How Should You Use a Sauna for Weight Loss?

How to burn fat and lose weight, all while sitting in your infrared sauna.


Clearlight would like to remind users that this should not be taken as direct medical advice, and you should always consult a licensed health practitioner before making any significant changes to your lifestyle or existing pain treatment regimen. In the blog post, we referred to a clinical study that used a cabin sauna and measured its temperature to demonstrate the practical applications of using the sauna and the outcomes that were observed during the experiment. It is important to note that the benefits are not derived from the temperature of the sauna cabin itself, but rather from the increase in the body's core temperature, and the cabin temperature serves only as a means to raise the body temperature in a controlled manner for the purposes of the study. This fact is supported by peer-reviewed studies that outline specific requirements for duration, frequency and cabin temperature for the safe and effective use of a sauna.

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You've probably heard people say that using an infrared sauna can help you burn calories and lose weight. But how effective are infrared saunas at helping you lose weight, exactly? Are they really effective when it comes to shedding fat?

Keep reading to find out!

Infrared sauna weight loss is actually a remarkably simple phenomenon.

When exposed to heat, our bodies attempt to regulate our temperature by triggering a sweating response and increasing our heart rate and metabolism - the latter being the key to weight loss.

Before we explain how body fat is burned in an infrared sauna, let's talk about how you should use your sauna for weight loss.

How long should you sit in an infrared sauna for weight loss?

To lose weight in your infrared sauna, try to sit in it for 45 minutes at least 3 times a week over an 8-week period. Ideally, your sauna should have a temperature of 50 - 60ºC.

This method is aligned with a study that was carried out by Binghamton University in New York. On average, the test subjects lost about 0. 5% body fat per week, or approximately 4% over 8 weeks, using the temperature and times noted above.

Of course, how long you should spend in your sauna is completely up to you! Regardless of how much or how little time you spend in your sauna, you'll still reap health benefits.

It's important to note that the temperature of your infrared sauna alone doesn't provide the benefits: it's the increase in the core temperature of your body that makes a difference.

How often should you use your infrared sauna to lose weight?

To lose weight in an infrared sauna, 3 sauna sessions per week have been shown to produce the best results. Interestingly, it's more beneficial to use a sauna frequently throughout the week than it is to visit a sauna less frequently for an extended period of time. The same study mentioned above found that people who used an infrared sauna 3 times a week over a 12-week period lost less body fat compared to those who visited the sauna 5 times a week for an 8-week period. This resulted in approximately twice the rate of fat loss as compared to Phase 1 (8 weeks vs. 16 weeks).

How much weight can you lose in a sauna in 20 minutes?

Women can lose up to 0.24 kg and men can lose up to 0.84 kg in a 20-minute sauna session, according to a study published in the Scientific World Journal. The study was conducted on 326 women and 348 men who spent 20 minutes in a traditional sauna (with a 5-minute break between 10-minute sessions). The study found that "the greatest body mass loss was reported in overweight and obese subjects", which suggests that a contributing factor to how much weight you can lose in 20 minutes is how much weight you have to lose in the first place. These results are fascinating: typically, it takes 15 minutes to begin sweating inside traditional saunas. That means that the amount of weight lost during short periods of time could be expected to increase dramatically in longer sauna sessions.

How much weight can you lose in a sauna in 40 minutes?

Men can lose up to 0.65 kg in a 40-minute sauna session, according to a study published by Biomed Res Int. The study was conducted on 45 overweight and sedentary men who engaged in 60-minute sauna sessions. (They spent 40 minutes inside the sauna and 20 minutes resting.)

"The participants burned 73.04, 93.82, 114.91, and 131.40 kcal during every successive 10-minute session in the sauna", suggesting that the amount of calories burned during sauna therapy progressively increases the longer you're inside. Interestingly, the results of weight loss differ when compared to the previous study we mentioned: the amount of weight lost after 40 minutes was 0.65 kg, whereas the previous study mentions a weight loss of 0.84 kg in only a 20-minute session.

This discrepancy could be due to the sauna temperature, age of participants, diet, and daily activity factors.

While there’s no substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise, using an infrared sauna to consolidate all that hard work and shed a few extra calories can’t hurt!


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Infrared saunas and weight loss: getting the facts straight

These studies provide us with phenomenal evidence. Simply by exposing skin to infrared light, the body absorbs heat, which raising the body's core temperature and activates the sweat function. This helps the body burn fat by burning calories.

Let's take a deeper look at what goes on inside the human body during an infrared sauna session.

Do infrared saunas really help you lose weight?

Yes, infrared saunas really help you lose weight. It's not only from the sauna burning calories: infrared saunas also have a range of health benefits that are complementary to burning fat, such as their ability to increase heart rate and circulation. All in all, infrared saunas are great for the endocrine system, which is the system responsible for hormone production.

How infrared saunas affect the endocrine system and encourage fat loss

When the body is exposed to infrared heat, it activates the hypothalamus, a part of the brain responsible for regulating hormone production. This can lead to an increase in cortisol levels, which help to reduce inflammation and support a healthy metabolism.

At the same time, increased circulation (through the dilation of blood vessels) and increased blood flow delivers more oxygen and nutrients to cells in the body, which can help to support the production of hormones involved in weight loss, such as thyroid hormones. Saunas may also stimulate the release of endorphins - those hormones that reduce stress while promoting feelings of wellbeing.

Can infrared heat break down fat?

Yes, infrared heat stimulates fat cells in the body directly, causing them to break down and release previously stored toxins and heavy metals. This benefits detoxification, though, and not necessarily fat loss.

For more information on the many detoxifying benefits of infrared saunas, read our article on the Clearlight Blog.

Are you burning fat or just losing water weight in your infrared sauna?

In your infrared sauna, you're burning fat, and not just losing water weight.

Body fat is stored energy, while water weight refers to water stored in our bodies. These stores are affected by hormones, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and foods high in sodium or carbs.

While there many approaches to take if you want to lose fat and water weight successfully, it's important to note these two components have different impacts on overall health goals.

The studies mentioned above suggest that infrared saunas cause a loss in fat, specifically.

Curious to know how many calories you can burn during your sauna session? Check out our interactive sauna calorie calculator for more.

Do infrared saunas increase your metabolism?

Yes, infrared saunas increase your metabolism! As your core temperature rises in an infrared sauna, your body requires energy to stay cool - thus burning calories. Frequent infrared sauna use therefore boosts your metabolism over time.

Which type of sauna is best for weight loss?

The best sauna for weight loss is an infrared sauna. Infrared saunas are better than traditional saunas for weight loss due to the additional health benefits the infrared heat provides to the body.

The added benefits from infrared heat - such as being better for your skin, reducing stress, and stimulating the endocrine system - all contribute to infrared saunas' effectiveness.

Incorporating infrared sauna sessions into your weekly wellness routine will have a tremendous effect on your health and happiness. If you're looking to lose weight quickly, just doing a 20-minute session three times a week can make a huge difference.

Want to know more about the other health benefits infrared saunas provide? Read more here!

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