To learn about saunas and weight loss, I decided to do a bit of research.
Here's what I dug up...
Does taking a sauna burn calories?
Companies selling saunas claim that a 30 minute sauna can burn anywhere from 500 up to 1000 calories.
In Sauna Therapy for Detoxification and Healing, Dr. Wilson says that in a sauna your body doesn’t have to burn calories to generate heat. This makes sense to me because the heat is provided by an external source.
When you exercise, heat is produced within and calories are burned to fuel muscle contractions and other processes.
A fever is created by your body to fight off a virus. Heat is manufactured within your body and calories are used to support this process.
When you’re in a sauna, the activity of your internal cooling mechanisms burns calories, but the actual number of calories is probably way fewer than most of these claims.
Can taking saunas really help you lose weight?
Yep, but it’s not the kind of weight that you want to lose.
“Temporary weight loss occurs due to sweating”, says Dr. Wilson. He goes on to say that what you experience is water weight loss.
Dr. Wilson points out that some lasting weight loss can occur due to elimination of unhealthy tissue.
I doubt if that amounts to much though.
Still, there are some reasons for including a sauna as part of your weight loss strategy.
According to Dr. Wilson, here are some ways a sauna may help you lose weight:
#1 Fatty tissue often has poor circulation. Because saunas help improve circulation, regular use may assist with the break down of fat deposits.
#2 A toxic environment within your body and imbalances of your liver, adrenals, pancreas, and other organs can help cause junk food cravings.
Regular sauna use may help decrease your cravings for sweets, starches and high fat foods by doing some internal "house" cleaning.
#3 Regular sauna use can help improve the absorption of nutrients from food by removing toxic metals and chemicals.
Many times people think they’re hungry when their body is really craving nutrients.
If you absorb more of the nutrients from the food you eat, you'll be less likely to over eat.
The catch to this is you'll need to eat nutrient rich foods.
#4 Using a sauna may help improve cellular metabolic processes.
Dr. Wilson says that this can help your body burn fat more efficiently.
There is conflicting information about saunas and weight loss, but here’s the bottom line…
Your health can get a boost by using a sauna on a regular basis, but don’t count on losing weight by using one.
One of my current favorites of the "Smarter not harder" way of staying in shape is Look Great Naked at Any Age!. Highly recommended.
A sauna can fit in as a small part of your overall weight loss program, but make sure you eat right and get in 4 to 6 days of exercise every week if you want to lose serious weight.
The Sauna - sauna history, tradition and health benefits