Facts and fables about sauna

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1997 Mar 15;813:654-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1997.tb51764.x.


In summary, sauna baths are well tolerated and pose no risk to healthy people from infancy to old age, including healthy women in their uncomplicated pregnancy. The normal sauna bath, with moderate cool-off phases, increases the cardiac work load about as much as a brisk walk. It has been well established that the sauna bath, no matter what the cool-off type, does not pose any circulatory risk to healthy people. Cardiovascular patients with essential hypertension, coronary heart disease or past myocardial infarction, who are stable and relatively asymptomatic in their everyday life may also take sauna baths without undue risk. As a rule of thumb, if a person can walk into a sauna, he or she can walk out of it. Misuse and abuse of the sauna are another matter.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Body Temperature
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena
  • Female
  • Hormones / physiology
  • Humans
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Respiratory Physiological Phenomena
  • Steam Bath* / adverse effects
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance


  • Hormones