20 Science-Based Health Benefits of a Sauna

Outdoor Finnish sauna

The sauna was developed in Finland back in 1112, and initially, they were just holes cut into the ground and filled with animal skins. Saunas are rooms or small buildings that are designed for one to experience dry or wet heat sessions. They are known to have many health benefits, which is why they have revolutionized over the centuries. You will most likely find saunas at every gym and health spa visited now and in many homes around the world. Let’s take a closer look at these amazing health benefits. 

Increases Muscle Mass 

A study conducted in 2015 proved that sauna enhanced endurance performance. Heat shock proteins are released when you are in a sauna. These proteins are known to repair some of the damaged or lost proteins in the body, leading to better muscle development.  

Body Detox

Saunas are known to help push toxins out of the body. The heat that the body is exposed to produces sweat, which forces toxins out through the skin. Elements eliminated from the use of a sauna include heavy metals and toxic chemicals such as BPA.  

Heart Health

Studies have shown that heat baths may not only relieve clogging in the arteries but also lower blood pressure. These two combined will give you a far healthier heart. 

Anxiety and Depression Relief 

Spending substantial time in a sauna lowers levels of cortisol, thus reducing stress. It also prompts the body to create beta-endorphins, which lead to a state of euphoria. Simply put — those that use saunas daily are a lot happier.  

Improves Brain Performance 

When in a sauna, the body’s norepinephrine levels significantly improve. The norepinephrine hormone improves the attention span and increases one’s focus. The heat stress that the body experiences during a sauna also increases new brain cell production (neurogenesis), which will improve the ability to learn.  

Pain Relief 

Saunas are extremely good at helping to relieve pain. The heat produced by the sauna will increase the release of many anti-inflammatory hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Your body will also release endorphins (natural pain relievers) when exposed to heat therapy. 

Improves Skin Health 

The use of a sauna may increase the skin’s hydration, giving you a more balanced pH level to the surface. Saunas are also an excellent treatment for those suffering from acne as they lessen the amount of oil found on the face.  

Weight Loss 

In a study conducted to evaluate body mass loss (BML) and body mass index (BMI), it was concluded that the heat produced when in a sauna will cause the breakdown of fat cells. As the body is continuously sweating, the release of toxins and unwanted fluids also reduces one’s weight. Saunas help produce muscle mass, which will replace the fat that is being broken down.  

Fights Infection 

Sauna bathing stimulates the immune systems, enhancing immunological defense. The temperatures that the body is exposed to in a sauna will help kill bacteria and other viruses that may cause infections. When a person is sick, their body can have a lower temperature, which makes fighting infection extremely difficult.  

Enhanced Physical Performance

The use of a sauna can help adjust the body to high temperatures, which will improve the body’s capabilities in cooling itself down. This hyperthermic taming will improve the body’s ability to perform in higher temperatures. Regularly using a sauna will increase the body’s blood cell count, which improves oxygen levels in the body, improving performance during exercise.   

Lower Blood Sugar Levels 

Tests show that when exposed to a sauna, the body will have an increase in insulin sensitivity. The reduction in insulin sensitivity substantially reduces blood sugar levels. As a result, sauna use is ideal for people living with diabetes.  

Deeper Sleep 

The use of an infrared sauna can help release endorphins that aid relaxation. Once the body starts to relax, deeper sleep can be achieved. It ultimately helps the brain to balance out your sleep cycle. 

Longer Life 

Regular use of a sauna is scientifically proven to raise the life expectancy of a person. Spending quality time in a sauna reduces the chances of heart-related disease. It also boosts one’s immune system, lowering the chance of catching any diseases.  

Faster Recovery 

In order to recover, the body needs nutrients that are delivered to the damaged area in the blood. The heat produced during a sauna improves blood flow in the body, which increases the rate nutrients are provided and the number of nutrients that the injured area will receive. This, in turn, speeds up recovery time.  


Those who have asthma are bound to find relief when using a sauna. The airways will open when inside, allowing for more natural breathing. Heath therapy will also loosen phlegm in the throat.  


After several years of testing in Finland, it was discovered that patients who were put on sauna treatment four to seven times per week were 66% less prone to dementia than those who did not. Research also showed that those who use a sauna regularly are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s.  

Stronger Immune System 

Sauna use increases the amount of heat shock proteins being produced in the body. These proteins will naturally stimulate the body’s immune system, making it more resilient and less susceptible to infection.  

More Energy 

Exposing the body to higher temperatures is proven to impact your mitochondria positively. The mitochondria’s primary function is to produce the cell’s energy currency, so a positive impact on these will vastly improve the body’s energy output.  


The treatment of cancer patients by using temperature has been vigorously tested. Results show that exposing the body to higher temperatures can result in the death of cancer cells and halt the progression of tumors.  

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 

The use of an infrared sauna has been scientifically proven to aid in treating chronic fatigue syndrome. Saunas are also known to boost the body’s energy as well as improve sleep. 


As you can see from the numerous science-based health benefits of a sauna, it is a highly recommended activity for all. With all these benefits to one’s health and improvement to physical and mental performance, it comes as a real surprise that saunas aren’t utilized more often.


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