Clearlight would like to remind users that this should not be taken as direct medical advice, and you should always consult a licensed health practitioner before making any significant changes to your lifestyle or existing pain treatment regimen.
With the health benefits of infrared saunas extremely well-documented, it’s worth asking the question of how long it takes for the benefits to kick in and whether or not you can ever have too much of a good thing.
In this article, we look at what studies have said about how long you should spend inside an infrared sauna for the maximum amount of health benefits and help you create the ultimate sauna sessions, no matter your experience.
How long should you stay in an Infrared Sauna for Benefits?
The optimal time to spend in an infrared sauna for the most health benefits is 25 minutes at 55ºC at least 3 times a week over a minimum of 3 months.
This recommendation comes from analysing a list of sauna clinical studies on the amount of time used to achieve multiple health benefits, determining the length of time in the sauna and the frequency of sauna exposure for each study.
How long should you sauna for inflammation and muscle soreness?
Frequent sauna use for 30 minutes at 55ºC is how long you should spend in a sauna for sore muscles. Heat therapy can reduce muscle soreness because the heat stress on the human body causes blood vessels to widen, and the cardiovascular system to increase which then increases blood flow and supplies muscles with nutrients needed for repair while also removing any built-up waste products stored in muscles and joints, especially after exercise.
How long should you sauna for detoxification benefits?
This is due to the infrared rays penetrating the body directly and causing the subcutaneous fat cells in the adipose tissue to vibrate and release heavy metals and toxins. This unique property is what makes infrared saunas for detox such a powerful tool.
How long should you stay in the sauna for weight loss?
How long should you sauna for mental health benefits?
How long you should stay in the sauna for mental health benefits, like anxiety and depression, are 15-20 minutes at 60ºC.
Using a sauna helps to lower cortisol levels and allows the nervous system to reset, providing users with increased relaxation, improved sleep quality and improved mental health.
How long should you use a sauna for a cold or flu?
How long you should sauna for a cold is absolutely zero because you shouldn't sauna with a cold or flu. However, you should stay in the sauna for 15 minutes if you are looking to boost your immune system to help prevent getting sick in the first place.
15 minutes is all you need for your body to induce an artificial fever, increasing white blood cells and ATP production, allowing your cells to repair and better fight off pathogens.
How long should you sauna for better heart health?
How long you should sauna for heart health benefits is 20 minutes, 4 to 7 times a week at 55ºC. Cardiovascular disease is one of the world's leading causes of mortality, and frequent sauna sessions improve cardiovascular health by a staggering 63% reducing the risk of sudden cardiac death. Infrared sauna use not only releases muscle tension but also supports healthy blood pressure.
Lower temperature saunas are a comfortable and enjoyable activity that activates the cardiovascular response for improvements in some types of high blood pressure and cardiovascular issues. The most famous randomised clinical trial for heart health examined middle-aged Finnish men over an extended period of time and determined frequent Finnish sauna visits improved longevity from cardiovascular disease-related deaths.
How long should you sauna for skin benefits?
How long you should sauna for skin benefits such as anti-aging, purification or reduction in cellulite, scars and wrinkles is 15 minutes, 2 times a week. Regular sauna use has been shown to be beneficial for skin elasticity and collagen production.
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How long does it take for you to benefit from using a sauna?
On average, it takes 3 months of regular sauna bathing at 3-times a week to notice any physiological health benefits of infrared sauna use.
The potential health benefits of infrared saunas continue to grow the more frequently you stay in the sauna.
Is a daily sauna good for you?
Yes, a daily sauna is generally good for you depending on the potential health benefits you desire from a sauna bath.
Of course, you should always listen to your body. Depending on your body composition and ability to withstand heat exposure, you can risk dehydration if you are not properly hydrated.
What happens if you stay in a sauna too long?
If you stay in the sauna too long, particularly a Finnish sauna or traditional sauna, you risk severe dehydration and symptoms of heat stroke like dizziness and headaches.
Also, seminal and molecular evidence shows that too much heat exposure to the testicles may lower your sperm count for up to 3-months after use.
What should you wear in a Sauna room?
In most Western countries, public sauna bathing requires you to wear clothes and preferably a towel. In a Traditional sauna, you'll want to wear swimwear or gym wear because they will be getting wet from sweat.
A Finnish sauna and steam room are the same, as many sauna bath houses will have you going from the swimming pool or cold plunge into the sauna room.
In Scandinavian countries, many sauna bath houses are naked only, which depending on your sauna experience and culture, may be confronting for some.
Of course, Finnish saunas and traditional saunas in these countries are deep-rooted in culture and history, and in public sauna bathing naked or with only a towel is very normal.
In a dry sauna like an infrared sauna, you'll want to make sure you have plenty of towels, not only to sit on but to dry your skin as you sweat during sauna use. If you are in a private sauna, then it's best to use a sauna naked with towels, as this allows the heat to contact the skin and body directly, faster increasing the core body temperature and activating the benefits of the sauna.
What is the best temperature for a Sauna?
The best temperature for an infrared sauna is 60ºC, however, with infrared saunas it is important to ensure the heater panels are turned on at all times. This means if you would like to lower the temperature of the infrared sauna you should use the air vent or open the door to regulating the cabin temperature.
If the thermometer inside your infrared sauna cabin reaches its desired temperature set on the digital control pad, the heater panels will turn off automatically and only turn back on when the temperature in the cabin goes below the set temperature.
So to get the most detoxification, weight loss, sore muscle and pain relief benefits, you want to ensure the infrared rays are penetrating your body directly for your entire session.
Depending on the type, traditional saunas can reach temperatures of 65ºC - 110ºC. A traditional sauna with wood-burning heat therapy will have dry heat, while traditional Finnish saunas will use sauna rocks for wet heat.
Both these sauna types provide similar benefits to traditional heat therapy – a very hot air temperature. Experienced users enjoy this sauna experience, while beginners prefer lower temperatures like in an infrared sauna. Again, this is a personal preference for whichever sauna experience you enjoy most.
Sauna use during these times provides an additional benefit to the regulation of hormones, as the body is naturally going through its hormonal cycle to either begin or finish the day, heat stress further activates physiological responses that support this regulation.
Regardless of the optimal time to have your sauna session, you should always listen to your body and tailor the sessions to your needs and wants.
For some, stepping into a sauna in the morning can help kick-start the body’s circulatory system and wake them up, while others may find taking a sauna in the evening can regulate their circadian rhythm for sauna sleep benefits.
How to use Infrared Saunas for beginners
Sauna sessions for beginners are focused on having an enjoyable, relaxing and beneficial experience. Therefore, regular cooling breaks, ensuring to drink plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration, and getting fresh air are all a part of the experience.
Rinsing before you sauna in warm, clean water to remove any impurities on the skin.
Keep the temperature high in the sauna, and ensure you are comfortable by taking breaks or opening the sauna door.
Every 5 to 15 minutes when you begin to overheat, take a break to experience cold – ice bath, cold plunge, pool or cold shower for a short period of time (minimum of 30 seconds).
Dry yourself thoroughly and re-enter the already hot sauna, drinking water with minerals.
Repeat this 2 to 4 times depending on how long you have.
Afterwards, take your time to remain in a relaxed state. Allow 15 to 30 minutes where you can rest, breathe and enjoy a balanced nervous system.
Speaking to Dr Marc Cohen, he explained to us that, “there’s no prescription to say based on your body type, this is how long or how much time you should spend in the sauna. But there is a subjective prescription to say go to the point where you are comfortably uncomfortable, take three calm breaths at that point, go and relax, and then do that for a couple of rounds.”
It comes as no surprise that Dr Marc Cohen recommends that anyone spending time in a sauna is well hydrated before they enter. “Heat is a really powerful force,” he says.
“Heat can move a steam train, so when you’re using saunas it’s really important to stay hydrated, and have an idea of your own personal tolerance. That point of tolerance is dynamic, and changes depending on our mood, how often we use a sauna, as well as our state of health."
How long should a beginner stay in a sauna?
A beginner should aim for 15 minutes in an infrared sauna and work their way up to the average session time for using a sauna user, which is between 25-45 minutes.
While exact time-frames might remain personal preference to one's ability to withstand the heat, infrared saunas have an advantage over traditional saunas when it comes to how long you can stay inside soaking up their benefits. This is because they operate at lower air temperatures than traditional hot-air saunas.
How long should experienced sauna users stay in a sauna?
An experienced sauna user may enjoy spending +45 minutes in any given sauna session, inside a traditional sauna, Finnish sauna, steam room and infrared sauna depending on what they are wanting to achieve.
Some experienced users might want to enhance their sauna session by incorporating something like the Niacin Detox Protocol or another sauna enhancer. Subsequently, how to use a sauna for maximum benefits varies and is dependent on incorporating additional modalities with saunas.
Should you spend the same amount of time in an Infrared Sauna as a Traditional Sauna?
Yes, you should spend roughly the same amount of time inside an infrared sauna as you would spend inside a traditional wood-burning sauna or steam room. Are all saunas healthy to spend long periods of time in? That depends on a number of factors such as the temperature of these saunas and how you are feeling.
As outlined in this blog, the amount of time you spend inside a sauna for the most benefits is roughly 25 minutes, 3 to 4 times per week at 55ºC. What makes infrared sauna so desirable to use for benefits is that it is more comfortable and relaxing to use (especially for beginners) over wet or extremely hot saunas without compromising how good they are for you.
In conclusion, spending time in a sauna is possibly one of the best resources you can do for your health in order to live a long, high-quality life. From detoxification to weight loss, skin benefits to heart health, pain relief to diabetes support, and mental health enhancements to boosting the immune system, simply spending 25 minutes, only a few times per week is an easy, safe and enjoyable way to live life to your fullest. If you're interested in Clearlight® Saunas for your home, browse our range of high-quality infrared saunas.
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