Some cardiovascular and metabolic effects of repeated sauna bathing

Acta Physiol Scand. 1986 Sep;128(1):77-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-1716.1986.tb07952.x.


Ten healthy male volunteers were exposed to the dry heat of a Finnish sauna (+80 degrees C) for 1 h twice a day for a period of 7 days. After each exposure rectal temperature rose by 0.8-1.1 degrees C and body weight dropped by 0.7-0.9 kg. The systolic blood pressure recorded 3-5 min after the sauna did not change during the experiments but the diastolic blood pressure decreased by 7-37 mmHg (P less than 0.05). The pulse rate rose from 75-80 to 106-116 beats min-1 (P less than 0.05) after the sauna. The increased responses of pulse and temperature adapted to heat exposures so that they were significantly lower after the 3rd day (rectal temperature) or after 6th day (pulse). Metabolic rate increased by 25-33% (P less than 0.01) after the first day. Serum total proteins, Hb and Htc were significantly increased on the 1st and 3rd days but not later, although the dehydration in response to sauna was unchanged as judged from the weight losses. Serum K, Na and Fe were significantly decreased on the 3rd and 7th day indicating that special attention should be given to the electrolyte balance in long-lasting intense heat exposure. No ECG changes were found in recordings taken on the 7th day.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Cell Count
  • Blood Pressure
  • Blood Proteins / analysis
  • Body Temperature Regulation*
  • Electrolytes / blood
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Hematocrit
  • Hemodynamics*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Steam Bath*
  • Time Factors


  • Blood Proteins
  • Electrolytes