4 Ways that Sauna Use Can Aid Recovery

I love saunas. I have been using them regularly for years after my workouts. After I finish up a workout at the gym I cool down, drink some water, and then hit the sauna to relax and do some stretching. There is nothing better than releasing even more sweat after a workout.

Finding alternative ways to help aid recovery is an ongoing struggle that athletes, coaches, sports scientists, physicians and even regular joggers have to deal with on a constant basis. Yes, the landscapes and scenarios change but the end goal stays the same: to keep allowing us the best possible chance to perform at their optimal levels and garner the best possible results during our exercise regimes.


The rules that elite athletes abide by can be adopted by regular people too, in order to help us strive to perform at the best level we can, whether it’s in the gym, at our local sports club or even in amateur competition. Looking for the best possible methods to help recover from physical activity is imperative to aid consistent exercise.

One of the most overlooked forms of relaxation, and alternative methods to help the body recover is through using a sauna. In this article we will discuss 4 of the main reasons why sauna use can help the body recover from rigorous physical activity.

  1. Reduce muscle soreness

David Geir a sports medicine specialist told Outside Online, there are more benefits to using a sauna than just making you feel good. He also stated to the online publication’s journalist Amanda MacMillan, “It causes you to sweat and can help release endorphins and the heat also increases blood flow to the muscle and the periphery of the body, which help sore muscles feel better.” Although Geir doesn’t recommend using a sauna directly after an intense workout, he advises leaving it a while before stepping into a sauna. This is so that your body temperature can decrease first and you can replenish the water that you’ve lost, thus not dehydrating your body further.

  1. Helps combat illness

When the body is fatigued, it tends to be susceptible to illness. Using saunas on a regular basis can stave off viruses such as coughs and colds because “[saunas induce perspiration which rids the body of toxins],” according to Body Building writer Jamie Hale. Due to the elevated temperatures in saunas it also “helps fight body aches and pains.” Saunas with the new BioPhotonic infrared technologies that look after full body health will give users the best chance of recovery. Throughout this period the body will produce more white blood cells, which will improve the body’s immune system.

  1. Ultimate relaxation

People take relaxation for granted when it comes to post-exercise. The need to relax for a sustained period after exercise is imperative to give your body time to recoup and replenish any depleted energy stores. 8 Weeks Out state, sitting in a sauna for 15-20 minutes can help you unwind, and they have been known to be quite sociable places especially if it’s a communal sauna in your local gym. While you sweat all the toxins out and relax in the sauna, you can have a sociable chat with one of your gym friends until it’s time to get into the shower and ease yourself back into your daily routine.

  1. Helps get blood to the muscles

The elevated heat levels in a sauna improve the blood circulation in the body. Therefore, entering a sauna post-workout will help the body in getting blood to the areas that most need it. The heat causes the blood vessels in the body to dilate, thus increasing the speed in which the blood is able to circulate the body and in the process aiding the recovery of muscles, aches, cuts and any muscular bruising.

Sauna use can be extremely beneficial to people from all walks of life but it also important to highlight it doesn’t come without its dangers. That why it’s always important to check with a doctor if they would advise such an environment if you’ve been ill recently, you’re pregnant or are suffering from any conditions such as heart disease. Additionally, it’s useful to know about the potential EMF dangers that come with saunas. The article published on Celebration Sauna’s blog discusses issues to do with electromagnetic fields and the radiation that can be a problem with some of the older saunas. Although, they state with the latest infrared saunas, these technologies are free of any harmful electromagnetic fields even though they utilize such methods to generate heat.

If you’re a regular sauna user and you feel it is a great treatment to help you recover from workouts or helps reduce the risk of injury, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Photo Credit: By Olaf Tausch (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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