The Ayurvedic Guide to Saunas

The ancient science of Ayurvedic medicine teaches us that detoxification, relaxation, and energy generated from an infrared sauna can help us achieve balance of the mind and body and connect with the infinite power of nature. 

Sweat therapies have been used throughout Ayurveda for thousands of years, and with the development of infrared saunas in recent times, Ayurvedic principles of sweat therapies demonstrate that it can not only improve our physical health but expand our spiritual experience of life.

Just as the mind and body are interconnected, so are the benefits of sweating therapy, infrared sauna and the ancient science of Ayurvedic medicine.

The knowledge of Ayurveda teaches how to align to the infinite power of nature to live a long and healthy life with maximum fulfilment, abundance and freedom.

The detoxifying, relaxing and energy generating wellness technology of an infrared sauna can help you achieve this balance.

A sauna's potential to influence blood circulation, lymphatic drainage, the mind and brain, expand consciousness and provide a spiritual experience enhances the mind-body connection of the sweating human.

Ayurveda, known as the “Mother of Medicines”, has been using various sweating therapies, including “hot rooms” like sauna, for over 5,000 years, not only for physical health, but also, (just like other indigenous traditions), for spiritual deepening.

Infrared v. Normal Sauna:

The most important point of difference of an infrared sauna vs. traditional saunas is that the warmth doesn’t arrive via air temperature, but instead acts as a heat wave entering your internal molecular structure. As an example, we can imagine lying on a beach. When you lie on a beach, you feel the sun’s warmth externally on your skin and are warmed from the outside in. An infrared sauna works from the inside out, more comparable to actions that result in sweating, such as exercise. When infrared waves hit an object, they create a vibration throughout the molecule causing the object to heat up. These vibrations can shake up the fat cells, encouraging the toxicity stored within them to be released. 

We recommend FoundSpace infrared saunas, some of the highest quality saunas on the market which are low EMF and crafted with the finest materials.

In Ayurveda detoxification procedures known as PanchaKarma and Sveda, (which is where the English word sweat comes from), heat is used to loosen up and melt toxins from the fibres within the body, and then expel them out.

Benefits of Infrared Saunas: 

  1. Detox: Eliminate What Your Body Doesn’t Need

While Ayurveda recommends a clean diet and lifestyle, it is still almost impossible in today’s day and age to fully avoid toxins. 

By using infrared saunas, you not only sweat out a lot of these toxins like heavy-metals, (which are mainly excreted out through the sweat), but saunas can also help your digestive and lymphatic systems move unwanted waste out of the body.

  1.   Improve and Regulate Energy Levels

Improved digestion means improved nutrient absorption, which then translates to better energy levels. Using an infrared sauna can provide the same energising benefits as a good night’s sleep.

As the heat penetrates deep into the body, circulation is improved, which can boost energy levels via haemoglobin-rich oxygen. This enhances our overall prana, which means “life-force,” meaning infrared saunas can rejuvenate cellular energy to increase zest and love for life.

  1.   Cleanse the Skin

Our skin is our largest organ, and as a barrier between your inner body and the outside world, it needs to be looked after. Infrared saunas work to cleanse the skin by dilating pores to assist in washing out any unwanted substances, promote elasticity, and smooth texture. The process of using an infrared sauna increases collagen in the skin and pushes it to the surface, therefore increasing your glow.

  1.   Release Muscle Tension and Enhance Musculo-Skeletal Structure

Tight muscles will find the application of moist heat to be extremely beneficial. When combined with Ayurvedic Self Oil Massage, it can also relieve symptoms of stress and tension in your body, as well as being extremely relaxing.

When the two are done together, this will help allow a deep sense of relaxation, loosen muscles, open up potential nerve obstructions and help dissolve tension. 

The Ayurvedic Guide to Having a Sauna 

  1.   Ayurvedic Self Oil Massage (Abhyanga) before Sweating Therapy (Svedana)

Before you get in the sauna, apply oil to your whole body and do an Ayurvedic self-oil massage (abhyanga). We recommend putting a towel down in your sauna if you do this to avoid oil staining the wood of your sauna, (but don’t worry, wooden surfaces love oil).

Not only can Ayurvedic self-massage be relaxing and relieve tension, it can also amplify the detoxification benefits when followed by a sweating therapy like an infrared sauna, and it is a classic and intimate wellness detoxification duo in Ayurvedic medicine.

The self-massage stimulates the deeper tissues and helps “dig out” trapped toxins. The sauna then flushes out the toxins via the sweat pores. Sweat is one of the three main waste products in Ayurveda.

  1.   Staying hydrated with quality water

Of course, as we sweat and release unwanted toxins, it is vital that you replenish your water stores with high quality water. As you flush out the toxins, replacing what fluid has been lost with high quality water will not only increase your hydration levels post sauna but also replenish lost electrolytes. Boil local spring water and sip at a hot temperature after boiling. Filtered + restructured water is also great, try to avoid tap water where you can. 

  1.   Protection: Keep Head and Vital Organs Cool

The head, including eyes, should be kept cool. In Ayurveda, some saunas or steam rooms have a hole on the top to stick the head out while the body heats up. Otherwise, a cool towel is wrapped around the head before going into a hot room. This protects the central nervous system, brain, and sensory organs from damage or degeneration.

Other heat-sensitive areas include the groin, scrotum, and heart, which can be kept cool by covering  it with a cool towel, water, or cooling herbs or flowers.1

  1.   Don’t Over Do It

If you are getting excessively thirsty or weak, feel like you are going to faint or do faint, or exhibit giddiness, fever, skin irritation, nausea or vomiting, you may be overdoing saunas. Make sure you exit the sauna if you feel any of these effects and don’t push yourself too hard. 

  1.   Shower Post Sauna

As we’ve flushed out the toxins and sweat away the stress, it’s important to finally wash all the toxins off your skin so as to not let them absorb back in. Always shower after using a sauna or other sweat therapy. 

Special Considerations:  

  1.   Your body type: 

Each person has a unique elemental makeup of their mind and body, known as doṣa or dosha in Ayurveda. The benefits of using infrared saunas will differ in relation to your mind-body type. The simple way to self-assess this is to ponder whether you are a “hot” or “cold” body type.

“Cold” body types get cold easily, love the heat, may have “cold digestion,” which translates to constipation or excess mucus in the body, and excess water accumulation. They can be prone to experiencing “cold” mental states like depression and feeling unmotivated.

“Hot” body types feel hot easily, may have inflamed skin, heat in the gut presenting as IBS, ulcers, or loose and/or hot stools. They are “hot-headed,” experiencing anger, frustration, irritability, or jealousy more easily than “cold” types. Saunas for the “hot” body types need to be proceeded with caution.

It is best to consult with a quality ayurvedic practitioner to properly assess your body type or dosha, rather than self-assessing.

  1.   Contraindications

Svedana, sudation or sweating therapy, should be avoided by the following people:

  • Those with excess dryness in the body
  • Those with wounds
  • Those who are very thin or emaciated
  • Those suffering from certain diseases, such as blindness, herpes, skin diseases, tuberculosis, gout, and anaemia
  • Those who are heavily exhausted, angry, fearful
  • Those who are on a full stomach (Leave the blood flow in your gut to digest your meal. A sauna will move all the blood to the periphery and jeopardise digestion.)
  • Those who are very hungry or thirsty
  • Pregnant women
  • Menstruating women (Leave the blood flow to go downward, not for heat to make it rise and travel upwards.)

*Note: mild sudation therapy can be given to these people in emergencies.3


  1.   Astanga Samgraha of Vaghata, Sūtra Sthana, Sveda Vidhi Adhyāya, ch 26, 17-18
  2.   Astanga Samgraha of Vaghata, Sūtra Sthana, Sveda Vidhi Adhyāya, ch 26, 20-21
  3.   Astanga Samgraha of Vaghata, Sūtra Sthana, Sveda Vidhi Adhyāya, ch 26, 25-28a
  4.   Astanga Samgraha of Vaghata, Sūtra Sthana, Sveda Vidhi Adhyāya, ch 26, 33
  5.   Astanga Samgraha of Vaghata, Sūtra Sthana, Sveda Vidhi Adhyāya, ch 26, 28-31