Saunas are popular among people who want to relax, detoxify, and improve their health.
But how much weight can you lose in a sauna?
Many people believe that spending time in a sauna can melt away fat and reduce water retention, but is there any scientific evidence to back up these claims?
In this article, we will explore the effects of sauna use on weight loss, metabolism, and water balance and provide some tips on how to use a sauna safely and effectively.
What is a sauna, and how does it work?
Sauna is a traditional practice with its roots deeply embedded in the Finnish culture.
Sauna is essentially a room that is specially designed to increase the room temperature to a substantial degree, typically spanning from 150°F to 195°F (65.6°C to 90.6°C).
To reach these temperatures, sauna can use various means, which can be as simple as burning wood to generate heat or using infrared technology to get the temperature high.
Regardless of the method used, the main principle behind sauna remains the same: expose you to high temperatures to get you sweating and help your body detoxify.
But why does it make you sweat?
Sweating is a natural mechanism of your body that is triggered in response to heat.
It serves two main purposes:
In addition to these benefits, sauna also dilates your blood vessels, improving blood circulation and heart rate.
Improved blood circulation helps you in many ways, like reducing stress, helping your body relax, and potentially relieving muscle tension.
You might also like to read: Sauna Before Bed: A Relaxing Way to Improve Your Sleep
How much weight can you lose in a sauna?
If the question you are seeking an answer to is “How Much Weight Can You Lose in a Sauna?” here is your answer, and it is not much.
The weight loss that occurs during a sauna session is mostly due to water loss from sweating.
According to Harvard Medical School, the average person loses about 1 pint of fluid during a short time in the sauna.
This means that you can potentially lose up to 2 pounds of water weight per session, depending on how much you sweat and how long you stay in the sauna.
However, this weight loss is temporary and will return as soon as you rehydrate yourself.
Therefore, sauna use is not an effective way to lose fat or achieve long-term weight loss.
In the grand scheme of weight management, sauna can serve as a means to lose water weight rather than genuinely result in fat loss.
To get meaningful results in your weight loss journey, we recommend that you focus on a balanced, healthy diet and regular physical activities.
Do Saunas Increase Metabolism?
Metabolism is the process by which your body converts food and oxygen into energy. It is influenced by many factors, such as age, gender, genetics, hormones, physical activity, and diet.
Some people believe that sauna use can boost metabolism by increasing body temperature and heart rate, which may result in more calories burned.
However, the evidence for this is not conclusive.
An article from 2017 suggests that infrared saunas can burn 400–600 calories within 30 minutes, but this is based on a small study with only 10 participants.
A 2019 study found that four sauna sessions of 10 minutes each resulted in some changes in energy expenditure, BMI, and body surface area among young people assigned male at birth who were sedentary and overweight, but these changes were not significant or consistent.
The participants of this study lost around 1.43 lbs in water weight. In addition to that, participants with higher body mass, body surface area, body fat percentage, and muscle mass burned relatively more calories during a sauna session.
However, a 2018 study found that individuals with higher body mass and surface area experienced more significant body mass loss from sauna-induced heat exposure, but this was also due to water loss rather than fat loss.
Therefore, it is unlikely that sauna use alone can significantly increase your metabolism or help you burn more calories.
To learn more about this in detail, you can also refer to our previous blog, “How Many Calories Does A Sauna Burn?”
Does Sauna Help With Water Retention?
Let us talk about how sauna can affect your water retention capacity, but first, let’s start at the basics.
Water retention, also known as edema or fluid retention, is when your body holds more water than it needs, which in turn gives you that bloating feeling.
It can happen for various reasons, like hormone imbalances, your diet, any pre-existing medical condition that you may have, or even certain medications.
Water retention doesn’t sound so scary, but it can mess with your weight, how you look, and how you feel.
Now, when it comes to saunas, they can actually help you with water retention; here is how:
When you are in sauna, your body heats and you start sweating a lot. And what is sweat?
Sweat is a body fluid that contains water and sodium, something your body holds in water retention.
So, by sweating, sauna helps you get rid of that excess fluid, which can relieve swelling and bloating.
But that is not all.
As we said before, the heat in the sauna also causes your blood vessels to dilate, which improves your blood flow and your lymphatic drainage system, which in turn helps your body to remove even more excess water and toxins.
In addition to this, we are going to give you a pro tip as well.
Even though saunas help you with water retention, you also need to stay hydrated.
If you lose too much fluids, you run the risk of getting dehydrated, which is obviously not good for you.
So, make sure to drink plenty of water before and after your sauna session, and avoid drinking water during the session. It helps you stay balanced and keeps your body hydrated and healthy.
You might also like to read: Does Sauna Help Detox? Here’s What Facts Say
9 Tips for You For Using Sauna For Weight Loss
We have established that solely using sauna for your weight loss journey isn’t a great idea, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it with a combination of a balanced diet and exercise.
For the best results, here are a few tips for you if you want to use sauna for weight loss:
Before you start using sauna, consult with your doctor to find out if there are any medical conditions or concerns you may have and the proper methods to address them.
To save yourself from dehydration during your sauna session, drink at least 2-4 glasses of water beforehand to properly hydrate yourself.
If you are new to this, start small. Start with short sessions for about 5-10 minutes to get adjusted. You can gradually increase the duration of your sauna sessions as you get used to the heat.
Even after you get used to the heat, don’t extend your sauna sessions for more than 15-20 minutes at a time.
For the best results, take breaks between sessions and give your body some time to gradually cool down.
Always avoid alcohol and caffeine before and after your sauna sessions. Sauna makes you sweat, and consuming alcohol or caffeine can further dehydrate you.
Whether you want to use sauna for weight loss or just want to keep your body healthy, a balanced diet is the way to go. Eating a balanced diet that is rich in potassium, magnesium, and any other electrolytes helps your body to regulate fluid balance efficiently.
We recommend that you combine your sauna sessions with regular workout sessions and a healthy lifestyle for the best results and to keep your body happy.
Most important of all, always pay close attention to what your body is saying. If you ever start feeling sick, uncomfortable, dizzy, nauseous, or like you are about to faint, get out of the sauna immediately and seek medical attention if needed.
Your safety should always come first
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Wrapping It Up
Saunas are and always will be a popular choice for relaxing and detoxifying your body and the potential health benefits that come with it.
These health benefits are often related to weight loss and metabolism, but it is important that you understand the extent of their effect more clearly.
You can lose weight with sauna, but it's just water weight, not genuine fat loss. And you gain the lost water weight as soon as you rehydrate yourself.
So, if you are planning to lose weight solely with a sauna, it's not going to work for fat loss and weight management. For more consistent results, you can use sauna with a combination of a balanced diet and a good workout session.
You also need to consult with your doctor before starting sauna and include it in your weight loss strategy.
Including saunas in your well-being routine is a great choice, but it is important that you remember that it is just one piece of the puzzle in your journey to a better and healthier body.
Now, if you are ready to include sauna in your lifestyle but are not sure what should be your first step, we can help you.
You can get in touch with our exceptional team at Steam and Sauna Experts will take care of things for you.
But first, let us introduce ourselves to you.
We are South Florida’s most seasoned and, more importantly, most trusted sauna experts in the industry, with hands-on experience that spans the last two decades.
But that is not all we have. We also have the largest sauna inventory in the industry, with market leaders like Mr. Steam and Amerec, among others.
In simple words, everything you need is all under one roof. We have got you covered.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How much weight can you lose in a sauna?
A. Weight loss from sauna varies and isn’t genuinely weight loss. You mostly lose water weight through sweating, which you will gain back as soon as you rehydrate yourself. Sauna can help you burn some calories, but it isn’t the way to lose long-term weight.
Q. How much water weight can you lose in a sauna?
A. You can lose around 2 pounds per sauna session, but remember, it is temporary.
Q. How long to stay in sauna to lose weight?
A. With a single sauna session, you can lose about 2 pounds of water weight, which you would regain soon enough. If you are new to this, keep your sessions between 5 to 10 minutes. If you are a veteran, keep it to 15-30 minutes max.
Q. When is the best time to use a sauna for weight loss?
A. It isn’t an exact science and depends on your personal preferences. However, some studies have shown that taking a sauna session after a workout helps your body lose more fat and build lean muscles. You can also use sauna in the morning when your body temperature is lower, and you can tolerate the heat a little bit better.
Q. How long in a sauna to lose 2 pounds?
A. You can potentially lose up to 2 pounds per session, depending on how much you sweat and the duration of your sauna session. Your sauna session can be 5-10 minutes if you are new to this and 15-20 minutes if you know what you are doing.
Q. How long in a sauna to lose 5 pounds?
A. If you keep your sauna sessions short and lose 1 pound of water weight with each session, it can take up to five sessions to lose 5 pounds. Keep in mind that it is not fat loss.
Q. Can saunas reduce belly fat?
A. Sauna can help you burn some calories and may help you reduce overall body fat, but it can’t target belly fat specifically. A balanced diet and regular exercise are your best bet for real belly fat loss.
Q. Do saunas burn many calories?
A. Sauna can help you burn some extra calories but isn’t as significant to the calories you burn with a workout.
Q. Do saunas boost metabolism?
A. Sauna can temporarily boost your metabolism due to the head and the increase in your heart rate, but it is not a big or long-term change.
Q. Does sauna help with water retention?
A. Sauna can help you with water retention by making you excess fluids through sweating. But remember, it is not a permanent solution and for sever water retention, you should see a doctor.