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2019.01.11 - Five misconceptions about the sauna

Five misconceptions about the sauna

Having a sauna is increasingly trendy all over the world, but there are still some misconceptions about it. Let’s see what the 5 most widespread misbeliefs are!


1) ‘Having a sauna relaxes you…’

This isn’t true because the body is working hard while one is sitting in the sauna, we are sweating harder and the heart is beating faster. This is the reason why having a sauna first refreshes and vitalises us, but after a while one feels some kind of tiredness instead, which can easily be mistaken for being relaxed. Just like runners don’t start with a marathon, it also takes time to get used to the sauna, our body needs to learn the hard work they have to do inside the cabin. It is best to do just a few rounds first, and we must also pay attention later to no to put too much pressure on our bodies.    

2) ‘You can lose weigh in the sauna…’

The body loses lots of water when one has a sauna, because we are sweating heavily in the cabin. Consequently, if we measure our weight after we have been in the sauna, what we see is that we lost weight. However, we must drink soon after the sauna because our body lost a lot of water and we don’t want to get dehydrated. Sweating speeds up getting rid of toxins, but at the same time we also lose important minerals and we must make up for that. It is true that we can lose some weight in the long run by going to the sauna regularly, because sweating accelerates metabolism, and we burn nutrients too, which means that we will get a better figure but one shouldn’t hope for fast weight loss.    

3) ‘You can sweat out a cold in the sauna…’

Having a sauna has a beneficial effect on the immune system, because the blood’s circulation improves and one relieves stress, so it is worth going to the sauna in the cold winter months to prevent getting ill. Sauna is perfect for prevention but it isn’t good as therapy. We mustn’t go to the sauna if we produce the symptoms of a cold, because we can contaminate others and become even weaker due to the greater physical load on our body. We don’t go running either when we are ill! Plus the high temperature is dangerous if we sit inside the sauna with a fever! Let’s wait until we get better and we can go to the sauna when we fell almost perfectly well – but even then let’s start with a mild version of it!


4) ‘One must only have a sauna naked…’

It is true that it is better to have a sauna with no clothes on, as a bathing suit prevents the sweat from evaporating, but social norms are stronger than this aspect, so in most spas and hotels it isn’t only allowed to wear a swimming costume or a towel while in the cabin – it is obligatory. We must ask the spa’s staff about this in advance and comply with the rules of the place.  

5) ‘The higher the temperature, the more intense the detoxification…’

The level of temperature is important but other factors matter too. It is also very important how high the humidity level is in the cabin. A high level of humidity makes the person inside sweat harder, but the body loses water at a slower pace, so the physical load is smaller too. From all sauna types it is the infrared sauna that has the strongest detoxification effect, in spite of the fact that the temperature inside is much lower than in the classic Finnish sauna. Still, the person in the cabin sweats three times harder and the quantity of other compounds in the sweat is 3-7 times bigger. This means that our metabolism must do much harder work in an infrared sauna, even if staying there feels more pleasant and less of a physical burden, as in the infrared sauna it isn’t the air that is heated – the infrared light directly heats our body.