Beyond Detox: How to Get Added Health Benefits From Saunas

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People have used saunas and sweat lodges for thousands of years all around the world, and sweating out toxins is only part of the reason.

Deeper health benefits from saunas don’t just lie in detoxification. You can actually boost your immune system, too, by using a few added techniques.


This article will tell you the exact steps to take to get added health benefits from saunas.

When you’re in a sauna, blood floods to the surface of your body, pores open, and eventually sweat gets pushed out.

For added health benefits from saunas, the idea is to bolster the ability of your pores to not just open, but close effectively as well. This will boost your circulation and enhance your immune system so it can practice its defenses.

Unfortunately most people who visit saunas neglect some of the key steps that help make this happen.


How to get added health benefits from saunas:

When you sit in the sauna, brush, lightly scratch, or tap the skin on your arms, legs, belly, and back. This will stimulate your pores to open more while you’re in the sauna, and boost the circulation at the surface of your body.

Pretty soon you’ll start sweating, and with all the blood at the surface of your body toxins will come flowing out.

Once you’ve started sweating, you can stay in the sauna as long as you feel comfortable.



And here’s the most important step:

Immediately after you leave the sauna you have to immerse yourself in cold water!

This will close your pores back up, pull the blood back to your core organs, and reinforce your natural defenses.

This means that you will actually lose less heat when you are out of the sauna, boost your circulation, stay warmer longer, and keep your vital organs happy and functioning at the same time.

I know, it sounds totally crazy.

Think of it as boot-camp for your immune-system.

It may not sound pleasant, but after a few times you’ll get used to it and you’ll actually feel great afterward, I promise!

This ritual is especially important in the fall and winter months when cold winds can more easily attack your body and you want your immune system to be on guard.

photo source:

photo source:

Once you’ve dunked, you can then relax outside of the sauna until you’re ready for another round.

Feel free to enjoy a warm foot-bath or wear cozy socks while you lounge to keep your feet warm.

You might also consider drinking some warm water with a pinch of salt and honey to refurbish your body with electrolytes lost in sweating.

Three rounds are typical for the sauna ritual, but you can increase or reduce this depending on what feels good to you.



How to mimic a sauna at home:

When time and money are limited you can still train your body’s defenses at home.

To do this, take a very hot shower or bath and brush your skin to stimulate the blood to the surface and induce sweating.

Then immerse yourself in very cold water to bring the blood back to the core.

If you still feel cold you can finish with a quick warm rinse and still gain the sauna benefits.

Another alternative is to try the wet sock treatment, (and yes, despite its name, it feels really good too!)



If you ever feel light-headed, dizzy, or have heart palpitations, please leave the sauna immediately!

People who are frail, prone to dizziness, pregnant, have hypertension or low blood pressure should avoid using the sauna. Growing children would also benefit from avoiding high temperatures.

If you are feeling sick it would be best for you to stay home, rest, and use other natural techniques to kick your immune system into action (click here for some ideas).

Lastly, according to Chinese medicine sweat is associated with blood. Using this logic it would be best to avoid inducing a sweat during menstruation, as you are already losing a lot of blood during that week.

Want to live up to your healthiest, most vibrant, and well-balanced potential?

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  1. Great info – thanks! How long do you stay in the sauna for each round? And how long in the cold water in between? Thanks again!

    • Good questions Joy! You stay in the sauna until you start to sweat, and then as long as you feel comfortable after that. When you plunge in the cold water you can be as quick as you like, but I like to wait about 10-20 seconds to really let my blood return to my core.

      • Thanks!

      • There’s no way to plunge into a cold bath at my sports club. Will a cold shower do the trick too?

          • Okay, wish me luck, heading off the the sauna now!


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