If you love sweating it out in the sauna, you probably want to know how many times you can safely use your sauna per week. While this can depend on each person, there are some general guidelines we should all follow. If you to achieve the full health benefits of sauna use, you’ll need to use it regularly. But how much is best? And how much can be too much?
Using a sauna regularly will get you the most benefit. Daily sauna use is recommended, though more than once a day is probably overdoing it. The type of sauna (the classic “wet” type vs. the newer infrared “dry” style) doesn’t make a difference here, as both methods heat your body and trigger health benefits.
The sauna can be a great way to reduce stress, relax muscles and detox the body overall. But like all good things, there is such thing as too much. Dehydration and heat stress can result from prolonged and irresponsible sauna use. Remember to always listen to your body and your doctor. Want to learn more about sauna use? Read on!
Does the Sauna Type Affect How Often You Should Go?
One question that often comes up when talking about saunas is what the difference between the various types of saunas. The long and short of it is: while you generally get similar effects from most types of saunas, different saunas do heat your body in slightly different ways.
The main difference is between a wet and dry sauna, and by “wet,” we mean saunas that utilize steam then others that don’t. Another factor that might play a role in how often you should use your sauna is the type of heat source used.
If you are using an infrared (IR) sauna, you may want to wait at least 24 hours before using the sauna again. For wet and dry saunas, daily use is more than adequate. Be careful to listen to your body to make sure you aren’t over-exerting yourself.
In reality, there isn’t much of a difference between using a wet or dry sauna when it comes to how often you should go.
As you can probably imagine, personal health and history should play a significant role in this decision. Always talk to your doctor if you have questions or underlying conditions that could affect how often you should go to the sauna. Sauna use is supposed to be relaxing, don’t try and push it to where you are pushing yourself too far to reap the benefits.
How Many Times a Week to Use the Sauna
As long as you don’t have an infra-red sauna, you can easily sauna once a day. With an IR sauna like this one (on Amazon), you can do this as well, but many say you’ll need to make sure you hit the 24-hour mark before you re-enter. No scientific evidence backs this claim, however. But then again, the scientific literature on infrared saunas is sparse.
You’ll also want to listen to your body. Part of creating a healthy sauna schedule is making sure you aren’t overdoing it. Sauna sessions should be fun and relaxing, so keep them that way. If doing more than one sauna session per day is exhausting for you, it’s probably better to take a short break for a few days.
Conversely, if you feel more than fine after a morning and afternoon session, then, by all means, keep up that practice. Heat tolerance is going to depend highly on the individual.
The type of sauna can also play a small role in how comfortable you are. Types of sauna and the difference in body reaction:
- Wet sauna — The humidity can keep your body from feeling cool from sweating.
- Dry sauna — This type of sauna is best if you want to allow your body to have the optimum environment to sweat.
Much like walking around on a humid summer day, wet saunas tend to feel hotter to most people. This can play into how comfortable the sauna is over time. You might leave earlier as you become uncomfortable with the heat quicker.
Is It Healthy to Use a Sauna Every Day?
Many of the health benefits from sauna use only come from consistent use. Things like cardiovascular health benefits only come when you subject yourself to heat therapy with regular sessions. Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be as frequent as daily use.
Most health benefits start popping up with weekly sessions. But if you want to use your sauna daily, by all means, go for it. While you should always listen to your body to make sure that you aren’t pushing too hard, for most of us, it shouldn’t be a worry.
In places like Finland, where sauna use is pretty much a national pastime, daily sauna trips are quite the norm. Not only do they often sauna daily, but they also sauna for extended periods of time. Many researchers trying to find out why the Finnish live so long often attribute frequent sauna use as one of the reasons for this. While research is still ongoing, you might actually benefit from daily sauna use.
How Long Should You Stay in the Sauna?
While you might have a good idea of how often you want to use your sauna, how long should your session be? This is another common question, especially for sauna beginners. The truth is that, like most things, it again depends on the person and their heat tolerance.
Some people can build this tolerance gradually, making it possible for them to extend their session length over time, however, there are some rough guidelines to follow. Let’s take a quick look at some of these recommendations:
- Beginners – Try and experiment with times but have a conservative starting point. For most of us, the sweet spot will be around 5-8 minutes.
- Intermediate — If you are accustomed to the heat already, pushing your session to 10 minutes shouldn’t be a worry.
- Expert — For those of us who really enjoy a steamy sauna session, 10-15 minutes tends to be the maximum for session time.
In cultures where sauna use is a common practice, some people can push their sessions almost to half-hour. This is not recommended for anyone except the most seasoned sauna users. And it’s definitely not recommended for anyone to attempt a session this long in their own home.
There are even sauna championships where people go head to head to see how long they can last. But of course, this type of sauna use defeats the core purpose of saunas; to relax.
At the end of the day, having a feel for what is right for your body is the best strategy. If it feels hot, take a break. If you feel like you can push it, then give it a try. The goal is not to stress your body; if you do this, you can experience some pretty nasty side effects.
These side effects are mostly due to heat exhaustion and, in turn, dehydration, rather than the effect of the sauna itself. Due to dehydration, prolonged sauna use can lead to headaches, body aches, nausea, and even loss of consciousness in extreme cases. If you start to feel dizzy in the sauna, it’s a good sign to take a break. Get out of the heat, get some water, and let your body cool.
Does a Wet Sauna Make a Difference in Use Time?
We talked about the difference between wet saunas and dry saunas earlier. Let’s take a closer look at why exactly they might make a difference in how long you can last during a session. We already know that the excess humidity of a sauna makes sweating less effective.
This means that your body feels hotter, even though it may not actually be hotter. In any case, feeling too hot is definitely a good enough reason to finish your sauna session. With wet saunas, the humidity causes you to reach this level quicker than with a dry sauna.
When it comes to sauna use, erring on the side of caution is the best overall strategy. The truth is, only you can gauge how often and how long you should be using your sauna. Listening to your body is always a good idea, and you should do this every single time you enter a sauna.
Generally speaking, though, you can use a sauna daily. To receive some of the health benefits that sauna users report, consistent use is key. While daily use isn’t necessary, you should at least aim for weekly sessions.
When it comes to how long your sessions should be, personal heat tolerance is the biggest factor. For most people, 10 minutes is a good average time. If you have a higher tolerance, you can push it to 15 minutes, but be careful. If you feel dizzy, always leave and grab some water.