Proven Benefits of Sauna—All You Need to Know About Sweating it Out

Last updated September 2, 2023

Sweat rituals such as going to sauna and a sweat lodge have been practiced for thousands of years. 

And for good reason. Over the years, many studies have been conducted suggesting the benefits of sauna on health and well-being. 

Sitting in sauna is more than just a relaxing experience; when you sit in sauna, your skin temperature rises,  your heart rate increases, your blood vessels dilate—and you begin to sweat.

For those who question the value of sweating it out, there are numerous benefits of a sauna experience. From improving concentration levels to flushing out toxins, here are seven proven benefits of sauna. 

Benefits of Sauna #1

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Improves athletic performance

An interesting thing happens when you sauna on the regular. You increase your heat tolerance threshold, which leads to significant improvement in endurance sports. That’s right. Sauna triggers natural performance enhancement. Studies show that runners who engage in sauna twice a week feel less fatigued and are able to maintain their energy level over a prolonged period of time. 

Benefits of Sauna #2

Great recovery tool post-workout

If you love working out, you know that muscle soreness and pain can surely slow you down. When you exercise, you actually form microscopic tears on your muscles—leading to inflammation, cramps and stiffness. A sauna sesh does wonders for your muscles after an intense workout.

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Benefits of Sauna #3

Beautiful senior woman in sauna

Flushes out toxins 

Toxins enter our system constantly, even when we’re doing everything right. While sauna won’t get rid of all toxins, it does help eliminate things like heavy metals, chemicals and bacteria through your sweat glands.  Research also shows that sauna can improve kidney function by flushing out harmful substances.

Benefits of Sauna #4

Enhances concentration

Scientific studies in both men and women suggest that sauna use increases norepinephrine levels by 86% to-310%! Norepinephrine, also called noradrenaline, is a neurotransmitter and hormone in the brain that can help with focus and attention. Next time you exercise, why not combine it with sauna so that your brain gets an even stronger health boost?

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Benefits of Sauna #5

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Reduces depression 

Did you know that just one session in an infrared sauna can help with depression? One single infrared sauna treatment helps reduce depression symptoms in people with severe depression by 50 percent.  The heat of a sauna puts stress (the good kind) on your body—in turn releasing beta-endorphin hormones and feelings of euphoria. 

Benefits of Sauna #6

Induces deeper sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to your health and happiness. Finnish researchers report that sauna use can result in more restful sleep because it raises your body temperature to the right degree range—promoting muscle relaxation and a sleep-inducing response.  

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Benefits of Sauna #7

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Helps you look younger

Honestly, who doesn’t want glowing skin? While there are many secrets to the fountain of youth, sauna is one of the oldest.  As you sweat, your pores open and the bacteria in the outer layer of your skin get rinsed.  Sauna also improves blood flow to your skin, which aids the growth of new skin while removing dead cells that built up previously. 

Five Things to Know Before You Step Foot Into Sauna

  1. It’s customary not to wear a swimsuit while sauna-ing among the same sex. Many public saunas have separate spaces for men and women. If you feel uncomfortable, you can always wear a towel. 
  2. For hygienic reasons, always bring a towel or disposable “butt napkin” to sit on. 
  3. Saunas are heated to between 158 – 175° F (70 – 85° C). Remember that heat rises, so you may want to sit on a lower bench if concerned you can’t take the heat.
  4. Before, during and after sauna, drink water. The heat prevents sweat from evaporating, which means you lose fluid but don’t cool down. It’s important to stay well hydrated. 
  5. Always take a shower before sauna. You can stay as long as you like but feel free to take a break in between sweats by rinsing off. Hard-core sauna-goers usually cool off by either jumping in the lake or rolling in the snow. Know that popping into the shower or dumping a bucket of cold water over you is just as effective.

As you may or may not know, sauna is synonymous with Finland. For the real deal sauna experience, visit Hotel & Spa Resort Järvisydän. Vacayou’s travel concierge team can help you discover, book and plan your next sauna experience.

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