Get your guide!

Receive our FREE 14-day guide, direct to your inbox, on how genetics impact every aspect of fitness and nutrition.

DNAFit Blog

The Sauna and Your Recovery

Posted 136 Days Ago in: Training, Genetics


The sauna has always been a go-to for many people who work out, but what does it do for recovery?

The sauna has been a feature of the majority of gyms and spas for quite some time now. It has been touted as one of the many solutions for effective muscle recovery, as well as having a relaxing component to it after strenuous exercise and oxidative stress on the body.

But is it true?

It is a contentious issue because there is no true way of nailing down how and why we recover the way we do. We already know that speeds of recovery are also closely linked to our genetics and vary between each person and there are a number of interventions that should be made following a heavy training session such as warming down, what you eat and so forth that can help you recover faster.

Yet the sauna still remains a key facet of most people’s training sessions and can also be seen as a reward following the massive physical exertion that training often requires for you to properly make gains or lose weight.

A study, in fact, backs up the belief that a sauna will have a positive impact on healing injuries. It explains that the use of sauna and complex spa therapy in patients with hip problems showed statistically significant improvement of the state of patients. The stated findings, as result, enabled them to recommend the use of sauna as a thermotherapeutic procedure in the rehabilitation of the patients with coxarthrosis, or hip problems. This is a positive step in the right direction for understanding the healing nature of the sauna and thermotherapy in general but there is also a consensus that the use of heat may induce relaxation of the muscles and the therapeutic effect of that relaxation may be the reason why the feelings of pain subsides.

Saunas offer an increased variety of beneficial effects to the user:

  •  Saunas induce perspiration, which helps in ridding the body of toxins.
  • Saunas also increase circulation and raise body temperature, which helps the body fight aches and pains.
  • They help to relieve muscle tension.
  • For athletes, the relief of muscle tension leads to quicker recovery between workouts.
  • Saunas offer a feeling of emotional and physical well-being.
  • The heat of a sauna has been shown to speed up the disposal of by-products that are produced during exercise.

During long bouts of exercise, the body may break down tissue protein to use for energy. This increases the body's level of nitrogen. Nitrogen is usually removed from the blood by the kidneys then expelled in the urine. The use of a sauna can help speed up recovery by assisting the kidneys as they detoxify the body of unhealthy by-products. Therefore, your body’s natural detoxification mechanics are assisted through the use of the sauna and harmful toxins within the body such as nitrogen are dispelled through the pores of the skin.

When we sweat, we are normally under the illusion that we are losing weight but in terms of the sauna this is not so true. What we lose in the sauna is water, and because of this as soon as we drink more we will replenish this “lost weight”. Therefore, all that a sauna does is dehydrate us and provides a brand new insight into safety when using a sauna.

If you are pregnant, have high blood pressure or heart disease; you should consult with your physician before using a sauna. If you have the symptoms of any illness, delay your use of the sauna. The extreme heat produced by the sauna will cause stress to the body. When the body is ill it is already stressed enough. The sauna will only intensify the situation. Don't drink alcoholic beverages before you enter the sauna. This increases the chance of dehydration and may result in you fainting.

In short, the sauna can be an effective tool when taking muscle recovery into account and can be used as something therapeutic as many people who use a sauna speak about how they feel deeply relaxed after using it. However, one should always remember to not stay in the sauna for too long and to drink water after being in the sauna for an extended period of time to ensure that you avoid dehydration. The sauna works, but, as with everything, should be used conscientiously and in moderation. There are many other ways to ensure adequate muscle recovery and you should make use of these as well.



Other Articles

Posted 141 Days Ago in: Nutrition

How I Learned To Stop Hating And Love Veggies

We need to talk about vegetables...

Read More

Posted 143 Days Ago in: Training, Genetics

Do You Have To Do 10 000 Steps A Day?

Ever since wearable devices became the norm for anyone wanting to stay fit and track their progress, 10 000 steps per day has widely been regarded as the benchmark for activity levels, but is it necessary to stick to this to stay fit?

Read More

Get your guide!

Receive our FREE 14-day guide, direct to your inbox, on how genetics impact every aspect of fitness and nutrition.