The best temperature for a traditional sauna is 160-175° Fahrenheit. This is the temperature range at which you will experience the greatest relaxation and potential health benefits. If you want to get the most from your sauna session, set the dial to 160-175°F (71-79° Celsius).
THE BEST TEMPERATURE FOR A TRADITIONAL SAUNA IS 160-175°F
If you want to maximize the relaxation and potential health benefits of your traditional sauna session – set the temperature to 160-175°F. This is the best temperature range for relaxation, cardiovascular stimulation, and system detox.
Traditional saunas use an electrical heater, (or wood-burning stove), to heat the air inside a wood cabin. The hot air in turn heats your body while you sit inside. For the sauna session to be effective – you need to turn the heat dial right up. Traditional saunas run at much higher temperatures compared to infrared saunas and steam rooms.
The 160-175°F temperature range allows plenty of wiggle room for individual preference. Everyone has a different heat tolerance level. Some people feel comfortable in very hot saunas and can easily tolerate 175°F. While, others are heat sensitive and will do better at the lower end of the scale – 160°F. The best advice is to start low and work your way up slowly if you feel comfortable doing so. Never sit in a sauna that feels uncomfortably hot.
HOW LONG SHOULD YOU STAY INSIDE?
A typical sauna session lasts anywhere from 5-15 minutes. Our advice is to stay inside a sauna for as long as feels comfortable and never any longer. Everyone’s body reacts differently to intense heat – so if you’re new to sauna start low and gradually increase the time if you feel comfortable.
Experienced sauna users can stay inside a sauna for longer. Their bodies have become accustomed to the heat. However, beginners should start with shorter sessions – as little as 5 minutes is a good starting point.
See how your body reacts to the intense heat and gradually increase your sauna time if you feel comfortable doing so. If you begin to feel too hot or unwell you should exit the sauna and allow your body time to cool down.
Once your body acclimatizes to the heat you can begin experimenting with multiple sessions. Experienced users like to alternate sessions inside the sauna with cooling breaks outside. This way you can return to the sauna for a second or third session once you have cooled down.
Anyone with an underlying health condition should seek professional medical advice before using a sauna. If you have any doubts about your ability to safely use a sauna you should consult your personal physician for guidance. If you are pregnant, suffer from a heart condition, or have high blood pressure you should seek medical advice.
CAN A SAUNA BE TOO HOT?
Yes, a sauna can be too hot. If the sauna feels uncomfortably hot – then it is too hot for you. Never use a sauna that feels too hot. If it is a public sauna you should step outside to prevent your body from overheating. And, if it’s a traditional home sauna – try lowering the temperature setting and see how you feel.
Temperatures in excess of 190°F are considered very hot saunas. If you are a beginner, you should avoid temperatures above 175°F. If you want to get the most from your traditional sauna session and maximize the benefits – aim for a temperature between 160-175°F. This way you’ll be able to stay inside longer and your body will be heated right to the core.
HOW HOT IS A TRADITIONAL SAUNA?
The temperature of a traditional sauna varies from one sauna to the next. It also changes depending on the personal preference of the people using it. Some people like a very hot sauna, while others prefer a lower heat level.
However, the vast majority of traditional saunas will operate in the region of 150-190°F. This is equivalent to 65-88°C. A traditional sauna must have a minimum temperature of 150°F to have any practical relaxation or health-promoting effect.
WHAT’S THE BEST TEMPERATURE FOR RELAXATION?
Traditional sauna is an excellent tool for relaxation. To experience the best relaxation effects the sauna needs to be at a minimum temperature of 150°F. Below this temperature, you will experience very little benefit.
Once you hit 150°F or above you will begin to feel the full effects and benefits of the sauna. The heat will penetrate right to your core and the experience will relieve stress and calm your mind. And, for the best relaxation effects aim for a temperature of 160-175°F – if you feel comfortable doing so.
DO YOU NEED TO PREHEAT A TRADITIONAL SAUNA?
Yes, you need to preheat a traditional sauna. Depending on the size of the sauna and the power rating of the heater it will take between 30-45 minutes to fully heat up. This is the length of time it takes the heater to heat the sauna rocks, which in turn heat the air inside the sauna. You will need to factor this pre-heating time into your sauna routine.
WHAT IS A TRADITIONAL SAUNA?
The modern concept of a traditional sauna is based largely on Finnish sauna. A traditional sauna is a small wooden cabin that contains a bench and either an electrical heater or a wood-burning stove. The heater is used to heat sauna rocks – which in turn heats the air inside the cabin. For more check out our in-depth guide – What is a Traditional Sauna?
WHAT ABOUT INFRARED SAUNAS AND STEAM ROOMS?
Traditional sauna is not the only type of popular sauna on the market. There are also infrared saunas and steam rooms. Infrared saunas use infrared light energy to heat the body directly without heating the air inside the sauna. They run at much lower temperatures than traditional saunas.
Steam rooms are heated using steam. They are sometimes called wet saunas. Steam rooms are very moist environments and have 100% humidity. They run at lower temperatures compared to traditional saunas but feel hotter due to the intense humidity.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TRADITIONAL SAUNA?
The single greatest benefit of traditional sauna is relaxation. Saunas have been enjoyed around the world for thousands of years for a variety of reasons. But relaxation is king. If you are looking for a way of calming your mind, relieving stress, and drawing a line under a stressful day – look no further. A traditional sauna ticks all these boxes.
Other potential benefits include – system detox, elevated cardiovascular activity, muscle relaxation, relief from joint pain, and of course the all-important – social interaction. For more info on the benefits of traditional sauna, check out our full guide – Pros & Cons of Traditional Sauna.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHICH IS HEALTHIER DRY SAUNA OR STEAM ROOM?
It all comes down to personal preference. Dry saunas have very low humidity, higher temperatures, and are easier to breathe in. Steam rooms have 100% humidity, lower temperatures, and can relieve nasal congestion. For more see dry sauna vs steam room.
WHAT DO YOU WEAR IN A SAUNA?
You should wear loose-fitting, breathable, comfortable clothing when using a sauna. Swimwear works well. If you feel comfortable you can try wearing a towel. Wrapping a towel around your chest or waist works well. Check out our full guide – what to wear in a sauna.
HOW LONG SHOULD A PERSON STAY IN A SAUNA?
You should only stay in a sauna for as long as feels comfortable. If you begin to feel too hot or uncomfortable in any way you should exit the sauna and allow your body to cool down.
DO SAUNAS HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT?
Saunas are not an effective for losing weight. You will not burn a significant number of calories sitting in a sauna. You will experience a temporary loss in water weight. But this must be replaced as soon as possible to prevent dehydration.
IS 170 TOO HOT FOR A SAUNA?
170 is not too hot for a sauna. In fact, 170°F is a good temperature for experienced sauna users and people with a high level of heat tolerance. The best temperature for a traditional sauna is 160-175°F. If you are new to sauna, start low and find your comfort level.
WHAT IS THE IDEAL SAUNA TEMPERATURE IN CELSIUS?
The ideal sauna temperature in Celsius is 71-79°C. This is the temperature range at which you will get the most out of your sauna session.