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Do Traditional Saunas Raise Core Body Temperature?

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Of course they do. Unfortunately, infrared dealers love to tell everyone that they don’t. They tell you that an infrared room raises your core temperature 3 degrees, and that you derive many health benefits from that. Then they say, “Can’t do that in a hot, uncomfortable traditional sauna!” Gimme a break.

Before you watch the video, let me say that I rarely think about the health benefits when I’m in the sauna. I just do it because it feels great. Now, if you are into the health benefits, traditional saunas are just as good, if not better, than infrared rooms. Mainly because you get both the heat benefits and the surge of negative ions. But…that’s another post. Enjoy!

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11 thoughts on “Do Traditional Saunas Raise Core Body Temperature?”

  1. Nice post Clint! I am glad you are dispelling the myths out there that are based on marketing, not science. I have never come accross any research that compared the health benefits of infrared versus wood/electric/gas heat.

    BTW, I think the best way to get core body temperature is to take it rectally, but if you do, please don’t do it on camera.

  2. Uh let’s think what we are claiming here. So you are saying that a traditional sauna raises your core temperature? Really, your core? Knowing that your organs need a very specific temperature to operate in, and knowing that even 39C fever will make you feel ill. So then what would be the difference between having a 39C fever and being in a sauna “until your core raises to 39C”?

  3. Tauno: I think one of the differences is that between sauna rounds you can have a beer and chill out with a smile on your face. When you have the flu and a fever, you can barely handle sips of hot water with lemon and honey.

  4. Tauno, the rest of your body’s immune system response also makes you feel ill. The immune response is missing from the sauna

  5. I’m using the traditional sauna at the gym. They usually keep the temperature around 170 degrees Fahrenheit. I like the idea of raising my core body temperature for health reasons. How long can I safely stay in there? I’d love to find a chart of how it affects your temperature… if one even exists! 🙂

  6. Hi Judy: How long can one safely stay in a sauna? It is entirely up to the individual. And this is a great thing. Instead of focusing on a sauna timer or a Fit Bit or a watch, we focus on ourselves. In that moment. When is the best time to leave the hot room? Here is the best answer i’ve ever heard. Enjoy, Judy!

  7. In a sauna that gets 130 degrees Fahrenheit hot my core temp does not change even after 40 min in there. At first it does slightly, to about 98.5, once I start sweating I usually do not go above 98. You are basically saying a sauna causes a fever? We are not reptiles, we adjust our core temp accordingly like most mammals no? Isn’t that the reason for sweating? Wouldn’t people use a sauna more often to give themselves a fever to destroy illness in themselves if it be true that a sauna increases core temp? *ponders* doesn’t increase mine!

  8. Hi Sabrina: Let’s try a well ventilated sauna that gets to about 180-200f. 15 mins. or so in the hot room, with water tossed on sauna rocks with “ahhh”. Then, let’s cool down in an ice bath or cold lake plunge, and rest outside and breathe fresh air and relax awhile until our body neutralizes and chills. Anything different than this experience is not really a sauna, but a fabrication thereof, and no offense given to your sauna routine.

  9. Hi Glen. I have followed a certain routine for years. I don’t preheat my sauna. I lay down and chill as it heats up. It takes about 10 minutes to get to 100f. Then slowly creeps up to 180f during the next 20 minutes. I hang out at this temperature for the last 15 minutes. The last 5 minutes of these 15 being awesomely unbearable. Then I jump in my cold pool for 7 minutes, get back into the sauna (still at 180f) throw on a bunch of water for steam, and stay in for another 15 minutes before jumping in the pool to cool down for a the last couple of minutes. There are a few minutes in there where I feel like I am really pushing my endurance, but the overall impact is major positive for me mentally. I am so relaxed. I sleep like a baby. The only down side is I feel somewhat groggy the next morning. Like I imagine it is like after taking a sleeping pill. I drink plenty of water so I don’t think there is any worry about dehydration. Nevertheless, the groggy feeling has me a little worried that I might be pushing it a little too much. Getting my core temperature too high. It’s worth it to me, because it feels great, but do you think I should be worried that this might not be healthy. I am 53 years old.

  10. Richard:

    I hear you, and can relate to all above. And if it makes you feel better, I also feel groggy morning after a sauna session. For me, it’s akin to morning after heavy exercise. Not a hung over groggy but a spent groggy. One thing to check on is ventilation in your hot room. When I was in Finland, I partook in 50 different saunas in 12 days. I was a madman, and part of it was that the hot rooms were all very well ventilated. Fresh air and really awesome heat are a great combination. (Show me a health club sauna or hotel sauna in US with good ventilation, and i’ll buy us two tickets to Finland… sorry bout that, but had to say).

    Secondly, minerals. I want to encourage you to get geeky about minerals. In my podcast interview with Carrie Drinkwine, we talk about the importance of minerals, especially with heavy sweating, to maintain good stamina and health. Long story short, in Finland, I was introduced to mineral water and drank a it everyday, especially 1.5L before my first sauna session of the day. Game changer. I am no longer “wiped out” morning after heavy sauna.

    I am 56 years old. I feel more healthy with sauna as part of my life than ever. Sauna on Richard!

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