NYT: Saunas Are Filling Up, but Are They Actually Good for You?

Man opens the door and enters the sauna. Back view.

Saunas Are Filling Up, but Are They Actually Good for You?

New York Times

Published Jan. 27, 2023. Updated Feb. 7, 2023.




Dani Blum


Saunas are witnessing a revival, with long-run establishments seeing increased patronage and new businesses opening across North America. Historically, various cultures, from Native Americans to Scandinavians, have integrated saunas into their traditions. With the resurgence, many companies are marketing saunas with promises of health benefits, including detoxification, heart health, and even a metabolism boost. However, researchers advise caution. Notable studies from Finland hint at potential cardiovascular benefits linked to regular sauna use, suggesting that the heart’s response to heat might resemble mild exercise. Yet, claims about detoxification and immunity boost are less substantiated. Dr. Earric Lee, who has researched the health effects of saunas, points out that they don’t equate to a workout and warns against believing all sauna-related health claims. While some studies show enhanced cardiovascular benefits when saunas are used post-exercise, the overall long-term advantages of sauna use remain uncertain. Without comprehensive research, it’s challenging to separate the accurate health claims from the exaggerated ones.

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