Originating in Northern Europe and popularized by Finland, saunas have remained a great way for people to receive health and well-being benefits for ages. Sauna users often enjoy the sauna experience a few times per week, however, it can be used more often – what if you have access to use one multiple times a day? Is this advised?
You can use a sauna twice a day, but there’s no evidence it will increase the health benefits more than daily, or even just multiple-times-per-week use. The added sweating from multiple sessions may lead to dehydration, so if you’re doing multiple sessions, be sure to hydrate properly and consider starting out with multiple shorter sessions.
Using saunas twice a day or more is generally not a problem but has not been shown to provide any additional benefits of using it once per day. If you want to use a sauna multiple times a day, just listen to your body and don’t go for too long. If you use it many times and for too long, you can quickly become dehydrated. One way of knowing is if you have dark, strong-smelling urine, which is a clear indication of dehydration – if you notice this after the first sauna visit, don’t do your planned second venture.
Effects of Using the Sauna Twice a Day
The health benefits of sauna use are plentiful, and scientific studies have shown that regular sauna use can prevent the onset of serious medical conditions. In the shorter term, regular sauna use can promote weight loss, provide better sleep and increased relaxation, relieve sore muscles and joint pain associated with arthritis, improve circulation, and make your skin healthier and tighter. In the longer term, sauna bathing has been shown in some scientific studies to reduce cardiovascular disease in both men and women.
Additionally, a 2016 study concluded that sauna bathing three times a week may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Scientists have also uncovered the deleterious effects of increased cortisol levels (also the reason why loneliness is so harmful), which is caused by stress in large part. Saunas reduce cortisol levels and subsequently lead to a decreased chance of many other diseases and medical issues.
Short-term and Long-term Sauna Health Benefits
While these short-term health improvements and long-term potential health benefits sound fantastic, does using the sauna more often increase the health benefits? This is a question that is difficult to answer. Almost all studies are reviewed with participants using a sauna once a day. However, logically thinking, too much of one thing could be harmful. For example, saunas cause you to sweat, and if you use a sauna multiple times a day, it may be hard to keep up with hydration.
Proper hydration is critical, especially if your body is not acclimated to routine sauna use. If you have any symptoms of dehydration, you should stop sauna use immediately. You can suffer health effects like dehydration and heatstroke if you overdo it. Traditional saunas, infrared/far-infrared saunas, and steam rooms all work differently, so the answer to sauna use twice a day is a bit nuanced for each. The differences have to do with the heat intensity and the humidity levels.
Can You Use Steam Saunas Twice a Day?
As we explained in a separate guide, steam rooms are generally the safer method for multiple uses per day. In fact, if you’re already acclimated to the sauna environment (through regular sauna use), you may not even need to ramp up or go through a preparation phase like you should with traditional and infrared saunas. Steam rooms are a bit safer to use two times a day (or more) and require less preparation because the heat of steam rooms is less intense than the other sauna types.
Steam rooms are generally kept around 110°F (43°C), which is much lower than saunas. In most cases, users employ sauna hygrometers like this one (on Amazon) to ensure their sauna is kept at the perfect temperature and humidity level. Unsurprisingly, many sauna guides and salons actually recommend taking up to three steam room sessions with 45 minutes to an hour break in between. Just be aware that while steam room use twice a day sounds safer, that doesn’t mean you can’t overdo it: listen to your body and look out for signs of dehydration and heatstroke.
Can You Use Infrared Saunas Twice a Day?
In general, you can use infrared saunas twice a day, in fact, sauna blankets like this one (also from Amazon) are just fine to use more than once. However, you should be mindful of your body’s response including your hydration levels. Since infrared and far-infrared saunas heat up your body directly, it is more intense than a steam room. Infrared saunas use infrared radiation or far-infrared radiation to heat your body. It is entirely safe and does not directly heat the room’s air as traditional saunas, and steam rooms do.
The air temperature is much lower, but the IR warms you internally and still causes increased body temperature and sweating. Put simply, it is still intense on your body. However, even though it may feel easier to stay in than other saunas, the heat and dehydration can sneak up on you. Therefore, if you plan to use the infrared sauna twice a day, you should decrease your sauna session time by 15-20 minutes per visit.
As your body adjusts to the multiple visits to the infrared heat, you can slowly build up your session time by 5-10 minute intervals all the way up to 50 minutes per visit. Remember, hydration, hydration, hydration! Drinking water and plenty of fluids are crucial to any sauna visit, moreover, as we explored in our other article, the rule isn’t much different if you plan on doing cryotherapy and saunas on the same day.
Using a Sauna for Longer with Periodic Breaks
You can use a sauna for a more extended period if you take the proper amount of breaks between sessions and stay hydrated. In Finland, it is very common for sauna users to use the sauna for hours at a time, with 15 minutes breaks in the outside cold weather. So, it is worth experimenting with the number of sauna visits you do and the time between each sauna visit – you should be ok.
However, you wouldn’t want to jump right into a more extended sauna session or back-to-back sessions if you’re a sauna novice. Work your way up to longer lengths of time and multiple visits slowly, so you do not overexert your body. It’s really worth mentioning again that you have to ensure you stay hydrated at all times.
Conclusion: Listen to your Body
While visiting a sauna twice a day or multiple times a day sounds appealing and beneficial initially, it could be hazardous if your body is not acclimated to it. Whether you want to visit traditional saunas, infrared saunas, or steam rooms multiple times a day, err on the side of caution. Slowly work your way up in terms of each sauna visit’s duration and slowly add in the second session. As you do multiple saunas sessions twice a day, you should start with short durations for each visit. You can also begin at lower temperatures, which allows your body to adjust to the heat intensity.
Wrapping things up, as long as you are aware of your body’s response and stay healthy and hydrated, it is okay to do multiple sauna visits a day. However, if you start to have headaches, become dehydrated, or develop heat-stroke symptoms, you should take a step back on visiting the sauna so frequently. Sauna use should be about finding a peaceful balance and finding a calming, relaxing center. You should use the sauna to unwind and release tension from your body and mind. If you are using a sauna just to find your upper limit and compete with others, you’re doing it wrong. Either way, remember to hydrate.