How Long Should You Stay in a Sauna?

What Is a Sauna?


A sauna refers to a small room meant for experiencing dry or wet heat sessions.

It is constructed from softwood and contains a heater that can heat up to 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

While in the sauna, the steam or heat causes you to sweat.

Although the facility provides a lot of benefits to your health, you need to use it in the right way to maximize these benefits.

This article explores various types of sauna and the benefits attached to them.

Plus, it offers you the must-read steps you need to apply to ensure that you use the sauna the correct way for maximum benefits.

Keep reading for these important tips.


History of the Sauna


The origin of the sauna is Finland.

The Finnish people believed in the practice of using dry air for sweating.

They also believed that inhaling warm air helps to open up your respiratory system for better breathing.

At first, the Finnish people constructed saunas by digging pits in the ground and using fireplaces to generate heat.

These initial saunas where mainly used as dwelling places in the winter.

The Finnish people would heat stones in the fireplace and pour water on them to generate steam.

The steam would result in high temperatures, causing people to take off their clothes.

During the Middle era, saunas had spread to most parts of Europe, but the culture diminished in the 1500s due to the scare of the spread of syphilis.

During the industrial revolution, the sauna evolved into a woodstove fitted with a chimney.

Later on, the Finnish people spread the sauna culture around the world, leading to the evolution of the sauna into the electric sauna stove.

German soldiers learned of sauna culture during the Continuation War, when Germany fought the Soviet Union.

The soldiers took this culture to Germany and Austria after the war.

Saunas later spread to other countries as it underwent modernization.

Today, saunas are used in homes, spas, and other places.


Types of Saunas


Saunas can be categorized into four main types, including the steam bath sauna, dry sauna, infrared sauna, and traditional Finnish sauna or traditional sauna.

The experience you will have in your sauna depends on its type because your experience will vary from one to another.

  • Traditional Finnish sauna. Also known as the traditional sauna, this sauna contains a wood lining, heated rocks, a ladle, and a water bucket. When using this type of sauna, you can pour the water over the rocks to generate steam in order to change the humidity in the sauna. Adding the water to the heated rocks helps in changing the steam and humidity from 20% to 40%. When the temperature in the sauna rises, the humidity drops, and the vice versa is true.
  • Steam bath. This type of sauna is also referred to as a Turkish bath and has a temperature of about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It is made of tiles, acrylic, or glass. Its temperature is relatively low, and it has a humidity of 100%. This means that its humidity makes the temperature feel hotter than it actually is.
  • Dry Sauna. This is similar to the traditional Finnish sauna in the sense that it also contains heated rocks. However, unlike the traditional sauna, it does not contain water for ladling onto the rocks. Its humidity is lower and can be used in a gym. Because many people do not know that water can be added onto the heated rocks in a dry sauna, it is advisable to be mindful of other users, especially if you use a public dry sauna.
  • Infrared sauna. This type of sauna differs from the other types because it does not contain any humidity. It heats up your body temperature and covers you in a heat glove.


Benefits of a Sauna


You may be wondering what a sauna is for.

The benefits derived from using a sauna may depend on various factors, including the type of sauna and the manner in which you use the facility.

Generally, saunas can benefit you in the following ways:


Stress Relief


The sauna helps to minimize your stress by calming your mind.

When in the sauna, the heat generates pleasure, which makes your mind stop thinking about anything else but enjoyment.

During your sauna session, you are likely to be alone.

The room is quiet, peaceful, and free of distraction.

This gives you peace of mind, which is necessary for proper meditation.

This partly explains why you should always close the door when in the sauna.

Being alone helps your mind to relax, focus, and reason properly.

When you get a better way to do this, your stress diminishes.

Additionally, the sauna heat is helpful because it facilitates relaxation of your muscles, and enhances blood circulation in the body and the brain.

Proper blood circulation refreshes your brain, ridding you of stressful mental processes.

The heat also triggers the release of endorphins, which are the hormones released in the nervous system to facilitate various physiological processes.


Body Detoxification


When in the sauna, the heat raises your body temperature, causing your blood vessels to dilate for improved blood circulation.

The heat from your blood moves toward the skin’s surface, prompting your nervous system to trigger the sweat glands.

The stimulation of the sweat glands results in sweating, which cools your body and eliminates toxic substances such as lead, mercury, and nickel from your blood.


Skin Cleansing


When you sweat deeply as a result of heat generated from your sauna, your skin undergoes cleansing.

The dead cells on it are also washed away and replaced with new ones.

This makes your skin look smooth and healthy.

Additionally, sweating eliminates bacteria from the sweat ducts and the epidermal layer of your skin, leading to improved capillary circulation and a soft skin look.


Healthy Sleep


Good sleep is necessary for your overall health because it helps you to rest and regain your energy, especially after strenuous activities.

The sauna induces deep sleep by reducing your body temperature in the evening during bedtime.

Low temperatures act as a soothing factor for you to sleep.

Also, because sauna bathing triggers the release of endorphins, regular use of the sauna means these hormones will decline due to overuse.

When this happens, your body feels relaxed and calm, causing a deep and healthy sleep.


Social and Recreational Benefits


Although not widely recognized, the social benefits of the sauna are evident.

The sauna can act as your private or personal area for solitude and relaxation.

Additionally, it can be an environment conducive to relaxation and socialization with your family and close friends.

The facility is also appropriate if you want a quiet and intimate talk with your loved ones.


Cardiovascular Performance Enhancement


When you use the traditional or infrared sauna, the high heat generated from it raises your skin and body temperature.

As a result, the blood vessels under the skin undergo dilation, boosting your cardiovascular performance.

Your heart rate increases due to the change in temperature, meaning that the heart pumps the blood around the body faster.


Helps in Burning Calories


When you sweat in a sauna, this requires a significant amount of energy.

To meet this energy need, your body converts fats and carbohydrates into energy.

When the body’s need for energy increases due to increased activity, it resorts to needing calories to fill the energy deficit.

Your body converts calories into usable energy, hence burning them.


Sickness Prevention


When your body is exposed to the sauna’s heat, the rate of white blood cell production increases and this boosts your immune system.

It helps your body in fighting conditions such as colds and influenza and killing viruses that cause infections.

Furthermore, saunas relieve the symptoms of sinusitis resulting from allergies.


Reduces Pain in Muscles and Joints


When your body is exposed to high heat from a sauna, it releases endorphins into your nervous system.

These endorphins make you feel pleasure, reducing the effect of pain from arthritis, heavy physical activities, or muscle soreness.

The sauna heat also causes your body temperature to rise, leading to dilation of your blood vessels.

When this happens, your blood circulation is enhanced.

Proper blood circulation speeds up the healing ability of your body.

The heat of a sauna promotes muscle relaxation by reducing muscle tension following intense physical activity.

It also helps in eliminating toxins such as lactic acid, which usually builds up in your muscles during intense physical activity.


How Long You Should Stay in a Sauna?


Being in a sauna is a luxurious experience that comes with many health benefits.

However, you must wonder how long should you stay in a sauna.

Just as you would do with other equipment, you must use the sauna responsibly.

This prevents you from any potential damage that may occur due to improper or excessive use of the facility.

When using the sauna, you need to pay attention to how your body feels.

As a first-time user, you may feel the need to get out of the sauna after a few minutes.

This is healthy, but you can stay for a few more minutes, as long as you feel comfortable.

To be on the safe side, be sure not to stay in the sauna for more than 15 minutes.

You may get out, cool yourself, and return to the sauna for another 10 minutes or so.

Whether you are a first-time or seasoned user, it is healthy that you should not stay in the sauna for more than 30 minutes.

Although you may want to stay in the sauna for up to one hour, this may be unusual, despite the lack of a specific rule.


How to Use a Sauna Properly?


Proper use of a sauna minimizes the chances of side effects and ensures that it fulfills the purpose for which it is meant.

To use the facility properly, you need to take certain precautions and apply certain tips as follows:

  • Take time before jumping into your cool shower to avoid a rapid change of body temperature. Your body needs time to adjust gradually from the steam to the cool bath. This helps to avoid any shock that may occur when the body changes rapidly from high to low temperature.
  • Hydrate properly before the sauna session. The sauna experience results in sweating, leading to loss of water from your body. Taking a lot of water before entering the sauna is therefore crucial because it ensures that the water lost through sweating is replaced immediately to prevent dehydration. Dehydration is risky to your body and may cause heat stroke. Also, avoid drinks that cause dehydration before and during the sauna experience. One such drink is alcohol.
  • Avoid the sauna after a heavy meal. A heavy meal needs a lot of energy for digestion. This deprives your body of the energy needed for sweating in the sauna. It is advisable for you to have enough rest after the meal to allow the body to regain energy before you enter the sauna.
  • Always read the instructions in the sauna before you begin using it. The instructions provide guidelines, warnings, and safety measures you need to take into account when using the facility. They may vary from one sauna to another, so it is advisable to read them, rather than to assume.
  • As a beginner, use a lower temperature and increase it gradually. This prevents your body from heat shock resulting from a rapid temperature change.
  • Get out of the sauna immediately if you start feeling discomfort. Your body is not meant to withstand high temperatures for a long time. A safe way to use the sauna is to limit your sessions to between 15 and 20 minutes.




In a nutshell, using a sauna is beneficial to your body, because it helps alleviate stress, flush out toxins from your body, cleanse your skin, and improve blood circulation.

It is also helpful in preventing sicknesses, reducing pain in muscles and joints, and inducing healthy sleep, among other benefits.

However, for you to enjoy these benefits, you have to use the unit in the right way.

Remember, your body is not meant to withstand high temperatures for longer sessions, as this may cause harm to your health.

Now that you know what a sauna is and what it is for, be sure to follow these important safety measures before stepping into the facility.

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (10 votes, average: 3.90 out of 5)