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Recover Faster: How To Use The Sauna To Feel Better

Updated: Feb 24

If you are new to recovery protocols, you might know how beneficial a sauna session can be to help you recover. But if you don't or are new to saunas, you can find different ways to use the sauna to help you recover faster.

From pre-performance to injury prevention, below are 4 different sauna protocols you can test for yourself. This article is based on an original article by Ian Middleton about Restoration and Recuperation from the sauna with changes based on my personal experience.

Woman smiling in a sauna wearing a towel wrap as she touches her left shoulder and enjoys the heat.

Sauna Protocols To Test For Yourself

  1. Reduce Muscle Soreness - 1x Per Week 6-10 Minutes In The Sauna, repeat 2-3x Alternate with 60 second cold shower after each sauna session Finish with the cold shower

  2. Rehab Muscle Pain - 1x Per Week 10 Minutes In The Sauna, repeat 2-3x Self Massage your body after each sauna session Take a 3-5 minute warm shower after each massage

  3. Pre-Competition - 4-5 Days Before Comp 10 Minutes In The Sauna, repeat 2x Alternate with rest outside the sauna for 5 minutes Finish with a cool shower for 30-40 seconds, then warm 1-3 minutes

  4. Pre-Season - 1-2x Per Week 10 Minutes In the sauna, repeat 2-3x Alternate with a warm shower for 20 minutes


Sauna Protocols Optimal Conditions

  • Saunas are not advisable for anything with respiratory conditions

  • Temperature should not exceed 90 degrees

  • Humidity should be around 5-15%

  • Athlete should wait at minimum 1-2 hours after exercise to use the sauna

  • It is essential to wash the body with soap and water and dry off before entering the sauna for thermal regulation

  • Start on the lower benches for 2-3 minutes, then slowly make your way up to the top.

  • On the higher benches, it is advised to lay down, or sit with the legs extended.

  • In the last 2-3 minutes, go back down to the lower bench and sit before getting up to leave.

  • End sauna session with a 30-40 minute rest, and drink mineral water or vitaminized drinks to replace the electrolytes lost in the sauna.


You now have the information. Try, test, and evaluate for yourself. Happy Recovery!

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