Infrared Sauna: Do I Have To Sweat? + My Best Sauna Tips


If you follow me on Instagram, you know how much I love my infrared sauna. It’s a part of my everyday routines, and one of my top choices for biohacking tools. 

A question I get a lot about saunas is, “Do I need to sweat to get the benefits of a sauna?” I get it; when you think of a sauna, you think of getting extremely hot and sweaty. But there’s more to it than elevated body temperatures, particularly when it comes to an infrared sauna. I thought I’d explain a little more for anyone wondering about this concern. 


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Can You Detox Without Sweating?

You expect to sweat when you sit in a sauna. When you step out of a session, you might find you’re barely breaking a sweat, let alone that you’re drenched in it like you might have envisioned. It can happen even if the sauna is at a high heat setting. Is it still beneficial to you? 

The answer is yes, absolutely! 

Infrared Vs. Traditional Sauna

In an infrared sauna, it can take some time to sweat. Unlike in a traditional sauna, where the body responds to humidity and hot air, your body won’t sweat immediately in the infrared version. 


The infrared wavelengths are absorbed into your body, raising your core body temperature from within. All the while, you’re breaking down toxins and inducing a sweat response, which takes time. That’s because of bio-individuality. The time it takes for you to sweat, and the amount you sweat, will vary depending on your body’s level of adaptation to heat.

Often, the sweat glands begin to excrete more during a session between 30 and 40 minutes. This creates a more enjoyable experience of a productive sweat, not just sitting in stifling-hot heat, feeling uncomfortable, and not getting the full benefits like an infrared sauna would provide. 

The Dehydration Factor

If you find that you’re not sweating much at all despite having tried the infrared sauna a few times, then you might want to look at your water intake. Though most people know to get about half their body weight in ounces per day, you might need more if you are out in warmer temperatures, or if you exercise. Both of those will mean you need to add to your level of water intake. 

To those concerned that dehydration may play a factor, I’d say this: try to increase your water intake a little, and see if it makes a difference in your body’s ability to sweat during a sauna session. 

If you still aren’t sweating, then I would caution you that your sympathetic nervous system might be overactive, or you might have gene variants and other issues that can mean you have some nervous system dysfunction going on. It’s an issue I commonly see in my patients, and we work together to improve vagal nerve tone, and then they're able to begin to sweat again. 

My Best Tips For A Great Sauna Session

If you’re interested in trying out an infrared sauna, I have some tips for you to get started and maximize your benefits. 

1. Step It Up Little By Little

You’ll want to get your body accustomed to the infrared sauna, so start slowly. 10-15 minutes should do for your initial sessions, and only do so every other day. Gradually, keep increasing until you’re doing daily sessions of 40 minutes each in the optimal temperature range. 

2. Listen To Your Unique Needs

Be sure to listen to your body, and be aware of whether you think it’s time to stop, reduce the temperature, or space your sessions out. Everyone’s needs are different, so continually check in with how you’re feeling. The symptoms that will warn you that you need to stop include nausea, fatigue, or anything that feels like the flu. 

3. Find The Right Temperature

Your sauna should be preheated to 100°F. The optimal experience occurs between 100°F and 130°F. One reason I love my Sunlighten mPulse® 3 in 1® sauna is because it has a detoxification program that combines far- and mid-infrared. That means you start at a high intensity to increase your core temperature more quickly, and then reduce to a lower, comfortable level. 

4. Dry Off And Keep The Benefits Going

Though most people would jump in a cold shower after a sauna, I don’t recommend that. Dry yourself off with a towel and continue to cool off naturally. That allows you to still burn calories and get the full benefits of your sauna session. It’s a good idea to drink a glass of cool water to make sure you hydrate properly, and then just continue on with your day. 

Try Infrared Sauna At A Huge Discount

I get a lot of questions from people asking which type of sauna I recommend. The one I have in my home is the Sunlighten mPulse 3 in 1 sauna. Right now, they’re offering a significant discount if you purchase through my link and use the code DrWillCole at checkout

Ready to get these benefits of infrared sauna, and more? 

  • Lower inflammation
  • More energy
  • Better detoxification
  • Enhanced muscle recovery
  • Pain relief
  • Greater immunity
  • And more,

Then you should definitely check out the discount Sunlighten is offering you. Learn more about their mPulse sauna today! 

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Dr. Will Cole, DNM, IFMCP, DC is a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the globe, starting one of the first functional medicine telehealth centers in the world. Named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation, Dr. Will Cole provides a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. He is the host of the popular The Art Of Being Well podcast and the New York Times bestselling author of Intuitive Fasting, Ketotarian, The Inflammation Spectrum and the brand new book Gut Feelings: Healing the Shame-Fueled Relationship Between What You Eat and How You Feel.

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Gut Feelings

Healing The Shame-Fueled Relationship
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