How Hot is a Sauna and Does Sauna Temperature Matter?

How to Maximise Your Infrared Sauna Temperature during the Coldest Months


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Saunas are a traditional way to relax and promote holistic wellness by rejuvenating and purifying the body. However, there is some debate about the ideal temperature for a sauna to achieve these benefits while enjoying the cozy atmosphere.

The debate about sauna temperature continues between those who believe that extreme heat is necessary for the full benefits of a sauna and others who think that increasing the temperature is not the only factor. Through this article, we aim to investigate whether temperature plays an important role in the sauna experience. We will explore the mysterious connection between heat and the revered sauna ritual.

Understanding Sauna Mechanics

Before we start trying to solve the temperature mystery, we need to understand how saunas work. Saunas have been used for a long time and use steam to create hot air inside the cabin. This heat surrounds the body, making it warm and causing sweat.

In contrast, modern infrared saunas use infrared heaters to directly target the body with heat, which eliminates the need for extremely hot cabin conditions. This difference is important to consider when exploring the role of temperature in sauna sessions.

Saunas: Unleashing the Healing Power Within

Although saunas have been known for their health benefits for a long time, it's important to note that they do not directly cure illnesses. Rather, they act as a trigger, activating the body's own healing mechanisms.

Saunas can unlock your body's natural ability to maintain and support optimal health by stimulating processes such as detoxification, circulation, and relaxation. By embracing the warmth of a sauna, you can empower yourself to harness your own restorative abilities, fortifying both your body and mind on your journey towards overall well-being.

How do Saunas Activate the Body to Support Itself?

Saunas help restore your body by stimulating its natural mechanisms. When you sit in a sauna, the heat gradually raises your body temperature, reaching a critical point of 38.5ºC or more.

Saunas raise your body temperature, which can stimulate healing responses and activate your body's natural ability to detoxify, relax, and improve overall wellness. This can create a rejuvenating experience that benefits both your physical and mental health.

Two Paths to Sauna-Induced Core Body Temperature Elevation

To get the health benefits of saunas, you need to raise your body temperature. You can do this in two ways.

  1. Traditional sauna approach: Traditional saunas use hot moisture to heat the air, which in turn raises the skin temperature and raises the body temperature. However, this approach can be intense, uncomfortable and not very efficient.
  2. Infrared sauna innovation: Infrared saunas rely on light energy, particularly infrared waves, to increase the temperature of the human body without heating up the surrounding air and skin tissue. This new method allows you to achieve the ideal core temperature with a much lower and more pleasant air temperature, transforming the traditional sauna experience.

The importance of having a hot sauna is not straightforward, and while regular sauna relies on hotter temperatures, infrared sauna temperatures provide equivalent health advantages without high humidity and temperature.

The ideal sauna temperature varies depending on personal preferences and heat sensitivity. Heat therapy works to raise the body's core temperature for gaining benefits, regardless of how temperatures range. Therefore, the best temperature is one that is enjoyable for you.

What is the Ideal Temperature for a Sauna to Achieve Benefits?

You may be surprised to know that you can achieve the same benefits at 45ºC as you would at 100ºC. How? By increasing your body's temperature close to 38.5ºC, which means that you need to artificially create a fever. This creates the intense sweat during sauna bathing and activates the cardiovascular response and the immune system. Irrespective of whether the infrared sauna temperature is 45ºC or 120ºC, the important thing is that your core temperature approaches 38.5ºC.

Sauna Temperature and Sweating: What is the Connection?

Many believe that very high temperatures lead to better sauna bathing and sweating. However, sauna use is not about enduring uninhabitable temperatures. Exposing yourself to extreme heat and high humidity levels can be dangerous, even causing severe burns as demonstrated during the World Sauna Championships where a participant died.

Despite the common belief, higher temperature applied to the skin doesn't make you sweat more than a higher internal temperature. The reason why it feels that way is that your skin temperature rises faster. However, heating your body directly with infrared heat is more effective in raising your body temperature gradually.

Warm or Hot: Do Sauna Temperatures Really Matter?

Sauna temperature only matters to raise the internal body temperature, and it's important to realise that everyone has their own level of comfort when it comes to a sauna experience. Factors like health, fitness, and experience with heat all play a role in how someone will react to different sauna temperatures. Thus, finding the perfect temperature for your own sauna journey requires listening to your body and being open to experimentation and communication.

Preheating the Body: A Path to Optimal Sweating

Preparing your body before a sauna session can greatly increase how much you sweat and how hot you get. Engaging in light physical activities, such as a brisk walk or gentle stretching, raises your body temperature and improves circulation, generating heat within your body. This means you don't need the sauna to be scorching hot to achieve a body temperature of 38.5ºC.

Preheating the Sauna: Times for Infrared Sauna Use

For many sauna enthusiasts, only 5 to 10 minutes of preheating is enough depending on the environment. You can use this short amount of time to do some light exercise or stretching to wake up your muscles and increase blood flow. Most infrared saunas warm up faster than a steam sauna, and absorbing infrared energy even when the cabin isn't at its desired temperature will still increase the body's temperature.

What if Your Sauna Doesn't Reach a Certain Temperature?

It's important to remember that achieving your desired sauna temperature is just one aspect of a successful session. Core temperature elevation and the length of heat exposure also have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the experience. If the sauna has a lower temperature, you can still enjoy its many benefits by staying inside for a longer time.

Here are 3 simple steps to help you achieve a transformative perspiration potential.

  1. Preheat with a steamy soak: Prepare for an intense sweating session by taking a hot shower or bath before entering the infrared sauna. This preheating ritual removes toxins before your session and helps your body sweat heavily, even at a moderate temperature of 45ºC.
  2. Ignite your heart rate: Start with a pre-workout sauna routine that elevates your pulse and activates your cardiovascular system. This approach will increase sweating and help sustain your heart rate even after your workout, making you sweat quickly even at lower sauna temperatures.
  3. Upgrade to full-spectrum power: Improve your sauna experience by installing a full-spectrum heater from Clearlight Saunas. It speeds up warm-up times and increases the maximum temperature, while also providing direct heat to your body when you're seated in the centre of your Clearlight sauna. This means you can enjoy a fast and effective heat-up times, and fully enjoy the benefits of your sauna session.


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How Hot is a Sauna?

It's important to understand that saunas can have different effects on your body and operate at varying temperatures as mentioned earlier. Therefore, there is no simple answer to the question "How hot is a sauna?" It's similar to asking "How fast is a car?" since cars have such a wide range of speeds. To provide clarification, there are generally four different saunas:

  1. Dry saunas: The air has very low humidity and can warm you up through convection like a wood burning stove.
  2. Finnish saunas: Increase the humidity level and raise the temperature of the air around you to warm up your body, known as conventional saunas, they may have an electric heater that you pour water over.
  3. Steam room: The humidity and temperature in these rooms are quite high, and they heat your body by circulating hot air with a steam generator. Steam rooms are similar to a steam sauna, as they also use hot air to raise your body temperature, but at lower temperatures.
  4. Infrared saunas: The infrared lamps will warm you up from the inside out by emitting infrared light that penetrates your body after passing through your skin. Although the heating effect through the air is limited, you might also feel warm due to the temperatures in the cabin.

As you can see, there is a wide difference between the types of saunas available, and the infrared sauna differs significantly from the other three options. Let's look closer at the sauna temperature ranges.

How Hot are Traditional Saunas?

The first option is a dry sauna with low humidity and temperatures ranging from 80 - 90ºC, hence the term "dry heat." The temperature range of a traditional Finnish sauna  is usually between 70 - 100ºC. As mentioned earlier, individuals have experienced illness or death during the World Sauna Championships due to extremely high temperatures. Because of this, the Finnish Sauna Society recommended a maximum temperature of 90ºC.

It is important to note that steam rooms maintain temperatures between 40-45ºC with a maximum humidity level of 100%, making breathing the air inside feel very hot to your lungs, nostrils, and skin.

Keep in mind that there isn't a fixed temperature for a sauna. The temperature you choose depends on your situation. In a Finnish sauna, for instance, you could handle temperatures as high as 90ºC for 5 minutes, but staying in for 30 minutes might be too much. Therefore, temperature on its own can be misleading without appropriate context.

How Hot is an Infrared Sauna?

If you're wondering whether an infrared sauna is hot, the answer is yes; however, it feels different from a traditional sauna. This is because infrared saunas use infrared light to heat the body from the inside out. Typically, the temperature inside an infrared sauna ranges between 45-60ºC.

The heat is less intense and has unique effects on the body because the infrared light has recovery properties. For instance, far infrared saunas can boost blood flow, enhance the condition of blood vessels, and promote the production of mitochondria.

Many people have reported various benefits from far infrared exposure, such as reduced pain, deeper sleep, relaxation, better muscle tone, and faster recovery. The extent of penetration depends on the type of infrared light; it can reach several inches into the body and affect different biochemical and electromagnetic processes within its cells.

If you only consider temperature as the factor that matters in a sauna, you are not seeing the big picture. The benefits of infrared light penetrating your body are just as important, if not more so, than the heating effects. Furthermore, the increase in core body temperature may be greater with the infrared sauna temperature than hotter dry saunas, leading to better benefits.

Thus, it is important to consider factors other than just air temperature. This means that while an infrared sauna may not seem as hot as a traditional sauna, it still offers certain advantages.

How Hot is a Sauna Session Supposed to be?

The answer to the question, "How hot should a sauna be?" depends on your goals; there is no universal answer. If you want to improve your overall health, then the infrared sauna temperature range of 45-60ºC is ideal. Plus, if you can infrared sauna daily the benefits can dramatically increased, and you will have more benefits from 4 infrared saunas a week for 20 minutes at 50ºC than you would having 2 traditional saunas a week for 45 minutes at 90ºC!

Although a Finnish sauna can reach higher temperatures, it is worth noting that it may not be necessary to do so. It's important to keep in mind that better results do not necessarily come from higher temperatures as we've explained in this blog.

To get the maximum health benefits from infrared light, it's important to avoid both too hot and too cool temperatures. Just like your nutrition and exercise - extremes are not ideal. It's best to have frequent and moderate saunas instead of sporadic saunas of 80-100ºC. Similarly, how long you should stay in a sauna isn't as important as how often you should sauna when looking to improve you're overall longevity.

Heating up Infrared Saunas in the Coldest Months

During the cold winter months, it may be a challenge to raise the temperature of your infrared sauna cabin above +50ºC.

It is important to keep in mind that the temperature inside the sauna is not the only factor that determines its health benefits. Rather, the goal is to raise your core body temperature, which can still be accomplished even with lower sauna temperatures.

Nonetheless, if you just want a warm and cozy place to relax here are some tips to do so when it is freezing outside:

  • Pre-Sauna Warm-Up: To increase sweating and get the most out of your infrared sauna session, warm up your body first by either doing light exercises or taking a hot shower or bath as mentioned earlier. This will help raise your core body temperature so that you start sweating faster once you enter the sauna, even if the temperature inside is not as high as you prefer.
  • Sauna Modifications: To improve the heat retention within your infrared sauna, you can try making some small adjustments. Specifically, you can use towels to cover any ventilation points and even try a sauna cover to keep the heat from escaping. You can also upgrade your sauna with an additional full-spectrum heater to give it more heating power!
  • Insulate the rooms or surrounding space: This will help to minimise the impact of the colder external temperature and allow the sauna to heat up more efficiently, achieving your desired temperature.

Although sauna temperature does not necessarily determine sauna health benefits, you can still enhance your infrared sauna experience during winter by taking practical steps.

By concentrating on increasing your core body temperature and making slight adjustments to your sauna arrangement, you can continuously enjoy the revitalising impacts of your infrared sauna, even in extremely cold weather.

Hopefully it has become clear that temperature alone does not determine the effectiveness of a sauna session. Factors such as sweating, body temperature, personal endurance to heat, warming up beforehand, and adjusting the length of the session all play important roles.

When using a sauna, it's important to recognise that the temperature should be based on personal preference and each individual should create their own sauna practice.

Infrared Sauna Temperature FAQs

  1. How hot is a really hot sauna? A really hot sauna can reach temperatures of around 80-110°C.
  2. Can a sauna be 100ºC? Yes, many saunas can technically be 100°C, but it may be too hot for some individuals.
  3. How hot should a wet sauna be? A wet sauna, also known as a steam room, should have a temperature of around 40-50°C.
  4. What is the normal temperature for a sauna in Celsius? The normal temperature for a sauna ranges between 50-90 degrees celsius.
  5. Are saunas 100 degrees Celsius? Some Finnish Saunas can reach temperatures of 100°C, but it is not common.
  6. How hot is too hot in a sauna? A sauna can be considered too hot if it causes discomfort, dizziness, or difficulty breathing. Always listen to your body.
  7. Is 100ºC too hot for sauna? 100°C may be too hot for some people in a sauna. It's important to find a comfortable temperature for each individual.
  8. What is the best temperature for your body on a sauna? The best temperature for your body in a sauna varies per person, but generally falls between 50-80°C.
  9. How hot is a sauna Australia? In Australia, sauna temperatures are similar to other countries, ranging from 50-90 degrees celsius.
  10. What temp is sauna in gyms? Gym saunas usually have temperatures between 40-50°C
  11. What temp should a sauna be in Celsius? A sauna should be between 45-55 degrees in Celsius.
  12. What temperature is best for weight loss sauna? For weight loss, a sauna temperature of around 50°Cis recommended.
  13. How long should you sauna for? You should sauna for 15-25 minutes per session, with breaks in between if needed.
  14. What is the healthiest temp to sauna in? The healthiest sauna temperature depends on personal preference, but most people find 50°C comfortable.
  15. What is a good sauna temp and time? A good sauna temperature and time is around 50°C for 25 minutes.
  16. What does a hot sauna do for you? A hot sauna causes the production of heat-shock proteins through the stimulation of the immune system, cardiovascular system and lymphatic system.
  17. How long should you sit in a sauna? It's recommended to sit in a sauna for 15-20 minutes per session.
  18. Is it good to sauna every day? Sauna use can be beneficial every day, as long as you listen to your body and don't overdo it.
  19. Which is better steam or hot sauna? Both steam and hot saunas have their benefits; it depends on personal preference.
  20. Is 20 minutes in an infrared sauna enough? 20 minutes in an infrared sauna is often enough for relaxation and health benefits.
  21. What is the best temperature to detox in an infrared sauna?T he best temperature to detox in an infrared sauna is between 45-60 degrees celsius.
  22. Should I do 30 or 60 minutes in infrared sauna? The ideal session length in an infrared sauna depends on personal preference, but most people find 30 minutes sufficient.
  23. What is the average temperature of an infrared sauna Celsius? The average temperature of an infrared sauna in Celsius is around 45-65 degrees celsius.
  24. What temperature should an infrared sauna be set at? An infrared sauna should always be set at its maximum temperature setting so that the infrared heaters never turn off during use. If the infrared sauna reaches the program temperature setting, it will regulate the cabin temperature by turning off the heaters. This stops the benefits of infrared wavelengths from affecting the body.
  25. What temperature should infrared sauna be? Infrared saunas should have a temperature range of 45-65°C and should be set to their maximum temperature setting.
  26. What is the best temperature and time for infrared sauna? The best temperature and time for an infrared sauna is around 45-60 degrees celsius for 20-30 minutes.
  27. Why does my Clearlight Infrared Sauna have a gap around the door? The air gap is a safety feature, allowing fresh air to be drawn in from under the door, and to exit out of the ceiling air vent. The gap is intentional, and ensures the sauna passes certain safety requirements set out by Edison Testing Laboratories (ETL):Edison Testing Laboratories (ETL) is recognised as an NRTL in the United States and, in a similar capacity, as a Testing Organization and Certifying Body in Canada by the Standards Council of Canada. A product bearing the ETL Certification Mark is determined to have met the minimum requirements of prescribed product safety standards. The Mark also indicates that the Intertek ETL Certification Mark manufacturer’s production site conforms to a range of compliance measures and is subject to periodic follow up inspections to verify continued conformance.Additionally, it is worth remembering that an infrared sauna is not heating you up via the air, but directly through infrared wavelengths penetrating your body. Cool air entering through the gap around the door will not impede the therapeutic benefits of your sauna, but a towel placed along the bottom of the door can block a draught if necessary during your session.

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