How does a sauna session help with blood circulation?

How does a sauna session help with blood circulation?

Saunas have been a center point of relaxation and wellness routines for centuries, primarily in Scandinavian countries. While the heat and the calming environment are well-known perks, one of benefits of regular sauna use is its positive impact on blood circulation. 

What can happen with poor Blood Circulation? 

Poor circulation can affect your cardiovascular health, leading to high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. When blood flow is restricted, the heart has to work harder to pump blood through the vessels, which can weaken the heart over time and increase the likelihood of heart disease. Additionally, poor circulation can contribute to varicose veins, swelling in the lower extremities, and even cognitive decline due to reduced blood flow to the brain.

How Saunas Improve Blood Circulation

1. Heat-Induced Vasodilation
When you enter a sauna, the heat causes your body temperature to rise. This increase in temperature triggers vasodilation, a process where blood vessels widen, allowing more blood to flow through them. Vasodilation helps reduce blood pressure and increases oxygen delivery to tissues, enhancing overall circulation.

2. Increased Heart Rate
The heat stress from the sauna induces an increase in heart rate, similar to the effects of moderate exercise. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that heart rates of individuals in a sauna session increased from an average of 65 beats per minute to 81-96 beats per minute, which can help improve cardiovascular conditioning and blood flow.

3. Enhanced Blood Flow to the Skin
The body responds to the heat of the sauna by increasing blood flow to the skin. This process helps regulate body temperature and also brings more nutrients and oxygen to the skin, promoting healthier skin and more efficient toxin removal through sweating.


1. Improved Cardiovascular Health
A study conducted by the University of Eastern Finland found that frequent sauna use was associated with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular diseases. Men who used the sauna 4-7 times per week had a 63% lower risk of sudden cardiac death and a 50% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those who used the sauna once per week.

2. Blood Pressure Regulation
Research published in the American Journal of Hypertension reported that regular sauna sessions can help reduce blood pressure. In a study of over 1,600 participants, those who used the sauna 2-3 times per week were 24% less likely to develop hypertension than those who used it once a week.

3. Increased Blood Flow
A study from the Journal of Thermal Biology highlighted that after just one sauna session, blood flow to the skin increased by as much as 70%. This increase helps with nutrient delivery and waste removal from tissues, improving overall circulatory health.

Practical Tips for Sauna Use

To maximize the circulatory benefits of sauna use, consider the following tips:

- Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water before and after your sauna session to stay hydrated and help your body manage the heat.
- Duration: Start with shorter sessions of 10-15 minutes and gradually increase to 20-30 minutes as your body acclimates to the heat.
- Frequency: Aim for regular use, ideally 2-3 times per week, to experience the most significant benefits for blood circulation.
- Cool Down: Follow your sauna session with a cool-down period. This can include a cold shower or a few minutes of rest in a cooler environment to help your body transition back to its normal temperature.

Regular sauna use offers a range of health benefits, particularly for blood circulation. By promoting vasodilation, increasing heart rate, and enhancing blood flow to the skin, saunas can play a crucial role in maintaining cardiovascular health and overall wellness.

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