For centuries, people have used heat therapy to help them relax, undergo detoxification, relieve muscle pain, and improve sleep. If you’re a new sauna owner or going for the first time in a public sauna, you may not know what temperature your sauna should be.

In this article, we will explore the different sauna temperatures and discuss the ideal temperature range for a sauna.

Why is sauna temperature important?

To fully enjoy the benefits of a sauna, choosing the right temperature is crucial. You cannot maximize the benefits if the temperature is too low, and if it’s very high, it can lead to overheating, dehydration, or even heatstroke. Therefore, finding the right temperature for your sauna sessions is important to maximize the benefits.

How hot can a sauna get?

Infrared sauna

Infrared saunas typically operate at a lower temperature range of 120˚F and 140˚F. These saunas use infrared heaters to emit radiant heat that is absorbed by the skin, providing a gentle and comfortable experience for users. The lower temperature of infrared saunas makes them a popular choice for individuals who may not tolerate the high heat of traditional saunas.

Dry/traditional sauna

Dry or traditional saunas, on the other hand, can reach temperatures as high as 200°F (85°C). These saunas are heated by a stove or electric heater that warms up rocks, which in turn radiate heat into the room. The high temperature in traditional saunas creates a more intense sweating experience, promoting relaxation and detoxification. It is important for users to stay hydrated and monitor their time in the sauna to prevent overheating.

Steam sauna

Steam saunas, also known as steam rooms, generally maintain a temperature range of 100°F to 120°F (38°C to 49°C). These saunas produce steam by pouring water over heated rocks or using a steam generator. The humidity levels in steam saunas are higher compared to other types of saunas, creating a moist environment that can help open up the pores and improve circulation. Steam saunas are often favored for their respiratory benefits, as the steam can help alleviate congestion and promote easier breathing.

Determining the Ideal Temperature Range for Sauna

Finding the ideal temperature for the sauna means figuring out the best balance between getting the benefits of exposing your body to heat and making sure it’s not too extremely hot for your body to handle. It’s like finding the sweet spot where you get the advantages without it being too uncomfortable or risky for you.

While individual preferences may vary, many people prefer a temperature range between 150-175 degrees Fahrenheit for traditional saunas and 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit for infrared saunas.

Sauna temperatures in this range are hot enough to relax your body but not excessively hot to make you uncomfortable or pose any risk of overheating or dehydration. Keep in mind that the sauna temperature settings may vary depending on factors such as individual tolerance to heat, health conditions, age, and the purpose of the heat therapy.

Additionally, it’s a good practice to take a cool shower or rest in a cool room after your sauna session to help regulate your body temperature and promote relaxation.

Safe Sauna Temperature

It is important to stay safe while relaxing in the sauna. The Finnish Sauna Society advises never to exceed 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius) in your sauna, as a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius or higher can potentially lead to heat exhaustion, dehydration, and other heat-related illnesses.

Remember that your age and health are important factors in setting the temperature. Here are a few factors to consider:

For kids

If kids will be using the sauna, the recommended temperature is around 105 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to ensure they don’t overheat. Also, don’t let your children stay in the sauna for long sessions; keep the sauna sessions short.

For older adults

People who suffer from any health issue, especially heart disease, should consult their doctor first before using a sauna. Their doctor may suggest keeping the temperature low in the sauna.

When pregnant

It’s highly recommended that you consult your doctor before using a sauna if you are pregnant. Ensure that the sauna temperature does not exceed 104°F (40°C) and keep the sauna sessions short, as prolonged exposure to high temperatures can pose risks during pregnancy

Tips to make your sauna experience better

To enhance your sauna experience, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Stay Hydrated

The heat in the sauna causes you to sweat, so it’s advisable to drink plenty of water before and after the sauna session to replenish fluids lost through sweating.

Consider the preferences of everyone in the sauna

When relaxing with friends or family members in the sauna, consider their preferences, and set a temperature that’s appropriate for everyone in the group.

Cool down after hitting the sauna

When exiting the sauna, take a refreshing shower to cool down your body and close your pores.

Some of the health risks associated with spending time in a sauna at extremely high temperatures, especially for individuals with pre-existing health conditions, include:

  • Heat stroke
  • Dehydration
  • skin burn
  • Heat exhaustion

However, even as a healthy adult, you should be vigilant about the sauna temperature to avoid these health risks

It’s important to listen to your body and adjust the temperature depending on your tolerance and comfort levels.

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