Staying inside a sauna is without a doubt a relaxing experience. Apart from the health benefits, it is also good for your mental state and it a great way to spend 20-30 minutes meditating. Finding the best sauna temperature and humidity, however, can be tricky and there are a lot of opinions going around that all claim different numbers to be correct.
In short, picking the right temperature and humidity settings can maximize the health benefits while minimizing the potential risks. For traditional saunas, the ideal temperature range is between 150 and 175 degrees Fahrenheit, while infrared saunas typically operate at lower temperatures of 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit. Dry saunas have a very low humidity level in the realm of 5-10%, while steam rooms can go as high as 100%. Let’s dive a little deeper into those numbers now and discuss the relationship between these metrics…
For some of the best infrared saunas for this year, click here!
Finding the right temperature
To start things off, I want to briefly mention that temperatures vary based on the desired effect but also based on the personal preference of the person using the sauna. Some people prefer hotter and drier saunas, while others prefer a slightly milder experience. That being said, the feeling of how hot the sauna also heavily depends on the moisture. This is where some people get a bit confused. Let me clear that up.
The more moisture there is in the air, the harder it is for your skin to release the temperature from your body into the air. This makes your body overheat and feel much hotter than it actually is. This is why a steam room with 100% moisture can be only as hot as 110 degrees Fahrenheit and you will already feel really hot inside, while drier saunas can get up to 160 degrees and you won’t be as hot. Saunas allow for extreme temperatures mainly by having extremely dry air.
Traditional saunas are very dry and have hotter temperatures on average. The ideal range to get the maximum out of them is between 150 and 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Some people consider 160 degrees to be the golden middle which allows you to stay for prolonged times and get the desired effect at the same time.
While traditional saunas aren’t limited in terms of how hot they can get, infrared saunas are. Their heaters typically have a high point which is their upper limit. In most cases that is around 130 degrees. In an infrared sauna, you don’t need to get too hot, however, because the effects come from the infrared rays themselves. this is why 120 degrees is perfectly fine for an infrared sauna. Such temperatures combined with relatively low humidity will allow you to stay inside for longer than you would in a traditional sauna.
If you are wondering how long to make your stay in the sauna, head over to my full article on the topic. Now that we’re done with the temperature, let’s go over the ideal sauna humidity that will enhance your experience…
Humidity is important for a few main reasons. First of all, it dictates how you subjectively feel the temperature inside the sauna. Secondly, it affects the effects the sauna will have on your body. Sweating is without a doubt one of the most desired effects. With a high-humidity, though, you won’t be able to sweat as much, as your skin won’t be able to excrete water out in the air. The lower the humidity, the more you will sweat and the better you will tolerate the temperatures inside the sauna. This is why it is always good to start off by pouring some water over the stones and then let the humidity drop. That way you raise your body temperature and then start sweating once the humidity drops.
For traditional dry saunas, go for 5-10%. If you pour water over the rocks on the heater you can easily raise the humidity levels to 40-50%. That will create a sudden sensation of the sauna getting much hotter. Basically, by controlling the humidity of the sauna you essentially control the sense of temperature.
Steam saunas, as I mentioned earlier, have extremely high humidity levels. This is why it is important to control their temperatures. If they get too hot you risk overheating inside the sauna, which can have a lot of negative effects.
If you want to enhance your sauna experience and make your stay worthwhile, click here to read on some of my best tips on the topic!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is too much sauna bad for you?
Too much sauna isn’t that dangerous, especially if you take the correct measures to counteract the downsides. Still, major dehydration is one of the worst side effects of frequent sauna or steam room usage. To prevent that, make sure you rehydrate yourself both before and after each sauna session.
Does a sauna raise your body temperature?
Saunas raise your skin’s temperature very fast relative to your core body temperature. While your core temperature struggles to increase by 4-5 degrees (Fahrenheit), your skin temperature can increase by more than 40 degrees!
Which is better – a sauna or steam room?
They are both good for their respective tasks. Saunas a good place to meditate while you enjoy the hot and dry experience. Infrared saunas have a lot of health benefits without the extremely high temperatures. Steam rooms, on the other hand, are very beneficial for your airways and are a great way to relief seasonal flu and allergy symptoms.
To learn more about this topic, I suggest checking out my article on saunas vs steam rooms!
Finding the best sauna temperature and humidity for your sauna depends on two major things – the type of sauna and your personal preferences. Traditional saunas work best when they operate at temperatures around 160 degrees Fahrenheit. You can control how hot that feels by altering the air humidity by pouring water on the stones. Infrared saunas have the same dry air but operate at lower temperatures, typically around 120 degrees.