Sauna use and high blood pressure (EVERYTHING you need to know)

DISCLAIMER: We are NOT medical practitioners here at Sauna Squad. We are your friendly, neighborhood sauna enthusiasts with a passion for sharing knowledge. We’ll do our best to support this article with the best currently available evidence from reputable sources. But we encourage you to visit a licensed healthcare practitioner before using sauna products, especially if you have health concerns.

Does regular sauna use actually have an effect on a person’s blood pressure? It’s a pretty common question in the sauna world and something we briefly covered in the past in our infrared sauna health benefits and pros and cons of barrel saunas articles.

And long story short, yes there is solid evidence to suggest there is a correlation between regular sauna use and the lowering of a person’s blood pressure. But why does that matter?

A recent Twitter thread by fellow sauna enthusiast Dr. Rhonda Patrick touched on this and it inspired us to learn more about the topic. We love her work! It’s a huge reason why we got into the sauna life in the first place. Definitely check out her work if you haven’t already.

Dr. Rhonda Patrick sauna blood pressure tweet

Alright, before we dive into how and why sauna use is associated with lower blood pressure, let’s explore what blood pressure even is and why it’s a huge measure of your health.

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the measure of the force of blood against the walls of the arteries as it is pumped from the heart. It is typically expressed as two numbers: systolic pressure (the higher number) measures the force of blood in the arteries as the heart beats.

The other is diastolic pressure (the lower number), which measures the force of blood in the arteries as the heart relaxes between beats. The unit of measurement for blood pressure is millimeters of mercury (mmHg).

Blood pressure readings chart
Courtesy of

Why is blood pressure an important measure of health?

Blood pressure is an important measure of health because it reflects the force of blood against the walls of the arteries as it is pumped from the heart. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can put extra stress on the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure can also cause damage to the kidneys, eyes, and other organs.

We came across a crazy stat from the World Health Organization that indicates high blood pressure and the diseases caused by hypertension accounts for 12.8% of all deaths globally, which amounts to 7.5 million(!!) deaths annually. Wow.

Suffice to say that blood pressure is an EXTREMELY important indicator of one’s overall health. And an important metric for you to know about yourself.

Now that we’ve covered what blood pressure is and why it matters, let’s look at the science behind how regular sauna use can help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range.

Steamy sauna with wood panelling and a bench with window

How do saunas (infrared, steam or traditional dry) lower blood pressure?

A sauna session lowers your blood pressure because the heat from the sauna dilates your veins and arteries, allowing for better blood circulation throughout your body.

According to one study of 102 patients with at least one cardiovascular risk factor published by the National Library of Medicine took into account several factors:

The study:

  • 30-minute sauna session at 75 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Fahrenheit) in a traditional dry sauna
  • Study was conducted over a 4 week period
  • Mean age of patients was 51 years old (56% of whom were male)
  • Each had one underlying cardiovascular risk factor

The results:

The study found several statistically significant results:

  • Patients were found have reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients to healthy levels (from an average of 137 to 130 mmHg and 82 to 75 mmHg respectively)
  • Decrease in arterial stiffness among patients, indicating improved blood flow and reduced cardiovascular risk
  • Several other blood-based biomarkers also improved

It is important to note that while this is just one study, there are several others which corroborate these findings. There is strong evidence to suggest that regular sauna use, when combined with a healthy eating and exercise, is correlated with improved cardiovascular health.

Is it safe to use a sauna with high blood pressure (hypertension)?

While it is generally safe for people with high blood pressure to use a sauna, we highly recommend speaking with a licensed healthcare practitioner before doing so. 

If you do have hypertension and are considering using a sauna (no matter whether it’s a traditional Finnish (dry), infrared or steam sauna), it’s important to talk to your doctor first. Saunas are generally safe, but they can be dangerous for people with certain medical conditions.

We also want to reiterate that sauna use is NOT a suitable replacement for prescribed medication or treatment regimen.

Close up of rolled up towel on wood bench in infrared sauna

How long should you stay in a sauna to improve blood pressure?

You should stay in a sauna for at least 19 minutes at 80 degrees Celsius (176 degrees Fahrenheit). At least, according to a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension, which studied 1,621 middle-aged men living in Finland.

Typically, best results are seen from those who sauna regularly. In the study, patients who used a sauna at least 19 minutes a day, 4-7 days a week saw the highest reduction in blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease. Other blood bio-markers also improved in the study.

It’s important to note that Finns predominantly use traditional dry (Finnish) saunas, which require a higher temperature than an infrared or steam sauna. Infrared saunas tend to be between 48 and 60 degrees Celsius (118 to 140 degrees. Fahrenheit). Steam saunas tend typically to range from 43-48 degrees Celsius (110-118 degrees Fahrenheit). While each sauna type is different, they also have many of the same health benefits (read our infrared, steam and dry sauna health benefits articles for more info).

Is heat therapy good for high blood pressure (hypertension)?

Yes, there is good evidence to suggest heat therapy is good for high blood pressure. As mentioned throughout this article, we highly recommend speaking with a licensed healthcare practitioner before using sauna or other heat therapy to treat high blood pressure.

I don’t think we can say it enough: sauna use is NOT a suitable replacement for prescribed medication or treatment regimen. Sauna use should be viewed as a supplemental treatment for those healthy enough to do so.

Smiling woman sitting in wood panel traditional steam sauna with heater and coals in foreground

Are there potential risks of using a sauna with high blood pressure?

Yes, there are risks associated with sauna use for those with high blood pressure.  The excessive heat can cause strain on the body and in some cases temporarily raise a person’s blood pressure. Prolonged sauna sessions can also increase the risks of dehydration.

It is extremely important for those with cardiovascular conditions and at risk of cardiovascular disease to consult a physician or other licensed healthcare professional before considering sauna as treatment.


In conclusion, there is a large body of evidence to suggest that regular sauna use combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and lower a person’s blood pressure.  The Finns are certainly onto something!

And as we mentioned about 100 times in this article, we HIGHLY recommend that anyone with high blood pressure or other cardiovascular conditions consult a physician before considering sauna as treatment for such conditions. 

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