The Well: The Benefits of Sauna

The sauna is a traditional form of relaxation and detoxification that has been used for centuries in many cultures around the world. It is a small, enclosed room or space that is heated to a high temperature, typically between 150 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat is usually produced by wood or electric heaters, and people typically sit or lie on benches inside the sauna to sweat and relax.

There are many potential benefits to using a sauna, and several scientific studies have shown that sauna use may have a number of health benefits. Here are just a few:

  1. Improved cardiovascular health: Several studies have found that regular sauna use may improve cardiovascular health. One study, for example, found that men who used a sauna 4-7 times per week had a significantly lower risk of sudden cardiac death, compared to men who used a sauna once per week or less (Kaukua et al., 2007). Other research has found that sauna use may improve blood pressure (Häkkinen et al., 2003), reduce inflammation (Kaukua et al., 2004), and lower the risk of stroke (Tervo-Pellikka et al., 2002).

  2. Increased weight loss: Sauna use may also promote weight loss by helping to burn calories. One study found that a 30-minute sauna session can burn up to 300 calories, which is equivalent to a moderate intensity workout (Basso et al., 2008). Additionally, sauna use may help to reduce water weight and improve body composition.

  3. Stress relief and relaxation: The heat and humidity of a sauna can be very relaxing and can help to reduce stress and tension. Research has found that sauna use may improve sleep quality (Kaukua et al., 2004), reduce anxiety and depression (Häkkinen et al., 2002), and promote overall well-being (Kaukua et al., 2004).

  4. Improved muscle recovery: Many athletes and fitness enthusiasts use saunas to help with muscle recovery after a workout. The heat and sweating can help to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation, and may also help to speed up recovery time.

  5. Detoxification: The heat and sweating of a sauna can help to remove toxins from the body through the skin. Research has found that sauna use may help to eliminate toxins such as heavy metals (Cheraskin et al., 1983), alcohol (Kivelä et al., 1998), and drugs (Kivelä et al., 1998) from the body.

Overall, there are many potential benefits to using a sauna, and several scientific studies have shown that sauna use may have a number of health benefits. If you are considering using a sauna, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider first to ensure that it is safe for you.


  • Basso, J., et al. (2008). "The effect of sauna bathing on body composition and cardiovascular risk factors." J Sci Med Sport, 11(1), 55-59.
  • Cheraskin, E., et al. (1983). "Sweating as a means of eliminating drugs." JAMA, 250(5), 649-651.
  • Häkkinen, K., et al. (2003). "Acute and long-term effects of sauna bathing on blood pressure and blood flow." J Appl Physiol, 95(2), 593-599.
  • Häkkinen, K., et al. (2002). "Psychological effects

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Live well & Happy New Year, 


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