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Healthy thanks to sauna: Why the sauna offers more than just relaxation

Switch off, relax and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. In our modern, stressful lifestyles, the sauna is a true retreat for peace and health.

Here you will find health benefits and tips - everything you need to know about the sauna.

What happens to your body in the sauna?

In the sauna you start to sweat, which opens your skin pores and improves the blood circulation in the upper layers of the skin. Your heartbeat speeds up and your blood vessels dilate. This leads to a slight increase in your body temperature and blood pressure.

What happens during cooling down?

After the sauna, the blood vessels contract again. The sudden cold can temporarily increase your heart rate and breathing. Under cold shock, hormones such as adrenaline can be released and your blood pressure returns to normal.

Health benefits of going to the sauna:

  • Strengthens the immune system and increases resistance to flu and infections.

  • Stimulation of the metabolism through improved blood circulation.

  • Stress reduction and relaxation

  • Better regeneration and relaxation of the muscles as well as prevention of muscle soreness.

  • You train your circulation by alternating between hot and cold. Your blood vessels become more flexible. This reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and is good for your heart. It even increases your life expectancy (Laukkanen et al., 2015).

  • The sauna also has a positive effect on your mood and your brain. The sauna increases the release of happiness hormones called endorphins in the brain. A large long-term Finnish study found that those who saunas four to seven times a week had a 66% lower risk of dementia compared to those who saunas only once a week (Laukkanen et al., 2016).

  • Taking a sauna is good for your skin. The improved blood circulation ensures that pimples and acne heal. The skin's natural protective barrier is strengthened. Sweating also opens the pores. Wrinkle formation is also counteracted by the improved blood circulation, which prevents dehydration.

  • As it helps against stress and tension, the sauna can help you if you often have headaches because of it.

  • Saunas can help with rheumatism, thrombosis, asthma, varicose veins and neurodermatitis. However, those affected should inform themselves in more detail beforehand or talk to their doctor about it.

  • By training the vessels to respond to heat and cold stimuli, you feel less cold in winter and can withstand the heat better in summer.

  • Improved sleep: You fall asleep faster and sleep deeper after a sauna. This makes you feel more rested and relaxed in everyday life. This can even be enhanced by a lavender infusion.

However, to benefit your health from sauna visits, you need to go regularly. Going to the sauna once has little effect. It is better to go at least 1-2 times a week.

Slim thanks to sauna?

Unfortunately, it doesn't work quite that easily. You burn more calories walking than in the sauna.

The weight loss from the sauna is purely a loss of fluid, which is immediately compensated for when you drink.

The only advantage of the sauna for your figure is that your metabolism is stimulated.

Taking a sauna the right way - important rules and tips:

Taking a proper sauna means listening to your body!

  1. Start with a shower to remove excess oils or makeup from the skin.

  2. Ideally, you should go into the sauna for 8-15 minutes, then cool down, take a cold shower and take a 10-15 minute break. Then repeat this about 2 more times. If you go to the sauna every day, one session is enough.

  3. Put a large towel under you on the bench (also under your feet)

  4. In the beginning, slowly increase the duration in the sauna and the temperature of the sauna.

  5. Drink enough water. You lose about half a litre of water per sauna session.

  6. If it's too warm upstairs, stay in the lower seats.

  7. Do not go to the sauna with an empty stomach and not directly after a large meal. An empty / too full stomach also puts a strain on your circulation. It's better to wait 1-2 hours after a meal before venturing into the sauna.

  8. Don't go to the sauna before exercise. Your immune system is slightly under attack, your muscles are relaxed and you have lost a lot of water. These are not good conditions for a workout. After exercise, however, it is very healthy to go to the sauna.

  9. Sit upright for a few minutes before getting up to leave the cabin.

  10. Alcohol and sauna do not belong together. Both dilate your blood vessels and raise your pulse. At the same time, warning signals from the body are perceived later or less. If you drink alcohol while taking a sauna, you risk a circulatory collapse or fainting. Alcohol also dehydrates the body and is unhealthy.

  11. Quiet: A public sauna is quiet unless a special event is taking place.

When not to go to the sauna:

Do not go to the sauna if you have a cold or are ill! Your immune system is already under enough strain. A few days after you have recovered, at the earliest, you should go back to the sauna. If you are just beginning to get a cold, you can still go.

If you have a bladder infection, you should also avoid the sauna.

In general, you should also get more specific information if you are taking medication or have a diagnosis.

If you have high blood pressure or heart problems, you should talk to your doctor about taking a sauna beforehand. If you have inflammation or acute kidney disease, you should not go to the sauna.

You get dizzy in the sauna?

Leave the sauna. Stand up carefully and leave the sauna. Fresh air will help you to recover.

Sit down to avoid the risk of falling.

You can also put a cold cloth on your forehead to cool you down more quickly.

Drink some water to make sure you stay hydrated. Overheating and dehydration can cause dizziness.

Then move slowly and carefully to minimise the risk of circulatory collapse.

Rest until the dizziness subsides. Avoid re-entering the sauna until you have fully recovered.

Why do some people wear hats in the sauna?

A hat is often used in the sauna to protect the head and hair from the intense heat. This is important because the head can heat up faster than the rest of the body, and a hat can help regulate the temperature better. In addition, a hat protects the hair from split ends and dryness.

You can also wrap a towel around your hair for this purpose, but this is then heavier and more cumbersome.

Why do people often go to the sauna naked?

  1. It is a question of hygiene. If the sweat collects in the swimwear, this can be unpleasant and at the same time provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, which can possibly lead to infections. This sweat collected in the swimwear would also be distributed in the swimming pool again afterwards.

  2. It is a Finnish tradition to go naked to the sauna.

  3. In addition, swimwear is often made of synthetic materials, so these materials can spread harmful substances when exposed to heat.

  4. Swimwear also blocks the evaporation of sweat on the skin, making it harder for the body to cool down.

We hope this article was helpful for you. What do you think? Do you like to take a sauna?

Feel free to tell us about it in the comments.



Laukkanen, T., Khan, H., Zaccardi, F. & Laukkanen, J. A. (2015). Association Between Sauna Bathing and Fatal Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality Events. JAMA Internal Medicine, 175(4), 542.

Laukkanen, T., Kunutsor, S. K., Kauhanen, J. & Laukkanen, J. A. (2016). Sauna bathing is inversely associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in middle-aged Finnish men. Age And Ageing, 46(2), 245–249.


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