Sauna science: Health benefits of sauna bathing

The positive effects of sauna bathing are not hidden from anyone. There are many health benefits of regular sauna baths, from weight loss to muscle pain relief. Sauna bathing can also help improve circulation, and skin health, and boost your immune system. In this article, we are going to take a look at how a sauna works and how sauna therapy and sauna sessions can provide you with some excellent health benefits.

What is a sauna room?

A sauna room is a small, wood-paneled, or tiled space that has been designed for people to sit or lie down while they sweat.

The temperature inside a sauna room is usually between 80 and 100 degrees Celsius, with the humidity level sitting at around 10-20%.

The heat inside a sauna room is produced by a wood-burning stove, an electric heater, or rocks that have been heated up with water.

The heat and the steam inside the sauna room helps to relax the muscles, improve circulation, and open up the pores of the skin.

How does a sauna work?

When you enter a sauna room, your body temperature begins to rise.

Your heart rate also increases as your body works to cool itself down.

As your body sweat, the heat and the steam helps to loosen up any tight muscles, and the increased circulation helps to reduce any pain or stiffness in the joints.

The sauna experience can last anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, and you should always take a break in between saunas to cool down.

Benefits of a sauna?

Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits of saunas

1. Improves high blood pressure levels

Traditional Finnish saunas have been used for centuries to help people with high blood pressure.

A study conducted in 2002 found that regular sauna bathing can help to lower high blood pressure levels.

The study found that people who took a sauna 4-7 times per week had a significantly lower risk of developing high blood pressure.

2. Reduces the risks of cardiovascular disease and improves cardiovascular health

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world. Sudden cardiac death can be caused by an irregular heartbeat, and this is more likely to occur in people who have high blood pressure.

Sauna bathing can help to reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure levels and improving circulation.

If you manage to take a sauna bath 2-3 times a week, it can help to reduce the risks of sudden cardiac death by up to 40%.

3. Improves blood flow

It’s not a secret that saunas can help to improve circulation.

The heat and the steam inside a sauna room help to dilate the blood vessels and increase blood flow. This can help to reduce any pain or stiffness in the joints, as well as improve muscle recovery after exercise.

A healthy blood flow is important because it helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the cells in the body.

4. Reduces the risks of fatal coronary heart disease

Again, as we mentioned earlier, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world.

Saunas have been shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases. In a study of 2,315 men in Finland, it was shown that those who used a sauna 4-7 times per week had a 63% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those who only used it once per week.

The mechanism by which saunas protect against cardiovascular disease is not completely understood, but it is thought that the combination of heat stress and relaxation has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system.

Saunas may also improve blood vessel function and reduce inflammation.

5. Improves the immune system

Saunas have also been shown to improve the immune system. In one study, it was shown that regular sauna use led to a significant increase in the number of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting infection.

Other studies have shown that saunas can help relieve the symptoms of conditions like arthritis and psoriasis, possibly due to the anti-inflammatory effects of the heat.

6. Improves mental health

Saunas are mostly used for relaxation and detoxification so it can come as a surprise that they have significant benefits for mental health too.

Saunas can help to improve mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and boost feelings of well-being. They can also increase the level of endorphins in the brain, which are known to have mood-boosting effects.

7. Good for your skin health

Infrared saunas are known for producing infrared rays that penetrate our skin and help to improve our skin health.

The heat from an infrared sauna can help to increase circulation, boost collagen production, and promote cell regeneration. This can help to improve the appearance of the skin, making it look firmer and more youthful.

8. Boosts weight loss

One of the main reasons why saunas are vastly used around the world is because of their ability to boost weight loss.

A single session in a sauna can help to burn up to 600 calories. This is because the heat from the sauna will cause your body to work harder to cool itself down, resulting in an increased heart rate and improved circulation.

So if you are looking for losing some weight, infrared saunas could be the answer.

Side effects of sauna

Everything good comes with a price and so do saunas. Here are some of the downsides of saunas:

1. Dehydration

It makes sense that sitting in a hot room would cause you to sweat and lose fluids. This can lead to dehydration if you don’t replenish those fluids. Be sure to drink plenty of water before and after your sauna session to stay hydrated.

2. Sauna addiction

Yes, sauna addiction is real and it’s a thing. If you find yourself using the sauna more frequently than you’d like or for longer periods of time, you may be addicted.

Sauna addiction can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and heat exhaustion. In addition, it can take away your valuable time so be careful not to get too hooked on saunas.

3. Burns

Too much sauna exposure can cause burns if you are not careful. The heat from the sauna can cause your skin to become red and irritated. Be sure to sit on a towel or wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid any irritation.

4. Dizziness

If you become dehydrated or overheated, you may experience dizziness or lightheadedness. Our bodies need fluids and electrolytes to function properly so be sure to drink plenty of water before and after your sauna session.


So there you have it! This is how a sauna works and these are some of the key benefits and drawbacks of using one. If you are looking for a way to relax, detoxify, and improve your overall health, then a sauna may be right for you. Just be sure to drink plenty of water and take breaks if you start to feel dizzy or lightheaded. And as with anything, moderation is key so don’t overdo it!