Saunas Reduce All Causes of mortality

Benefits of a sauna

Sauna therapy is a scientifically backed method that is not only enjoyable but can improve health and meaningfully reduce your risk of developing numerous diseases and symptoms. This guide examines the latest research into how we can benefit the most from a sauna, unveiling how long you should sauna, how many times, and at what temperature, plus how it can improve cardiovascular health, aid muscle recovery, enhance overall well-being and so much more.

All our guides are created by us and enhanced by our community, we consider these living resources that need constant nourishment as new and interesting research emerges. If you know of other research we should include please let us know.

Reduce the risk of Cancer, Dementia, and Heart disease. Should everyone be Sauna’ing?

Saunas offer a lot of the same benefits as exercise, and we should all be exercising, but like exercise you can optimise your workout to get the best results. The following sections give you a summary of how best to use a Sauna for optimal health benefits.

How long should you stay in a Sauna?

How long you should stay in a sauna depends on your own comfort and temperature, but on average most do 5 to 20 minutes. A study investigating the frequency and length of sauna sessions against risk of sudden cardiac arrest found that compared to those that had <11 minutes in the sauna :

  • The 11-19 minute group had 7% lower risk of sudden cardiac death
  • The real sweet spot appeared when compared against the 19+ minute sauna squad, with a 52% lower risk of sudden cardiac death.

One study was even testing 30-minute sauna sessions , which was uncomfortable for participants. They also found that basal body temperature only started to increase after 10min and then increased for a further 10min. Suppose the basal body temperature is partly responsible for some of the sauna benefits. In that case, this suggests 20min is the ideal time to achieve the highest body temperature and results, but under 10min you don’t see the same benefit. Heart rate also increases the longer you stay, which indicates that longer sessions result in a better workout. It is worth noting that in this study the sauna was set to 73°C which is slightly lower than a normal sauna. Possibly higher temperatures may reduce the amount of time you should spend in the sauna but this needs to be investigated.

How many Sauna sessions per week should you have?

Researchers investigated the link between sauna duration and health outcomes in 2315 men (42-60 years), particularly focusing on sudden cardiac death (SCD), fatal coronary heart disease (CHD), and fatal cardiovascular disease (CVD). Interestingly more sauna sessions seemed to correlate with lower risks!

  • 2-3 sauna sessions per week resulted in a 24% lower risk of all causes of mortality
  • 4-7 sauna sessions per week resulted in a 40% lower risk of all causes of mortality

There is also a 41% reduction in the risk of respiratory diseases (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, or pneumonia) if you Sauna more than 3 times a week.

2 to 3 sauna sessions was also shown to reduce the risk of hypertension by 24% and 4 to 7 sessions by 46% .

Overall, if the research is correct, we should try and Sanua at least 4 times a week to get the best benefits.

What is the best temperature for a sauna?

A sauna typically ranges from 45 °C to 100 °C (113 °F to 212 °F). The recommended temperature for a sauna is from 80°C to 100°C at the level of the bather’s head but is lower at the floor level, which ensures efficient ventilation and makes sure the conditions are comfortable .

There isn’t an exact magic number, the lowest value we came across in our research was from the study testing 30min sauna sessions at 73°C. Lower temperatures can still make you sweat, which will have a slight detox effect so there is still some benefit, but you may miss out on the more substantial benefits.

In a 2010 Sauna challenge, the Russian finalist Vladimir Ladyzhensky and Finnish five-time champion Timo Kaukonen passed out after six minutes of 110 °C (230 °F) heat, both suffering from terrible burns and trauma , but i wouldn’t recommend trying anything close to 100 °C

Infra-red saunas can operate at a lower temperature as they don’t have to heat up the air. Therefore there is a cost-saving if that is a consideration.

Overall 73-90°C (180-195°F) is generally safe for most people

Sauna health benefits

Saunas can reduce the risk of vascular diseases such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and neurocognitive diseases, along with nonvascular conditions such as pulmonary diseases, mortality, and conditions such as arthritis, headache, and flu. Saunas work by increasing the body’s core temperature, which causes the blood vessels to dilate, and increases circulation. It also induces your body to sweat, which releases toxins.

There is growing evidence that saunas can help with a massive range of diseases. Here is a list of the ones we have come across.

If you find research on others please leave a comment or email us so that we can add them in to help others.

Arthritis & Rheumatic diseases

Saunas can alleviate pain and improve joint mobility in patients with rheumatic disease

Asthma & Chronic Bronchitis

The hot heat from a sauna can help open up your sinuses and lungs, making it easier to breathe. One study found a 41% reduction in the risk of respiratory diseases (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, or pneumonia) if you Sauna’d more 3 times a week.


There is some data to suggest that Sauna use will reduce the risk of getting some forms of cancer by 8% . This is only one study of 2315 men, so more research is needed.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

A study compared men with only 1 sauna session per week to those doing 2-3 sauna sessions, and found a 10-12% lower chance of developing Dementia and Alzheimer’s. When compared to 4-7 sessions a week, there was a massive 65-66% lower chance of developing the disease. This study was only done on men, so more research is needed to investigate if the same benefits are observed in women, but you would have thought there would be.


A small Twenty-eight person study found that Sauna therapy for 15 minutes (including bed rest with a blanket for 30 minutes) once a day, 5 days a week for a total of 20 sessions in 4 weeks, had statistical significance results for improving depression symptoms (physical symptoms, hunger, and relaxation scores)

Harden or Clogged Arteries

Harden or Clogged Arteries, otherwise known as atherosclerosis, disrupts the vital flow of blood. If left untreated it can lead to heart attack, stroke, angina, coronary heart disease, or peripheral arterial disease . Some symptoms include chest pain, confusion, as a result of blood not flowing to your brain, difficulty breathing, feeling very tired, pain in any of your limbs, where there may be a blocked artery, and weak muscles. Sauna’s have been shown to improve symptoms


Regular saunas are associated with a reduced risk of hypertension, which may be a mechanism underlying the decreased cardiovascular risk. 2 to 3 sauna sessions reduced the risk by 24% and 4 to 7 sessions by 46%


Frequent sauna sessions were shown to reduce the risk of getting pneumonia by 11%. Interestingly, being fit and frequent sauna use reduces your risk by 38%


A study with 1,628 adult men and women aged 53-74 years showed that middle-aged to elderly men and women who take frequent sauna baths have a substantially reduced risk of new-onset stroke. 4 -7 sauna sessions per week reduced the risk by 61%

INTERESTING FACT: Extreme sauna’s that induce hyperthermia have been shown to treat cancer. Find out more at:

When is the best time to Sauna?

The best time of day to use a sauna largely depends on your personal goals and preferences, as well as the type of sauna, but here are the pro’s and con’s

  1. Morning Sauna Use:
    • Pros: A pre-work sauna can boost your morning and help start your day refreshed, increase work efficiency, reduce stress levels, detox the body, and clear your head. It is believed that the heat from a sauna can promote wakefulness and prepare you for the day​​​​.
    • Cons: It can potentially disturb your circadian rhythm, especially if you use an infrared sauna, which promotes the secretion of melatonin and might leave you feeling groggy if done in the morning​​.
  2. Evening Sauna Use:
    • Pros: An evening sauna can aid relaxation and stress relief. The warmth from the sauna can help reduce muscle tension built up over the day and may improve sleep quality. Evening sessions can be especially beneficial after a tough workout as they can help in muscle recovery​​​​​​.
    • Cons: If you sauna too close to bedtime without proper hydration, you might risk dehydration or disrupt your sleep. Also, like exercise, too much stimulation before bed might make it harder for some people to fall asleep​​.

Traditional (Finnish) vs. Infrared (IR) Saunas: Differences and Health Benefits

When exploring the world of saunas, two primary types stand out: Traditional Finnish saunas and Infrared (IR) saunas. Each offers a unique approach to heat therapy, with distinct differences and health benefits. Understanding these can help you choose the right sauna experience for your health and wellness needs.

Traditional Finnish Saunas

How They Work: Traditional Finnish saunas create heat through a stove, either electric or wood-burning, that warms up stones. Water is occasionally thrown on these hot stones to produce steam, increasing the humidity in the air. The heat in these saunas is indirect, warming the air around you, which in turn heats your body.

Health Benefits:

  • Cardiovascular Improvement: The high temperatures increase heart rate and improve circulation, mimicking the effects of moderate exercise.
  • Stress Reduction: The heat relaxes muscles, alleviates tension in the body, and can lower cortisol levels, the body’s stress hormone.
  • Detoxification: Sweating at high temperatures helps flush toxins from the body through the skin.
  • Immune System Boost: Regular sauna use can enhance the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells.

Infrared (IR) Saunas

How They Work: Unlike traditional saunas, IR saunas use infrared lamps to directly heat your body without significantly warming the air around you. This allows for a sauna experience at lower temperatures, making it more comfortable for some people.

Health Benefits:

  • Deep Tissue Relief: Infrared heat penetrates deeper into the skin and muscle tissue, providing relief from muscular aches and pains.
  • Improved Circulation: The direct heat from IR saunas promotes blood flow and can help lower blood pressure.
  • Enhanced Detoxification: Because the heat penetrates deeper, it can stimulate a more profound sweat and, consequently, a more effective detoxification process.
  • Weight Loss Support: Some studies suggest that the deep heat of an IR sauna can aid in weight loss by increasing the metabolic rate, the rate at which the body burns calories.

Use Both for Different Benefits: Utilizing both types of saunas at different times can offer a comprehensive approach to wellness. Traditional saunas are excellent for a vigorous heat experience and stimulating wakefulness in the morning. In contrast, infrared saunas are ideal for evening use, promoting deep relaxation and aiding in sleep preparation due to their melatonin-boosting effects.

Sauna or Steam room? Which is better for you?

The choice between a sauna and a steam room often comes down to personal preference, but understanding the differences in how they work and their respective health benefits can help you make an informed decision based on your health goals and preferences.

Health Benefits of Steam Rooms:

  • Respiratory Benefits: The moist air is excellent for clearing congestion, benefiting those with asthma, sinusitis, or bronchitis.
  • Skin Hydration: The humidity can help hydrate the skin, opening pores and aiding in the removal of impurities.
  • Muscle Relaxation: Like saunas, steam rooms can help relax muscles and relieve pain, though the moist heat penetrates differently.
  • Stress Relief: The warm, moist environment also helps reduce stress and promote relaxation.

Key Differences

  • Heat Type: Saunas offer dry heat, which can be more intense, while steam rooms provide moist heat, which is gentler and can feel more suffocating to some due to the high humidity.
  • Temperature: Saunas operate at higher temperatures compared to the lower, more humid conditions in steam rooms.
  • Respiratory Relief: Steam rooms may be more beneficial for those seeking respiratory relief due to the moist air.
  • Skin and Detoxification: While both aid in detoxification through sweating, the steam room’s moist heat is particularly good for the skin, offering hydration and cleansing.

A study comparing different physiological parameters while in sauna or steam room, found significant differences only during the first 10 minutes. There was a greater drop in diastolic blood pressure, a higher increase in systolic blood pressure, and a greater rise in pulse rate in the sauna. However, after 20 minutes there were no significant differences.

Steam rooms do help with congestion much better than a dry sauna does, due to the high humidity. However, conditions aggravated by humidity will find that a sauna will be better.

Choosing between a sauna and a steam room largely depends on your personal health goals and how your body responds to dry vs. moist heat. If you’re looking for intense heat with cardiovascular and detoxification benefits, a sauna might be your best choice. On the other hand, if you’re seeking respiratory relief, skin hydration, or a gentler form of heat, a steam room could be more beneficial.

Ultimately, both saunas and steam rooms offer valuable health benefits, including stress relief, muscle relaxation, and improved circulation. Trying both can provide a clearer picture of which environment suits you best, and incorporating either into your wellness routine can enhance your overall health and well-being.

If you are looking at buying a sauna or steam room, steam rooms are well known to break down more.

Sauna science – how they affect your biology

This section is very technical and tries to explain some of the underlying biological processes that occur in the body during a sauna session.

Repeated sauna use acclimates your body to heat and optimizes your body’s response to future exposures, likely due to the biological phenomenon known as hormesis. Hormesis is a beneficial stress that strengthens your body to prepare it for future stress. Exercise is also considered a form of hormesis, as it triggers a wide array of physiological responses designed to improve the function and capacity of the muscles, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, and other bodily systems.

The beneficial effects of sauna’s are linked to their effect on circulatory, cardiovascular, and immune functions. Regular sauna bathing may improve cardiovascular function via reduced arterial stiffness and modulation of the autonomic nervous system, beneficial changes in circulating lipid profiles, and lowering of systemic blood pressure. .

Biohacking tip: Sauna’s have been shown to improve CRP . A key biomarker used to measure inflamation in the body

A common observation among individuals with cardiometabolic diseases is the presence of damaged or dysfunctional proteins , as alterations in protein structure can significantly impact their function . When cells undergo thermal stress, they produce stress-responsive proteins known as heat shock proteins (HSPs). These HSPs play a critical role in protecting proteins from damage by identifying and refolding misshaped proteins, thus preserving their function. Additionally, heat shock proteins help counteract premature apoptosis, thereby supporting cell survival and maintenance

Although heat is going to cause most of the benefits, it is also likely that increased social interaction and the low-stress environment of a sauna could have a positive effect on health.

Sauna as an alternative to exercise?

Sauna’s are amazing for those who can’t exercise, as it provides an alternative way to achieve some of the cardiovascular benefits reported from exercise

Conditions such as osteoarthritis, obesity, and spinal cord injury, or simply age or injury, limit the ability to exercise. Recent evidence indicates that some of these stressors might derive from exercise-induced body temperature increases.

In the typical warm and relatively dry sauna, skin blood flow usually increases, leading to higher cardiac output, whereas blood flow to internal organs decreases with an increased body temperature. During a sauna session, the heart rate may increase from baseline up to 120 to 150 beats/min . This increases heart rate during a sauna session, which corresponds to low or moderate intensity exercise. The health benefits associated with a sauna are similar to the benefits seen with regular exercise, such as improvement in blood pressure.

Combining with exercise

Exercise clearly offers the most substantiated benefits for overall health, but a paper investigating the combined effect of sauna bathing and cardiorespiratory fitness on the risk of Sudden Cardiac Deaths found that high aerobic fitness and frequent sauna’s are associated with a substantially lower risk of sudden cardiac death compared with high fitness or frequent sauna bathing alone.

  • High fitness and frequent sauna sessions reduced the risk by 69%
  • High fitness and a low number of sauna sessions reduced the risk by 51%
  • Low fitness and frequent sauna sessions reduced the risk by 29%

A single sauna session after exercise has been shown to reduce oxidative stress induced by a 30 minute aerobic exercise in healthy men.

How expensive are saunas?

The cost of installing a home sauna in the UK can vary greatly depending on several factors, including the type of sauna, size, customisation, and installation expenses.

Sauna costs
Source: Dec 2023

  1. Types and Price Ranges of Saunas:
    • Traditional saunas typically use hot stones for heating and can vary in price based on size and features.
    • Dry saunas use a dry heater and are suitable for home use due to lower humidity.
    • Infrared saunas use infrared heaters and are popular for their lower temperature range and easier installation.
  2. Outdoor Sauna Costs:
    • Outdoor saunas are an option if indoor space is limited. These can range from £2,500 to £10,000, depending on the size and features​​.
  3. DIY and Modular Sauna Options:
    • Building a sauna yourself can be the cheapest option, with costs for a good sauna door and heater ranging from £100 to £500.
    • Modular saunas, which consist of pre-assembled panels, range between £2,500 and £3,500 for a four-person sauna.
    • Sauna kits, requiring some carpentry skills, can cost between £1,500 and £2,500 for a four-person sauna​​.
  4. Running Costs:
    • The average running cost of a home sauna is around £3 per hour​​.
  5. Additional Costs:
    • Keep in mind potential additional costs like electrical work, plumbing, and maintenance.

Who shouldn’t use a Sauna?

Individuals who are prone to orthostatic hypotension (changing in blood pressure as you stand up) should be cautious when sauna bathing because of a possible decrease in blood pressure, which typically occurs immediately after a sauna . If you have any health issues, it is always advisable to talk to your doctor before trying a new treatment.

Sauna safety tips

If you are new to heat therapy and Sauna’s, you are going to want to take things slow and easy.

  • Always consult with your doctor before starting any new treatment plan. Most people don’t but if you have a health condition it is a good idea.
  • Warm up slowly in the sauna, taking breaks as needed.
  • Drink plenty of water before and after your session to stay hydrated.
  • Stay in the sauna for 10-15 minutes. Even though some studies show the best results for longer durations, it is not recommended for beginners and should be left to experts. A lot of people when they first start can only do a few minutes.
  • Don’t push yourself to get the benefits
  • Alcohol consumption during sauna bathing increases the risk of hypotension, arrhythmia, and sudden death, and should be avoided.
  • If a sauna is overly hot, there is a risk of burning your skin. Touching or lying down inside a sauna should not be painful.

Is a Sauna safe for kids?

In the UK kids under the age of 16 are generally not allowed in Saunas. In Europe the rules seem slightly more relaxed. The research suggests that the change in blood pressure after a sauna could cause children under the age of 10 to faint . Therefore if they do go in, they need to be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.

To investigate

Here are some topics we would like to expand on, comment below if you would like us to add any of them

  • Does a hot bath have similar benefits to a Sauna?
  • History of saunas
  • Can you overheat in a sauna?
  • Dangers of heat therapy
    • Reduced sperm count
  • Best saunas on the market
  • More on steam rooms
  • After eating how long should you wait before going into a sauna
  • How to get the most out of a Sauna
    • Sauna gadgets & accessories – hats, essential oils
    • breathing techniques
    • Back Alignment
    • Supplements
    • Cold therapy

Would you like to make a difference? Our goal is to make our content an amazing resource to help people improve their lives, so if you know of a new study that we haven’t covered or feel we should add anything, let us know in the comments or by email. If you also found our work helpful please let us know, the more people we help the more time we will want to spend researching and writing new topics to help even more people!


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