Cooling down after a sauna session: What’s the point?

There are many different ways to cool down after a sauna session, but almost all involve cold water. For example, the Finns go out after the sauna and roll in the cold snow. In Russia, ice bathing after sauna is very popular. But the cooling down afterwards does not have to be as extreme as in these countries.
An important part of sauna: cooling down afterwards

An important part of sauna: cooling down afterward

To perfectly complete a relaxing sauna session for the body, you should cool down immediately after the sauna. This is necessary to bring the body, heated by the sauna, back to a normal temperature. Even though cooling down is an overcoming for many sauna-goers at the first moment, it is usually perceived as very beneficial and ensures that the human body can strengthen its defenses.

Cooling down after the sauna – the body must first get used to it

Even though a cold stimulus after a sauna visit is very healthy, the body must first get used to it. In order for this to succeed, you should cool down regularly after taking a sauna. Since cooling down also involves a certain amount of exertion for the body, it is important to check with a doctor that there are no problems with blood pressure, since cold water applications in particular are challenging for the body.

If everything is okay, you should start slowly and carefully accustom your body to the cold. Very challenging forms of cooling down after saunas, such as the bucket pour, where you stand under a bucket of cold water before dumping it out, are only useful once your body has some experience with various cooling down rituals.

Fresh air baths – the ideal way to start getting the body used to cold temperatures

A tried and tested method of cooling down after a visit to the sauna is the so-called fresh air bath, in which you go out into the fresh air as scantily clad as possible. Although this procedure can be very challenging, especially in winter, it is also suitable for sauna beginners. Cooling down in the fresh air is very good for the body and provides a very pleasant freshness after a short time.

Cold water applications – the next step on the way to perfect cooling down

A very quick and effective way to cool down after a visit to the sauna is contact with cold water, which can be done in many ways. The most common is the use of a cold water shower. But other methods of cooling down after a sauna session are also popular and widespread. Mainly in Finland, the motherland of sauna, it is traditionally common to refresh oneself, if possible after the sauna visit, in a bathing lake. Likewise, rubbing oneself with snow is a popular way to cool down when taking a sauna somewhere where there is snow outside.

Refreshing with cold water is pleasant – but how do you do it right?

If you’re just getting your first experience with cold water showers, you should still take it easy. Ideally, you should let the cold water flow over a large area of your body, as this has a better cooling effect. In order not to strain the body from the outset, it is advisable to let the cold water flow over the arms and legs first, before approaching such sensitive regions as the chest. Later, when you have more experience in dealing with a cold stimulus, you can put caution to the back of your mind.

However, it is important not to use a sharp jet of water, as this will only irritate the skin unnecessarily. If a cold water shower with a hose is used, it should be avoided at the beginning of the shower to wet the heart region with cold water. It is healthier to approach the cold water jet from the outside of the body and only expose the area around the heart to the cold water at the end.

Circulation training for advanced users

Especially if you sauna regularly, you will quickly get used to cooling down after sweating. It is very important to let the body cool down after the sauna session. The body heats up in the sauna and urgently needs refreshment afterward. The relaxing feeling you experience after a sauna session only comes from the skillful interaction of heating and cooling the body. So don’t skip this step!

For experienced sauna-goers, there are a number of different ways to effectively cool the body after a sauna visit. For example, jumping into a plunge pool of ice-cold water is a popular way to cool down. But a Kneipp shower or the use of a surge shower also have their appeal and ensure that the body cools down after the sauna session and a feeling of well-being sets in that is absolutely unique.


David Brunner