Steamy Sauna Secrets: the surprising benefits of Saunas

The benefits of using saunas for health and recovery

The Insider Secrets and Benefits of Saunas for your mood, skin, libido and overall heath.

Believe it or not, the health benefits of saunas are similar to exercise. Intense sweating which occurs after entering any sauna increases blood flow, promoting a multitude of physiological benefits to improve many aspects of health.

Saunas are seemingly everywhere in Sydney right now, from, within luxury hotel spas to beauty salon, health and wellness retreats, at many gyms and fitness centres and there are even stand alone sauna centres.

The intense short term heat exposure produced by Saunas has significant physiological benefits. The rise in core body temperature and the elevation of skin temperature activates thermoregulatory pathways and the central nervous system. 

This can cause increased blood flow, heart rate, cardiac output and  – obviously, sweating. 

Once the sweat evaporates from the skin, cooling of the body then facilitates temperature homeostasis, being the capitalisation of thermoregulation, which is the process of the body maintaining a steady internal body temperature, despite its external conditions.

Types of Saunas

There are 3 common types of saunas:

Dry Sauna

Hot rocks for traditional saunas
Spa World

Dry saunas have dry air and high temperatures and can also be referred as traditional Finnish Saunas which have burning wood to heat sauna rocks, and thereby heating the sauna room. 

When using a dry sauna, it should consist of short exposures of 5-20 minutes at temperatures of 80-100 degrees Celsius.

Steam Sauna

Steam Sauna for benefits

Steam Saunas rely on steam from boiling water which is then poured onto stones for heat to create humid environments. They are used in larger often tiled rooms rather than a concealed space where condensation builds up on the walls and ceiling.

Steam saunas will generally be between 30-50 degrees Celsius for a maximum of 20 minutes.

Infrared Sauna

Infrared sauna
Peloton The Output

These are the trendiest saunas right now. Infrared light is used at different wavelengths without additional humidity or water to create heat, penetrating deeper into the skin and neuromuscular system than hot air. 

The infrared sauna tends to increase the volume of sweat with lower temperatures in comparison to the traditional Finnish Sauna due to their advanced infrared heaters to warm the body directly in comparison to traditional saunas.

It is advised to use infrared saunas at lower temperatures of 45-60 degrees Celsius for 25-45 minutes due to the intensity of the infrared lights. Although, the sauna session should end when your body feels hot enough and deeply relaxed.

Benefits of Saunas

Promotes and accelerates muscle recovery

During exercise, microscopic tears occur, causing inflammation which leads to delayed onset muscle soreness. Using Saunas instantly after a workout will speed up the recovery process. 

Heat exposure enables the muscles to relieve tension and soreness, aiding in muscular relaxation. The heat increases blood flow, exposing muscles to more oxygen to help aid in the removal of waste such as lactic acid. This suggests a fast recovery rate for muscles and nerves to help improve your performance and health.

A 2013 research study revealed one Sauna session post workout reduces oxidative stress by 17.5%

Releases toxins

Whilst sweat is the body’s response to cooling the body’s temperature, sweat can help with the removal of harmful PCB’s, BPA’s and heavy metals from the body.

A 2015 study by Oxford Academics revealed sweat binds with bacteria, where the removal of dead skin cells and flushing of bacteria also helps the production of new skin cells, offering a detox and better circulation in the body to improve health.

Releasing toxins in a sauna
Conscious spacing


Due to the release of toxics, and the subsequent production of new skin cells, as well as improved circulation, skin cells turn over faster. This makes the skin smoother giving it a glow and potentially a plumper, fresher look.

Improved cardiovascular health and reduction of blood pressure

The dry heat and vapours in saunas will help loosen toxics and mucus from the respiratory system, helping the lungs to have better access to oxygen which is crucial for recovery from exercise. In turn, this will decrease blood pressure and improve cardiovascular function.

Frequent sauna use will mimic the bodily responses to exercise, aiding in the protection against cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disease. This was revealed in a study in 2021.

Mental health and stress relief

Saunas could improve blood circulation, including the brain which can uplift muscle and nerve function to limit symptoms of fatigue. 

Saunas have also been linked to reduced depression, improved mood, and a reduced risk in psychotic disorders. 

Saunas offer the opportunity to practice stress management with techniques such as meditation and deep breathing whilst in the sauna to help control the mind. Many Saunas have Bluetooth facilities to stream meditations into the sauna itself to support better mental health as well as relaxation.

Risks of Saunas- Ensuring safety


As the body sweats from the Sauna, it loses body fluid and requires a replacement of fluids that are lost. This helps ensure the risk of heat stress and dehydration is removed. It is advised to have a water bottle with you when utilising saunas.

drinking water in sauna

Heart stress

For individuals with high-risk heart disease, chest pain or hypertension, saunas are not advised. This is due to the shift of blood from major organs which cause the heart to pump more blood, placing the vital organs under more stress which can be dangerous.

It is important to consult a professional before using a Sauna.

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