Can Sauna Aid Weight Loss? How Does it Work?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Specialty: Weight Loss Nutrition, Female Wellbeing, Sports Nutrition, Corporate Wellness, Whole Food Cooking

Alexandra Dusenberry is registered dietitian nutritionist and certified personal trainer based in San Diego, California. She works with clients around the world to help them reach their health and fitness goals. She believes that food is me... more

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Sauna (sow-nah) or steam bath can help you shed inches off your waist. Sauna for weight loss is a growing trend. This traditional Finnish bath at 25614882' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' >150-195° F is proven to aid weight loss (1). Research shows that a sauna can be directly compared to a moderate-intensity workout (2). This means you will work out without moving an inch, relax, and enjoy a beautifying bath. Is not that the dream?

Can Sauna Help With Weight Loss?

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Yes, sauna may help you lose weight. Read on to know how.

The heat of the sauna makes you sweat more, which helps you get rid of toxins easily (3). This is healthy, especially if you do not workout regularly (or at all!) or stay indoors all day long in low temperature conditioned air.

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Sweating will also help flush out heavy metals like nickel, mercury, copper, and zinc that are absorbed via the foods you eat. (4). As a result, you will start losing weight by burning the fat effectively.

Water weight can contribute up to 5 pounds of your total weight. And it takes about seven days to lose the water weight with restricted diet and a mixed workout routine.

Sauna, on the other hand, will help expel the excess water by inducing heavy sweating. It is extremely helpful in dropping a few pounds in just a day or two.

A sauna can be described as the most relaxing bath. It helps reduce stress and lowers the cortisol levels in the body (5).

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When you relax by taking a bath in the sauna, the cortisol levels drop, and so do inflammation and the harmful free oxygen levels. This reduces the chances of inflammation-induced weight gain.

Many athletes rely on sauna to help their muscles recover from a strenuous workout or exertion. A study confirms that sauna before exercise helps improve muscle function and reduces sensory impairment (6).

Ever felt out of breath too soon while working out or even climbing up the stairs? Well, the sauna can help tackle that problem. It improves your breathing capacity, increases respiratory function and production of the vasodilator nitric oxide, and reduces respiratory problems.

A study found that sauna bathing helped runners improve running time (endurance or stamina) by 32% (7).

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Reduced stress, inflammation, and toxins help improve your metabolic rate (9209938' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' >8), (9). After a couple of hours out of the bath, your metabolism will be up and running at a higher rate. This is how you can lose weight in a sauna.

The high temperatures in the sauna allow your heart rate to increase. This, in turn, improves blood circulation, skin health, sleep, and immunity (5).

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Sauna also helps lower hypertension or high blood pressure (10). But people with low BP and arrhythmia should avoid sauna bathing.

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Main Idea: Sauna aids weight loss by eliminating toxins, lowering inflammation and high BP, relaxing the muscles, and reducing stress.

Now, the main question is, how many calories can you really expect to burn? Find out in the next section.

How Many Calories Can You Burn In A Sauna?

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The number of calories you can burn is calculated using this formula:

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Say, you are 132 pounds and burn 30 calories in 30 minutes of sitting or resting. Multiply it by 1.5 and 2. So, you may burn somewhere around 45 – 90 calories. Just by sitting in the sauna!

But, does this mean you can be in the sauna for 24 hours and come out slimmed down? Before your imagination runs wild, let me tell you how to make it work for you.

How To Make Sauna Work For Weight Loss?

Sauna is an effective weight loss method. However, it’s not magic.

You must schedule your sauna visits depending on your current body weight and target weight.

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Typically, getting a sauna bath two-three times a week for two weeks will help kick-start your weight loss.

After two weeks, you will start to feel energetic and refreshed. Then, you must include light exercise in your daily routine.

For the next three weeks, take a sauna bath twice a week. After that, include strength training and cardio in your workout routine and take a sauna bath to relax and rejuvenate your muscles.

Main Idea: Schedule your sauna bath appointments twice or thrice a week. Start moderate intensity workouts in the second week. Add strength training to your routine to lose weight and tone up.

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Before you book your appointment, you must know that there are different types of saunas. Here’s what they are called, how they appear, and how they work.

Common Types Of Sauna For Weight Loss

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  • Steam Rooms – Also known as Turkish baths, these rooms are steamy (no pun intended!) and humid.
  • Infrared – Not the conventional sauna, but the acting principle is the same. Light waves are used to heat your body directly and produce sweat.
  • Wood Burning – Sauna rocks are heated by lighting up wood. This is a typical traditional Finnish sauna, and the room temperature is high and is humid.
  • Electrical Sauna – Instead of wood, the room is heated up using electricity.

Saunas may sound fun and a great way to lose weight, but here’s what you must keep in mind while using sauna for weight loss.

Conclusion

Sauna is a great choice when you are just starting to lose weight. It will not only aid weight loss but also impart other health benefits. But you must eat healthily and slowly introduce your body to cardio and strength training to look toned up and strong. So, take care and be fit. Cheers!

Frequently Asked Questions
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How much weight do you lose in a sauna?

You can lose anywhere between 2-5 pounds, depending on your age, height, weight, sauna duration, etc.

How often should I use the sauna to lose weight?

You may use it twice every week for 15-20 weeks to lose weight.

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How long to sit in sauna to lose weight?

About 15-20 minutes in sauna will give you good results.

How much water weight can you lose in a sauna?

You can lose about 2 pounds of water weight in sauna.

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Is a sauna good for losing weight?

Yes, it is good for weight loss, but you must eat healthily and exercise to make it work.

Is it healthy to have a sauna every day?

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Avoid going to the sauna every day. You can go for it once in every two days initially and then reduce the visits to twice or once a week.

How long is it safe to sit in a sauna?

15-20 minutes.

How much weight can you lose in one day?

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You will not lose weight in a single day.

Do saunas help you detox?

Yes, sauna is a great way to detox and feel refreshed.

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