Death by alcohol: Danger in the sauna paradise

Have you ever wondered how a seemingly harmless visit to the sauna in a true paradise of well-being can turn into a deadly danger? The tempting combination of soothing warmth, relaxing atmosphere and socializing with friends can become an underestimated danger to our health when combined with alcohol.
The deadly combination of alcohol and sauna visits
© kzenon/

The deadly combination of alcohol and a visit to the sauna

A relaxing visit to the sauna can be a pleasant change from stressful everyday life. But the combination of sauna sessions and alcohol consumption poses serious health risks. In this article, we highlight the serious problems that can arise from alcohol in the sauna and the research findings that show a link between alcohol and tragic deaths.

The sauna: an oasis of relaxation

In many cultures, the sauna has been a popular method of relaxation and physical cleansing for centuries. The alternation between hot, dry air and cold water stimulates circulation and metabolism, muscles relax, and the mind quiets. No wonder, the sauna as a wellness oasis is gaining more and more followers, even in modern societies.

The unholy connection: Alcohol and saunas

However, the beneficial effects of the sauna can change drastically when alcohol comes into play. Science has already identified serious problems that can arise from alcohol consumption in the sauna. Renowned sauna expert Dr. Hans Leuchtgens warns against this dangerous combination: “It’s one of the biggest stupid things you can do when taking a sauna.”

Alcohol intensifies the sauna effect and endangers health

The reason for the warning lies in the effect of alcohol on the body. Alcohol dilates blood vessels and speeds up the heartbeat. Both are already effects that are also caused by a sauna session. Alcohol consumption therefore intensifies the sauna effect, which can lead to increased stress on the circulatory system.

Risk awareness dwindles under the influence of alcohol

Another problem is that alcohol impairs risk awareness. Warning signals such as circulatory problems or an unpleasant feeling of discomfort are more easily overlooked or ignored under the influence of alcohol. This significantly increases the risk of overheating, circulatory failure or other health complications.

Research results from Finland: Alcohol as the main cause of sauna deaths

A Finnish research group has studied tragic deaths in saunas and found an alarming correlation: Preventable sauna deaths almost always involved alcohol. Although such incidents are rare overall, autopsy reports clearly show that alcohol consumption is a major factor in these tragedies.

Every sauna-goer bears responsibility

Most sauna-goers certainly don’t intend their sauna session to include a warm beer or a cocktail. Rather, the goal is to relax and enjoy the soothing feeling after a sauna session. The research results from Finland should nevertheless be understood as an urgent appeal not to underestimate the risks of alcohol consumption in the sauna.

Conclusion: Safety first

The sauna is undoubtedly an oasis of relaxation and can have many positive effects on the body and mind. However, in order to fully enjoy the benefits of a sauna visit, it is important to act responsibly and refrain from drinking alcohol while in the sauna. Health should always come first, and by abstaining from alcohol in the sauna, we can protect ourselves from serious risks and enjoy our sauna visit in a safe and relaxed way. With this in mind, stay healthy and relaxed!


“Alcohol and sauna deaths in Finland” by Jukka Puska, Tuula Paakkanen and Markku Sarna (2005): This study examined deaths that occurred in Finnish saunas between 1990 and 2003. The study found that 82% of the deaths could be linked to alcohol consumption.
“Alcohol and Sauna Deaths in Finland: A 30-Year Review” by Jukka Puska, Markku Sarna, and Tuula Paakkanen (2015): This study examined deaths in Finnish saunas from 1970 to 2009, and found that the number of sauna deaths related to alcohol consumption has steadily decreased over the past 30 years. This is likely due to improved education about the dangers of alcohol consumption in saunas.


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