Ahh, the sweet, steamy smell of a sauna – is there anything more relaxing? If you’re a sauna aficionado, you already know the incredible health benefits of regular sauna sessions. But for those of you who are new to the sauna scene, let’s talk about why you should be hitting the hot box on a regular basis.

What is a Typical Sauna Session Like?

Stepping into a sauna is like entering a whole new world – a world of warmth, tranquility, and utter bliss (after you get over the initial shock of the heat, that is). Imagine this: you open the sauna door and are greeted by walls of fragrant cedar, radiating a cozy glow. As you sink down onto the bench, the dry heat envelops you, causing your body temperature to rise rapidly.

Soon, you’ll start to feel the beads of sweat forming on your forehead, trickling down your back. It might be tempting to fan yourself, but try to resist the urge and just embrace the heat. Take some deep, cleansing breaths and let the tension melt away.

The typical sauna session lasts around 15-20 minutes and can reach temperatures of 158F-212F – yikes, that’s hot. However, seasoned sauna-goers can often handle up to an hour of that toasty goodness. When your timer goes off (or you just can’t take the heat anymore), step out into the cool air and feel that refreshing chill wash over you. Ahhhh, bliss.

How Do Saunas Work?

Well, the high temperatures cause your body’s core temperature to rise. This, in turn, initiates the following biological processes in your body:

  • Increase blood flow: Your blood vessels dilate which speeds up the body’s natural healing abilities.
  • Makes you sweat: Sweating helps regular your body’s temperature and removes unwanted toxins like heavy metals through your skin.
  • Stimulates hormone production: The heat of the sauna increases the production of hormones including endorphins.
  • Promotes heat shock protein production: These proteins are vital for cellular repair and oxidative stress protection.
  • Elevates body temps: Sauna’s help your body mimic the fever response which is a natural way to accelerate it’s immune response to help kill pathogens and  increase white blood cell/antibody production.


The Top Health Benefits of Regular Sauna Sessions

Now that you know what sauna time is like, let’s dive into the juicy details – the health benefits of regular sauna use.

  •  Cardiovascular Health Boost: One of the most well-known benefits of saunas is the positive impact on your heart health. The heat exposure causes your blood vessels to dilate, improving circulation and reducing blood pressure. This in turn puts less strain on your heart, lowering your risk of heart disease and stroke. Plus, saunas have been shown to increase heart rate variability, a key indicator of overall cardiovascular fitness.
  • Detoxification:  Sweating it out in the sauna is like hitting the reset button for your body. As you sit and simmer, your pores open up, allowing your body to flush out all kinds of nasty toxins and heavy metals. This detoxification process can help reduce inflammation, boost your immune system, and even aid in weight management.
  • Muscle Recovery Miracle:  If you’re somebody who’s pretty active, saunas should be your new best friend. The heat helps increase blood flow to your muscles, accelerating the recovery process after an intense workout. Saunas can also reduce muscle soreness and stiffness, making them a game-changer for athletes and fitness fanatics.
  •  Skin Rejuvenation:  Speaking of detoxification, all that sweating does wonders for your skin too. The heat helps open up your pores, allowing impurities to be flushed out. This can lead to a more youthful, radiant complexion, as well as relief from conditions like acne and eczema.
  • Mood and Mindfulness Booster:  Saunas aren’t just good for your body – they’re also amazing for your mental health. The calm, quiet environment and deep breathing can induce a meditative state, reducing stress and anxiety. Plus, the heat has been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins, giving you a mood-boosting buzz.


Health Risks With Regular Sauna Use

As with most things, there is a downside. I do want to make sure you’re aware of a few potential hazards so you can stay safe while you’re sweating it out.

  • Overheating and Dehydration: When your body’s core temperature rises too quickly, it can lead to symptoms like dizziness, nausea, and even fainting. That’s why it’s so important to listen to your body, start with shorter sessions, and stay hydrated before, during, and after your sauna time.
  • Chronic illness: Pregnant women and individuals with certain medical conditions, like heart disease or low blood pressure, may also need to exercise extra caution or avoid saunas altogether. The intense heat can place added stress on the cardiovascular system, which could be dangerous for those with pre-existing health concerns. Always check with your doctor and get the go-ahead before trying them out.
  • Burns: Another potential issue is burns – yes, even from the seemingly harmless sauna. The high temperatures can quickly lead to painful burns, especially sensitive areas on the skin. Be extra mindful of where you’re touching and avoid leaning against the hot walls or benches.

And while saunas are generally considered safe for most people, there have been rare cases of injuries or even fatalities due to things like falling, drowning, or medical emergencies. That’s why it’s crucial to never use a sauna alone and to always have someone nearby who can quickly call for help if needed.



Woman wondering about the health benefits of regular sauna sessions

How Long and How Hot Should Sauna Sessions Be?

When it comes to getting the most out of your sauna sessions, timing and temperature are key. Experts recommend starting with shorter sessions, around 5-15 minutes, and gradually working your way up to 20-30 minutes as your body adjusts to the heat.

The ideal temperature range for a sauna can vary depending on personal preference and the type of sauna being used. For Finnish saunas, the temperature range is typically between 150-190°F (65-88°C). Any hotter and you run the risk of overheating, which can be dangerous.

Infrared saunas, which use different heating technology, operate at lower temperatures, typically ranging from 120°F to 150°F (49°C to 65°C). These saunas heat the body directly through infrared panels instead of heating the air around you, making the lower temperature range effective for inducing sweat and providing relaxation and other health benefits.

Listen to your body and don’t be afraid to step out and take a break if you start to feel lightheaded or nauseous.  Always rinse off in the shower before and after taking a sauna. Be sure to wear light colored clothing or a towel while in the sauna.

And don’t forget to stay hydrated before, during, and after your session! Sipping on some water will help replace the fluids you’re losing through all that glorious sweating.


Well, there you have it, my sweat-loving friends – the amazing health benefits of regular sauna sessions. From improved cardiovascular health to glowing skin and a serious mood boost, there’s some really awesome benefits to making the sauna a part of your self-care routine. There are a few risks too so just be sure to keep those in mind before you jump into the sauna.

I know it can be intimidating to step into that steamy little room at first, but trust me, it’s so worth it. Just start slow, listen to your body, and soon enough you’ll be a sauna pro, basking in all that toasty goodness.

And the best part? Saunas are accessible to just about everyone. Whether you have a fancy in-home setup or need to visit the local gym or spa, there are endless opportunities to reap the rewards of regular sauna use. For a small investment of 20 minutes a few times a week, it’s a good ROI for your health with just a little time and effort.

So what are you waiting for, ladies? It’s time to ditch the treadmill and hop in the hot box instead. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you. Plus, you’ll have a built-in excuse to treat yourself to a little R&R on the regular. Win-win, if you ask me!

Now go forth, embrace the heat, and get ready to feel like the healthiest, happiest version of yourself.

Are you a sauna devotee?  What benefits have you experienced? Leave a comment and let me know! If you know of someone who would benefit from this article, please share it!


***Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice***


  • Susan Taylor, RDN LD

    Meet Susan, registered dietitian / nutritionist and fellow autoimmune warrior who is dedicated to helping women with autoimmune disease get their groove back. With the right diet and lifestyle changes, Susan empowers her clients to take control of their health and feel their best. When she's not busy saving the world you can find Susan strolling along the beach, jet-setting to new destinations, and soaking up quality time with family & friends.

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