The Benefits of Traditional Sauna Bathing

the benefits of traditional saunas

Saunas provide an excellent opportunity for people seeking to relax and enhance their overall well-being. Traditional saunas, especially, pack a load of far more health benefits than their infrared counterparts. For instance, unlike infrared saunas that require you to sit on top of the heater, traditional saunas involve heating the air, which then raises your body temperature. The setup allows it to accommodate more people, which is a plus in terms of social benefits, whereas infrared saunas capacity is limited to the size of the heater. 

 With the marketing hype sometimes distorting the facts about the pros and cons of both saunas, there's so much misinformation about regular saunas. In this post, we delve deeper into traditional saunas to help you better understand what they are, how they differ from infrared models, and how a traditional sauna bathing experience can improve your health.   

Understanding Traditional Sauna


A traditional sauna is a heated room designed to induce relaxation by subjecting one's body to high temperatures. The sessions are also therapeutic, with studies noting many health benefits, including stress reduction, removal of toxins, protecting against cardiovascular disease and chronic fatigue, improving muscle recovery, and reduced risk of Alzheimer's and dementia, among others.

 During a traditional sauna session, the room is usually heated to between 70°C and 110°C. This is achieved by heating stones (sauna stones), which then radiate the heat into the room. 

 A traditional sauna can be dry or wet, depending on the individual's preference. For a wet (steam) sauna, water is poured on the stones, which helps increase the room's humidity. The heat in the room raises the bather's skin temperatures, and the resulting sweating produces the desired feeling of relaxation and aids the body to remove toxins. 

 Saunas have been around for centuries and trace their origin to Finland. The original sauna was called 'savu', the Finnish term for smoke. This is because the sauna stones used to be heated using a wood fire, and the room didn't have a chimney (only a small hole in the wall), so there would be a lot of smoke. The room would be heated to the right temperature for about half a day, and then the bathers entered (once the smoke cleared).

 Since then, the traditional sauna has evolved, with the introduction of sauna electric stoves, making it more accessible and much easier to install and operate. However, wood-fired saunas are still used, especially for outdoor settings, though they now feature a chimney to channel the smoke out of the room. Though the design and convenience of use may vary widely between the original and present traditional saunas, their purpose has not changed; they provide relaxation, social bonding, and wellness.

 On the other hand, an infrared sauna is often a wooden or plastic box that uses infrared heaters to produce light that's absorbed by the bather's body instead of heating the room. The person's body temperature then rises, helping them to relax. Infrared saunas are also smaller compared to traditional saunas, accommodating only between one to four people. Heating is also much lower, ranging between 50°C and 60°C, so many people don't raise a sweat.

 Having understood the background of traditional sauna culture, let's now discuss its benefits. 

Benefits of Traditional Sauna


Traditional saunas are time-proven relaxation amenities, with many studies supporting their benefits. They provide bathers with the entire experience of a Finnish bath, preferably made of cedar and with the ability to drop your temperature quickly nearby - such as a pool or a cold shower.

 Common benefits of traditional sauna include;

  •  Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease - Regular traditional sauna bathing is relaxing, which means our circulatory systems able to function normally. Research has shown that it can protect bathers from the risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases such as sudden cardiac death. The study found that having a couple of sauna sessions per week significantly improved health outcomes.
  • Reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia - Frequent traditional sauna bathing has also been linked with improved brain health, with studies showing a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
  • Improved mental health - Regular traditional sauna bathing also promotes mental well-being. A study on the effect of sauna bathing and mental health disorders, especially among men, found a significant decreased risk of serious mental health disorders, as well as general improved mental health.
  • Reduced risk of respiratory disease - Frequent sauna bathing has also been associated with a decreased rate of respiratory disease. Essential oils, such as eucalyptus oil, can also be added to the water placed on the stones and then breathed in from the steam. Many people find this very beneficial.
  • Inducing changes in arterial stiffness - Studies have also found that sauna bathing improves arterial stiffness. Sauna sessions of 30 minutes induce changes to arterial stiffness, lowering the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
  • Improved healthspan - Studies have also linked sauna bathing to extended healthspan and lifespan. Heat exposure causes mild hyperthermia and stimulates various bodily responses such as cardiovascular, cytoprotective, and neuroendocrine mechanisms, which help prolong healthspan.

 These are just a few benefits of indulging in traditional sauna bathing. There are many more, including improved exercise performance, reduced signs of aging, balancing hormones, and promoting healing. 

In Conclusion


Sauna bathing has immense benefits, and research has shown traditional saunas have additional benefits, such as promoting brain and respiratory health and inducing changes to arterial stiffness. 

 At Heart Based Healing Centre, we provide an custom made traditional cedar sauna bathing experience that doubles up comfort and health benefits. We also have a pool that you can dive into between your sauna sessions for a hot/cold experience. But if you prefer showering to plunging, we have an outdoor rainhead shower that is completely private. The hot/cold experience is highly recommended as it boosts circulation and relaxation, and is the perfect preparation for an energy healing session.

 The sauna, pool and spa can also be booked for exclusive use. 

 Contact us today to book a session.