Sauna safety guide – this is important to know


Sauna safety is a topic that deserves the utmost attention from anyone who chooses to enjoy this type of relaxation. The sauna can bring many benefits to our health – from improving circulation, to cleansing the skin, to supporting the immune system. However, in order to use the sauna safely and effectively, it is necessary to follow certain rules. That is why we have created this guide – to help you use the sauna safely and enjoy all its benefits.

Basic sauna safety rules

If you have any health problems, especially those related to the cardiovascular system, you should consult your doctor before visiting the sauna. Furthermore, in case of any contraindications, it is advisable to consult your doctor in advance.

One of the most important rules to follow is not to use the sauna under the influence of alcohol! Alcohol dilates the blood vessels, which, in combination with the high temperatures in the sauna, can lead to dangerous health effects such as excessively low blood pressure or an accelerated heart rate.

In the sauna, it is extremely important to monitor your well-being. If you feel unwell, leave the sauna immediately. Do not ignore signals sent by your body, such as dizziness, nausea, an accelerated pulse or a feeling of weakness. Remember that the sauna is a place of relaxation, not an endurance test of health.

It is also important not to enter the sauna on a full stomach, but also not to use it on an empty stomach. It is best to eat something light an hour or so before using the sauna to provide you with energy, but not to strain your digestive system at the same time.

When using the sauna, remember to wear suitable headgear. The high temperatures in the sauna can overheat the scalp, which is particularly dangerous for the nervous system. It is therefore advisable to get a special sauna hat to protect your head.

Using the sauna with children is a unique experience which, however, requires extra precautions. Children from the age of 3-4 can use the sauna on condition that their well-being is properly monitored, that the time spent in the sauna is limited and that they are adequately hydrated. For detailed information on safe sauna use with children, please see our dedicated article: Sauna use with children.

Preparing for the sauna

Preparation for the sauna already begins before you enter the sauna. It is important to follow a few rules to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience.

  • Hydration: In the sauna you will lose a lot of fluids through sweat, so it is important to hydrate your body properly before and after the sauna. It is recommended that you drink 1-2 glasses of water before your sauna session and regularly replenish your fluids after your session, for example with warm herbal tea.
  • Clothing: The question of suitable clothing is crucial when using the sauna. Swimming costumes made of synthetic materials can overheat and cause discomfort or even harm your health, so a towel, special kilt or pareo for the sauna is a better option. It is also possible to use a textile-free sauna, which you can read more about in our article Textile-free sauna.
  • Food and drink: It is a good idea to eat something light about an hour before going to the sauna to provide your body with the necessary energy. However, it is advisable to avoid heavy meals, which can put a strain on the digestive system. After the sauna, it is also a good idea to eat something light to replenish the nutrients lost during sweating.
  • Body cleanliness: You should take a shower before entering the sauna. This will not only allow your skin to breathe freely, but will also respect the hygiene of others using the sauna.
  • Jewellery and accessories: Before entering the sauna, remove any metal objects such as jewellery or glasses. Metal heats up quickly and can cause burns.
  • Protecting your hair: The high temperatures in the sauna can dry out your hair. To prevent this, you can wear a special cap or apply conditioner before entering the sauna.
  • Instruments: Make sure you have everything you need – a towel to wrap up in the sauna, another to dry off after a shower, slippers, water to drink, and shampoo and soap to use after the sauna.
  • Understand sauna rules: each public sauna may have its own specific rules regarding attire, noise, use of mobile phones, etc. Make sure you know and understand these rules to ensure a comfortable experience for yourself and other guests.

Safety when using the sauna

Here are some aspects to pay particular attention to:

  1. The time and temperature you spend in the sauna should be appropriate to your level of experience and comfort. For beginners, the recommended session time is about 10 minutes at 70-80 degrees Celsius. For more experienced people this time can be extended, but it is important to always listen to the signals your body is sending out.
  2. It is safest to sit or lie down in the sauna. Remember that heat rises upwards, so the higher the position, the higher the temperature. If you feel yourself getting faint, it is safest to sit on the lowest level or leave the sauna.
  3. Breaks between sauna sessions are very important. It is advisable to go outside or into a cool room to allow your body to cool down. These breaks should last at least as long as the previous sauna session.
  4. After a session, it is important to exit the sauna slowly and carefully, especially after a long session or if you are a newcomer. Sudden temperature changes can be a shock to the body. Before leaving, it is also a good idea to sit down for a while to avoid dizziness. Try to move as little and as slowly as possible. Sudden movements can cause dizziness.
  5. Essential oils are often used in saunas for relaxation and aromatherapy. However, applying them directly to the hot stones can be dangerous and cause burns.
  6. Always be mindful of other people using the sauna. Keep quiet, respect the space of others and do not behave in a way that could endanger their safety.

First aid in the sauna

Using a sauna involves certain risks, such as overheating, dehydration or dizziness. In the event of such incidents, it is important to know how to provide first aid:

  • Overheating: Symptoms of overheating may include dizziness, nausea, accelerated heart rate, reddening of the skin and general weakness. If this happens, leave the sauna immediately, sit or lie down in a cool place and drink plenty of water. If the person’s condition does not improve or worsens, call for medical help immediately.
  • Dehydration: Symptoms of dehydration may include dry mouth, infrequent urination, dark urine, dry skin, fatigue, dizziness and weakness. If dehydration is suspected, plenty of water or isotonic drinks should be consumed. If the person’s condition does not improve or worsens, immediate medical attention is required.
  • Dizziness: Dizziness can be caused by standing up suddenly or overheating. If a person feels dizzy, they should sit or lie down immediately and then drink water slowly. If the dizziness persists or gets worse, medical help should be called.
  • Falls and injuries: Wet sauna floors can increase the risk of falls and injuries. In the event of serious injury, medical assistance should be called.

Remember that this information is basic first aid and is not a substitute for professional medical help. Always call an ambulance in the event of serious medical problems.

Frequently asked questions

How long should one sauna session last?

It is recommended that one sauna session lasts between 5 and 20 minutes. It all depends on your individual heat tolerance and sauna experience. A standard session lasts 15 minutes and an hourglass, which is usually hung on the wall in the sauna, measures the appropriate amount of time.

Should I be naked in the sauna?

Yes, it is advisable to use the sauna without clothing for comfort, as underwear or a swimming costume can become soaked under the influence of perspiration and, when exposed to high temperatures, synthetic clothing can even damage your health. However, you can wrap yourself in a towel, kilt or pareo. Ultimately, the decision whether to be naked or not is up to you and should be dictated by your comfort and the rules of the sauna in question.

Are saunas safe for older people?

Yes, unless they have serious health problems that could be made worse by the heat. All people, regardless of age, should monitor their wellbeing when using the sauna.

Can I use the sauna if I am pregnant?

No, saunas are not allowed. Find a safer form of rest and relaxation during this important period.

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Since 2011 I have had my own business selling sauna building materials, sauna cookers and sauna accessories. I know all about building a quality sauna!