The high humidity in steam saunas promotes increased sweating and relaxation, making them a popular choice for those seeking a more comfortable sauna experience. Additionally, steam saunas can be beneficial for warming mucus membranes, helping to alleviate sinus and other respiratory issues.

Finding Your Ideal Sauna Temperature

A person sitting in a sauna, looking at a thermometer

Finding the ideal sauna temperature involves considering your personal comfort levels and preferences. Experiment within the temperature ranges specific to each sauna type to reach your desired temperature, and don’t forget to heed your body’s signals during sauna sessions.

There is no universal ‘perfect temperature’ for sauna use; it varies for each individual. By steadily adjusting the temperature and observing your body’s reactions, you can find the temperature that brings you the most benefits and pleasure.

Experimentation Within Safe Ranges

Experimenting with different sauna temperature ranges within the safe limits for each sauna type is key to finding the most comfortable and effective heat therapy for you. For traditional Finnish saunas, the ideal temperature range is 140-175 degrees Fahrenheit. Infrared saunas typically operate between 100-150°F (38-65.5°C), while steam saunas have a temperature range of 90-120°F (32-49°C).

For those new to using saunas, it’s recommended to start slowly and gradually increase the temperature and duration of their sessions. This allows your body to acclimate to the heat and ensures a safe and enjoyable sauna experience.

Listening to Your Body

Monitoring your body’s reactions during sauna sessions is vital for your safety and enjoyment. If you start feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to adjust the temperature or even halt the session.

Remember that everyone’s body is different, and what may feel comfortable for one person might not be suitable for another. By listening to your body and making adjustments accordingly, you can ensure that each sauna session provides the optimal balance of heat therapy and relaxation.

Sauna Safety Tips and Precautions

A person sitting in a sauna, with a thermometer and hygrometer

Ensuring your safety and well-being during sauna sessions is of the utmost importance. By following a few simple tips and precautions, you can make the most of your sauna experience while minimizing any potential risks.

Some essential safety measures include gradually increasing the temperature, staying hydrated, avoiding alcohol before or during sauna use, and monitoring your body’s response to heat therapy.

Let’s take a closer look at these precautions and how they contribute to a safe and enjoyable sauna experience.

Gradual Temperature Increases

Increasing the sauna temperature gradually is an essential safety measure that helps your body adjust to the heat and enhances the overall experience. Sudden temperature changes can be uncomfortable and potentially dangerous, so it’s crucial to give your body time to acclimate.

By gradually raising the temperature, you can minimize the risk of heat-related illnesses and ensure a more enjoyable sauna session. This approach also allows you to better gauge your body’s comfort level and make any necessary adjustments as you become more accustomed to the heat.

Hydration and Nutrition

Staying hydrated is critical for a safe and enjoyable sauna experience, as you can lose up to a pint of sweat during even shorter sauna sessions. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your session to replenish any lost fluids.

It’s also essential to avoid large meals before using a sauna, as this can lead to nausea, cramping, and other digestive issues. Instead, opt for a light snack or meal a few hours before your session to ensure your body has the necessary nutrients without causing discomfort.

Alcohol and Sauna Use

Alcohol consumption before or during sauna use can lead to:

  • Dehydration

  • Increased likelihood of accidents

  • Impaired decision-making abilities

  • Heightened risk of falling asleep in the sauna, which can be extremely dangerous.

To ensure a safe and enjoyable sauna experience, it’s best to abstain from alcohol before and during your session. Instead, focus on staying hydrated and nourished to maximize the health benefits of your sauna session.

Health Benefits of Sauna Use at Different Temperatures

A person sitting in a sauna, with a thermometer in hand

The health benefits of sauna use can vary depending on the temperature. Lower temperatures, often found in infrared saunas and steam rooms, can promote relaxation, stress relief, and gentle detoxification.

Higher temperatures, typical in traditional Finnish saunas, can aid in detoxification, provide relief from pain, and offer cardiovascular benefits. By experimenting with different temperatures and sauna types, you can discover the optimal heat therapy experience for your specific needs and preferences.

Lower Temperature Benefits

Lower sauna temperatures provide a more gentle heat therapy experience, making them an ideal choice for beginners or those with health concerns. These temperatures can promote:

  • Relaxation

  • Stress relief

  • Gentle detoxification

  • Positive impacts on cardiovascular health

  • Overall well-being

By starting with lower temperatures and gradually increasing the heat as your body adjusts, you can ensure a safe and effective sauna experience that provides numerous health benefits.

Higher Temperature Benefits

Higher hot sauna temperatures are suitable for experienced sauna users seeking more intense heat therapy. These temperatures can facilitate increased perspiration, thus aiding the body’s natural detoxification process by enabling the elimination of toxins and other impurities.

Additionally, higher temperatures can provide cardiovascular benefits, as they increase heart rate and blood flow, which can decrease the risk of heart disease. By carefully monitoring your body’s response to higher temperatures, you can ensure a safe and effective sauna experience that maximizes the potential health benefits.

Essential Sauna Accessories: Thermometers and Hygrometers

A person sitting in a sauna, with a Bjerg Instruments two-in-one thermometer and hygrometer

Having the appropriate accessories to monitor temperature and humidity is critical for a safe and enjoyable sauna experience. Thermometers and hygrometers are invaluable tools for maintaining an optimal balance in your sauna.

By keeping track of these levels, you can adjust the sauna’s temperature and humidity as needed, allowing you to enjoy the full benefits of heat therapy while minimizing any potential risks.

Bjerg Instruments Two-in-One Thermometer and Hygrometer

An image of Bjerg Instruments Two-in-One Thermometer and Hygrometer displaying the temperature and humidity levels inside a sauna, answering the question 'how hot is a sauna'.

The Bjerg Instruments Two-in-One Thermometer and Hygrometer is a versatile sauna room accessory, designed to track both temperature and humidity. It features a pine wood construction and a clear, visible display, making it an attractive and functional addition to any sauna.

By utilizing the Bjerg Instruments Two-in-One Thermometer and Hygrometer, you can accurately monitor both temperature and humidity levels in your sauna, ensuring a safe and comfortable heat therapy session that meets your personal preferences.

Scandia Compact Radiant Heat Thermometer

Scandia’s Compact Radiant Heat Thermometer is a modern and aesthetically pleasing thermometer designed for accurately measuring room temperature in saunas. It features a 5” diameter, stainless steel construction, and a stylish design, making it an ideal addition to any sauna space.

By incorporating the Scandia Compact Radiant Heat Thermometer in your sauna, you can ensure that you’re maintaining a safe and enjoyable temperature, enhancing your overall sauna experience and maximizing the potential health benefits.

Finnish-Style Thermometer

A person sitting in a sauna, with a Finnish-style thermometer

The Finnish-style thermometer is popular for its design and functionality, providing accurate temperature readings in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. With its easy-to-read analog display, monochrome dial with numerals and colored squares, and compact design, this thermometer is a practical and stylish addition to any sauna.

By using a Finnish-style thermometer, you can confidently monitor and adjust the temperature of your sauna, ensuring a safe and enjoyable heat therapy experience tailored to your personal preferences.


In conclusion, finding the ideal sauna temperature is crucial for maximizing the health benefits and enjoyment of sauna use. By understanding the differences between traditional Finnish saunas, infrared saunas, and steam saunas, experimenting within safe temperature ranges, and listening to your body, you can discover the perfect heat therapy experience tailored to your needs. Remember to follow essential safety tips, invest in quality sauna accessories, and enjoy the many advantages of sauna use at different temperatures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 100 Degrees too hot for a sauna?

100 degrees Fahrenheit may be too hot for a sauna session, as most experts recommend setting the temperature between 100-125 degrees Fahrenheit. Consider adjusting your sauna temperature to a more comfortable level or extending your session time.

Is a 220 degree sauna safe?

The safe temperature range for a sauna is typically between 78-90°C (180-195°F). Temperatures of up to 160°C (220 °F) are considered dangerous and should be avoided.

How long should you sit in a sauna?

For optimal results, sit in a sauna for 15-20 minutes. First-timers should start with 5-10 minutes. However, people with certain health conditions should not use a sauna.

What is a humid sauna called?

A wet sauna, also known as a steam room, is the humid sauna type often associated with relaxation and rejuvenation. It is heated by a steam generator which creates a humidity level that approaches 100%. The high humidity level of a wet sauna helps to open up the pores of the skin, allowing for a deeper cleanse and detoxification. It also helps to relax the muscles and reduce stress. The heat of the

What are the health benefits of using a sauna at lower temperatures?

Regularly using a sauna at lower temperatures can lead to improved relaxation, stress relief, gentle detoxification, cardiovascular health, and overall well-being.