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by Divine Saunas Team June 23, 2022 8 min read
Adding a sauna to your day-to-day life can be extremely relaxing, beneficial, and rewarding if used correctly. Many people feel like that’s a big “if” and are nervous about operating their home saunas correctly.
From care and maintenance to finding the best sauna temperature, we understand that it feels like a lot of new information to absorb. Fortunately, our team at Divine Saunas is dedicated to helping you feel confident in every aspect of your sauna purchase.
Figuring out which sauna is best for your needs is a huge part of the process. But it’s just as important to know how to get the most out of your new investment. Once you’ve read through this guide, you’ll have a clear understanding of the best sauna temperature in a variety of situations.
Generally speaking, one of the best things about installing a home sauna is that you make most of the rules. While public shared saunas have quite a bit of etiquette to observe, you can forego a lot of it at home if you’d like.
That said, there are a few general sauna rules and guidelines that you should adhere to for the best results.
First, avoid having a large meal before your sauna session. When you eat a heavy or big meal, your body concentrates blood flow to your stomach. Meanwhile, the heat of the sauna increases blood circulation under your skin. (1) This combination is described as uncomfortable and unpleasant by many people who experience it.
Next, it’s important to stay hydrated. The average person will lose up to a pint of sweat even during shorter sauna sessions.
“A saunas' dry heat (which can get as high as 185° F) has profound effects on the body.”
Drinking plenty of water or your favorite sports drink is helpful before a sauna. If you start your sauna time while you’re dehydrated, you may feel lightheaded, woozy, or dizzy.
Our final recommended guideline applies once you finish your sauna session. We suggest not trying to go straight to sleep afterward. Regardless of which sauna you use or the temperature, your heart rate will stay elevated for a bit. A pumping heart doesn’t pair well with trying to relax for sleep, so give yourself some time to wind down.
While the Rule of 200 is nothing new to lifelong Finnish sauna fans, the term has only recently surfaced among new sauna-goers.
Basically, the Rule of 200 states that adding your sauna temperature and humidity level together should equal 200 if you would like to achieve perfect comfort. For example, if your sauna’s temperature is set to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, then you need the humidity at 40%, so that you can achieve the desired Rule of 200. 160 plus 40 equals 200.
The Rule of 200 is rooted in the theory that a sauna’s comfort is dependent on both humidity and temperature combined, not just one or the other. We make it easy to manage your traditional sauna’s temperature and humidity by including a thermos-hygrometer with every purchase, which measures both factors.
You may be wondering how this rule impacts dry or infrared saunas. Quite frankly, it doesn’t apply because neither of those types use water to generate steam.
All in all, the Rule of 200 is a great rule of thumb for new sauna users especially. Feel free to dial in your preferred settings as you get to know how your body reacts to different combinations because setting your own custom rules is one of the best things about becoming a sauna owner.
It’s true that the Rule of 200 is a safe and simple way to find the best temperature for your traditional sauna. But thanks to modern science and technology, we now have extremely accurate data on the best temperatures for every kind of sauna.
Generally speaking, there isn’t any range of temperatures that’s best for everyone. But it is a range, and it depends mostly on the kind of heat your sauna uses.
One of the key things to learn about saunas relates to the different heating methods. Traditional saunas can be configured with either electric or wood-burning heaters, whichever is most appropriate for your location and lifestyle.
Then, there are infrared heaters. This sauna operates and heats up your body in a completely different way than a traditional sauna, including hot dry sauna.
Finnish saunas are not traditionally dry, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying it at least once. Whether you choose a little steam or a dry experience, the kind of heat benefits are ultimately the same. The heat source warms the air all around you, ultimately warming your body from the outside in. Your core body temperature won’t rise until your skin starts to sweat, but that happens pretty quickly.
Infrared saunas, on the other hand, affect your core body temperature directly—more on that below. Essentially, it’s the exact opposite of how you warm up in a regular sauna.
Because of these stark differences in the way your body experiences the heat, the heat-up time, recommended temperature, and ideal session length are also extremely different. Let’s take a look at the ideal temperatures for each sauna now.
Keep in mind that if you purchase a traditional sauna, you can use it as a wet or dry sauna. But for the sake of clarity, we’re going to discuss the best setting for a wet sauna first, then the best dry sauna temperature. A wet sauna is not a steam room but it will have steam, hence some people mistakenly refer to this type as a steam sauna.
Considering the Rule of 200 and findings of various studies, it really is no surprise that the best traditional sauna temperature is more like a range. (2) Recent studies have found that regular sauna sessions at around 174 degrees Fahrenheit lead to overall improved health and life expectancy.
“Ideally, you want to keep your sauna’s heat on a high setting for 45 minutes to an hour—the time depends on the type of sauna you have—so that it’s ready for you. When you get in, add some water to the sauna rocks to clean them and get things steamy.”
So, what is the best temperature for your traditional sauna? For your health and safety, the best temperature is between 140-200 degrees Fahrenheit. The average American sticks to 150-175 degrees, while diehard and longtime fans prefer higher temperatures.
When it comes to sauna temperature when there’s steam, it’s always safest to control the temp and start lower and add water before you decide to crank up the heat on the controls. Keeping your sauna at 200 degrees and observing the Rule of 200 would mean you couldn’t have any humidity. Consider all of these guidelines and experiment to find your own sweet spot.
Pro tip: Many people love starting their sauna session while it’s still heating up. Feel free to step in once it hits about 140 degrees Fahrenheit and relax until it comes up to your desired temperature.
We’ve seen people use the term “dry sauna” to refer to both infrared saunas, and traditional saunas that forego the usage of wood heated steam. To prevent confusion, we’ll discuss these hot, dry saunas here and others in the next section.
Honestly, taking a dry sauna session in your sauna is not extremely common. Many people find the hot temperatures recommended by the Finnish sauna society a bit uncomfortable without any water to produce steam, especially as saunas get more popular in the US. That doesn’t mean a hot and dry sauna is bad for you, simply that there hasn’t been much experimentation or research done in regard to the best range. Individuals all react very differently to dry heat, so feel free to tinker with different options in your own hot sauna.
People in the US who do enjoy dry sauna sessions typically report being able to tolerate higher temperatures in a regular wet wood burning sauna. Basically, the steam from the water poured on rocks heated by wood or coals feels very sharp against your skin, which cuts through the effects of the heat. Without the wood heated steam, you are much more aware of the hot air temperature.
With all of this in mind, the best temp for a dry sauna is between 140-175 degrees Fahrenheit. Most people don’t feel comfortable in a dry heat that hot or much higher than this range. Start with shorter sessions until you dial in the best setting.
While these hot saunas offer many of the same benefits you’ll enjoy from a traditional sauna, the mechanics behind how the heaters work couldn’t be more different. These use electronic infrared heaters to warm you from the inside out rather than water or steam.Basically, in an infrared sauna, these waves are absorbed right into you, whereas a traditional sauna heats the air around you first. As you absorb these light waves in the infrared sauna, your temperature rises internally first, eventually spreading to your skin so it feels hot to the touch.
Keep in mind that like steam and humidity, infrared light is a completely natural phenomenon. Because of this, the ideal infrared saunas temperature may vary. Human bodies radiate this kind of heat that the infrared sauna produces that’s invisible to the naked eye, but can still be felt even without water.
To experience this heat, hold your hands close together but not quite touching. Feel that slight warmth radiating from each hand? That’s your body producing infrared heat of its own.
Our Health Mate infrared saunas are certified to be healthy and safe for you and your home, and their new models are now built exclusively with sustainable, pure eucalyptus wood and an extended manufacturer warranty.
As mentioned earlier, because this sauna’s heat source is so different than wood or electric, the temperature and ideal session length are also quite a bit different to control. The safest and most comfortable temperature is quite a bit lower than that of a traditional sauna.
For maximum comfort and safety, your infrared saunas temperature should be between 100-125 degrees Fahrenheit although Health Mate Saunas suggest 120-140 degrees as ideal. You can also stay in infrared saunas for slightly longer than the typical 20 minutes. With infrared sauna heat, you can choose to stay in for up to 35 minutes a few weeks after you get used to your sauna so long as you’re hydrated and healthy or possibly 40 minutes if suggested by a medical advisor.
While there is an ideal sauna temperature range for different types of saunas, it’s ultimately all up to you. When you enjoy a session post-workout, on a cold day, after a stressful week, or any other scenario, the exact best sauna temperature traditional or modern, is going to vary slightly.
You may also enjoy tinkering with your sauna’s temperature depending on the length of your sessions. Some of our saunas are designed to have space for yoga, while others are perfect for one person to sit inside. These are just some of the details to consider as you dial in your perfect heat setting before each session.
As you’ve learned today, the perfect temperature for your sauna isn’t exactly a cut and dry query, especially if you have an infrared sauna.
While each type of sauna has a temperature range that’s considered safe, comfortable, and beneficial, medical research is still being done every day to find ideal setups for individuals with certain lifestyles and conditions. As a sauna owner yourself, we recommend regularly checking out our blog to learn about the latest discoveries and tips.
You should also experiment within these safe ranges to uncover your favorite settings for different applications. You’ll find that your preference varies depending on if you’re relaxing after a long workout, warming up on a chilly day, or releasing the stress from a tough workday.
If you have any further questions about your sauna temperature or getting the most out of your sauna, our team is here to help! Please just give us a call at 888-554-4332 if you need any assistance in creating your dream sauna experience.
The team at Divine Saunas, brings years of combined expertise in the sauna industry and in creating helpful customer experiences online. With our unique perspectives we work together to help our customers fulfill their goals in creating a wonderful sauna oasis and spa. We do the research of high quality products, information and solutions and deliver that to you.
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