6 Tips For Getting the Most Out of the Sauna Safely -- By Dr. Stephen Stevenson

Updated: Sep 7, 2021

Most people try to avoid sweating, unless they are at the gym. However, the body uses sweating as one of its methods of detoxification.

You don’t need to go to the gym or work in the garden when it’s 90 degrees to get a good sweat on. Just hop in the sauna. In fact, sweating in the sauna can provide more detoxification benefits, or at least help remove different toxins than running on a treadmill or pulling weeds.

Not only do saunas have numerous health benefits, they can be extremely relaxing. However, you must observe a few safety practices to avoid unwanted side effects. Here's six tips for safe and effective sauna experiences:

  1. Take it slow in the beginning. Research has shown that upwards of 85% of the toxins you'll be releasing come out in the first five minutes of sweating, so even short sessions can be beneficial. You may want to start with ten- to fifteen-minute sessions. This is particularly important for children and elderly persons since they can have more difficulty regulating their body temperature.

  2. Listen to your body. If you begin to feel lightheaded or nauseous it is time to get out. As you acclimate to the sauna experience you will be able to tolerate longer periods of time and may be able to extend that to a half hour or more.

  3. The optimal temperature ranges for an infrared sauna are 110–130 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re new to the sauna experience you may want to start at the lower end of this range.

  4. To prevent dehydration, drink at least a couple of glasses of water prior to and following your sauna. Adding electrolytes to the water can also be beneficial because you lose electrolytes through sweating. Do not consume soda, sugary drinks, or drinks with caffeine because these can be diuretic and actually increase dehydration. The same goes for alcohol. In addition to increasing your risk for dehydration, alcohol can affect your judgment and the amount of time you spend in the sauna.

  5. Avoid using the sauna for at least an hour after a larg