Can using a sauna aid weight loss? Understanding the science

Can using a sauna aid weight loss? Understanding the science

In the ever-evolving landscape of weight loss strategies, people are continually seeking new ways to shed those stubborn pounds and achieve their fitness goals. From low-carb diets to detox cleanses and protein shakes, the options seem endless. 

One trend, though, that is gaining traction in the health space might seem unconventional. More and more people are using sauna therapy to complement and accelerate their weight loss. 

But can using a sauna really help you lose weight? The answer: Maybe.

During a sauna session, your body is subjected to elevated temperatures. And your body will react to that heat — you’ll sweat, your heart rate will increase, and your cardio system activates. 

These physiological reactions might not directly lead to weight loss. However, regular sauna use provides myriad benefits that can support you along your health journey — whether it’s losing weight, improving your fitness, or leading a more balanced life.

Infrared sauna basics

Are you ready to sweat it out? A sauna is a small room or space for just that purpose — sweating it out. Saunas are commonly found in fitness centers, spas, and wellness centers. However, there are at-home sauna options like Michael Phelps Sweaty GOAT Saunas by Master Spas that make it convenient to make sauna bathing a regular part of your wellness routine.

Whether it’s using a dry heat or infrared technology, saunas are designed to deliberately expose you to heat. Traditional saunas heat the air around you, while infrared saunas use infrared light to directly warm the body. 

Sweaty GOAT Saunas are a premium infrared sauna, and it has a temperature range of 80 degrees to 150 degrees. The infrared waves penetrate the skin to give you a warming sensation. You’ll feel it first on your skin but then in your muscles and then tissues throughout your body.

As your body (and core temperature) heats up, you are going to sweat. But your body will do more than that, too. Your heart rate will increase and your blood vessels will dilate. Benefits of infrared sauna use include accelerated muscle recovery, better skin, and stress relief. Sauna sessions can also be a sort of detox — helping remove heavy metals and toxins from your body.

But infrared sauna fans also claim that beyond the evidence-based benefits that it can also help with weight loss.

Benefits of saunas for weight loss 

Saunas have been used for millennia, incorporated into cultural and social traditions. People have used saunas for medicinal purposes, community bonding, and for pure relaxation. 

But as time has passed, more and more people have integrated sauna into their wellness routine. It helps with recovery, muscle soreness, and overall cardiovascular health. 

And for some advocates, sauna has another effect —on the scale. They propose that the elevated temperature in the sauna induces sweating, leading to calorie expenditure and, consequently, weight loss. 

Water weight loss

One of the immediate effects of using a sauna is water weight loss. When you spend time in a sauna, your body sweats — a lot — to regulate its temperature. This significant sweating leads to fluid loss. And that fluid loss will be reflected on the scale. 

Researchers found that four 10-minute sauna sessions, with a 5-minute break in between, resulted in body mass loss. The people whose body weight was within a normal range lost less. However, some people lost as much as 2.3 percent of their body weight.

But before you get too excited, fluid loss in a sauna is not a path to permanent weight loss. Once you grab your water battle or 40-ounce tumbler and begin to drink up, the “weight” comes back.

Calorie burn and metabolism

A good workout will help you break a sweat and burn some calories. But you don’t have to hit the treadmill or jump into a CrossFit class to get in the good workout.

One study shows that a sauna session can have a physiological response that’s similar to exercise. Your heart rate will increase, as will your blood pressure. And that might have an indirect effect on your metabolic rate. 

However, keep in mind that this added calorie burn probably won’t replace what you have on your training plan. 

Growth hormone and saunas

For many people on a fitness journey, whether it’s to lose weight or change their body composition, lean muscle is the goal. The more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn throughout the day. With each added pound of lean muscle mass, your body will burn an additional 50 calories. The more lean muscle mass, the more efficient your body is at converting food into fuel.  

But what does that have to do with using a sauna? 

Sauna sessions trigger the release of stress hormones, prompting the pituitary gland — a small gland situated at the base of the brain—to generate and release human growth hormone.  HGH, as it's known, has a critical role in your body’s ability to repair cells and metabolism. It can also help you build muscle and break down fat. 

In fact, scientists have found that certain sauna protocols can significantly increase the production of HGH — up to 16 fold. 

Detoxification and health benefits

Sweating is a natural mechanism that helps remove toxins and other impurities from the body. But  most of us don't sweat enough during a typical workout to flush out these impurities. 

But a Sweaty GOAT sauna session can help you sweat. Like, really sweat. And that sweating can help your body detox — aka get rid of  heavy metals like lead, zinc, copper, nickel, and mercury, which can be absorbed through dietary sources or environmental exposure.

While detox is a trendy term when it comes to weight loss, this type of detox can help you flush your lymphatic system. It can also assist your body in working more efficiently, including improving your body's ability to burn fat. Burning fat equals more energy. When you have more energy, you are more motivated to work out. And working out is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, whether your goal is to lose weight or elevate your quality of life.

Considerations for safe sauna use

In the pursuit of holistic wellness, the age-old tradition of using saunas has emerged as a popular and effective method for relaxation, detoxification, and overall health improvement. While the benefits of sauna use are well-documented, it's crucial to approach these heated havens with care and mindfulness. In this guide, we'll explore the art of safely using saunas to maximize their positive impact on your well-being.

Stay hydrated

One of the key aspects of safe sauna use is maintaining adequate hydration. The heat in saunas can lead to increased sweating, and it's essential to replenish lost fluids by drinking water before, during, and after your sauna session. 

Know your limits

Sauna temperatures can vary, and it's important to know your limits. Start with shorter sessions at lower temperatures, gradually increasing both duration and heat as your body acclimates. An advantage of infrared saunas is that you can see the benefits at a lower temperature. Still, prolonged exposure to high temperatures can lead to dehydration, overheating, and discomfort.

Consult with a doctor 

Before starting a sauna routine, especially if you have underlying health concerns, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional. If you have certain conditions, such as cardiovascular issues or respiratory disorders, you might need to adjust your sauna protocol or, in some cases, restrict usage.

Saunas offer numerous benefits, from detoxification to improved cardiovascular health but they work best as part of a holistic wellness routine. If your goal is to lose weight, it’s important to incorporate sauna use with regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep.

Choosing the best infrared sauna

Do you want to enjoy the benefits of sauna therapy without having to book an appointment at a spa or share space at a gym? Having a Michael Phelps Sweaty GOAT Sauna allows you to realize the benefits of sauna therapy. You can click here to find out more about the benefits of incorporating a Michael Phelps Sweaty GOAT sauna into your routine. Rejuvenate your wellness routine today!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Please consult with a healthcare professional before implementing any new practices or making changes to your diet or healthcare routine.