Detox myth: Why sauna visits do not detoxify but promote health

Sauna visits are often associated with the purpose of purification and detoxification. Many people believe that by sweating in the sauna, they flush out toxins from their body and thus do something good for their health. But is this belief really justified?
What is meant by purification and detoxification?
© nyul/

What is meant by purification and detoxification?

The idea of purification and detoxification is based on the notion that so-called “slags” accumulate in the body – residues of metabolic products and harmful substances – which are said to be responsible for various health problems. Detox mythology states that these slags can be flushed from the body through methods such as sauna visits.

The detoxification mythology and its spread

The idea of detoxification has spread over time, especially through wellness and detox trends. Many products and treatments are marketed with the promise of ridding the body of waste and improving health, but the scientific basis for this is lacking.

Critical review: do “slags” even exist in the body?

The idea that waste products accumulate in the body and poison it is scientifically untenable. The human body has highly developed organs such as the liver and kidneys that are responsible for detoxification and naturally eliminate metabolic products and harmful substances.

The physiological effects of a sauna visit

Visiting the sauna leads to an increase in body temperature, which in turn stimulates perspiration. As a result, the pores of the skin open and sweat is released. This process has various effects on the body.

Why do we sweat in the sauna?

Sweating in the sauna is a natural reaction of the body to regulate body temperature. The loss of sweat allows the body to release excess heat, resulting in cooling.

The effect on the circulatory and immune systems

Sauna visits can have a short-term effect on the circulatory system, as the heat causes blood vessels to dilate and blood pressure to drop temporarily. After the sauna session, the vessels contract again and blood pressure returns to normal. This change acts like a workout for the cardiovascular system. In addition, the brief increase in body temperature activates the immune system, which can potentially strengthen the immune defenses.

The real detox heroes: Liver and kidneys

Detoxification of the body is a complex process performed mainly by the liver and kidneys. The liver filters harmful substances from the blood and converts them into less harmful or excretable substances. The kidneys filter waste substances from the blood and ensure their excretion through the urine.

Detoxification processes in the body

The liver and kidneys work continuously to eliminate metabolic waste, pollutants and excess substances. This process is essential for maintaining healthy body function.

Why the sauna cannot replace the detoxification organs

Sweating in the sauna may eliminate very small amounts of waste, but it is not enough to replace the important function of the liver and kidneys in detoxifying the body. A healthy diet and adequate hydration are much more effective ways to support the body’s detoxification functions.

Stress relief and relaxation

Sauna visits have a calming effect on the body and promote relaxation. The warmth and calm atmosphere of the sauna can relieve stress and increase overall well-being.

Promoting blood circulation and the cardiovascular system

The dilation of blood vessels during a sauna visit improves blood circulation, which in turn optimizes the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. This effect has a positive impact on the cardiovascular system.

Strengthening the immune system

The short-term increase in body temperature during a sauna visit activates the immune system and strengthens the body’s defenses, which can lead to an improved immune response.

Improvement of skin texture

Sweating in the sauna opens the pores of the skin and contributes to a more thorough cleansing of the skin. This improves skin texture and results in a fresh, glowing complexion.

The right sauna temperature and length of stay

To get the most out of the health benefits of saunas and minimize potential risks, make sure you choose the right sauna temperature and length of stay. In most saunas, a temperature of 80 to 100 degrees Celsius is recommended. The length of stay should be between 8 and 15 minutes, depending on individual tolerance. Beginners and people with health restrictions should first get used to shorter durations of stay and increase them slowly.

Hydration during the sauna session

Sweating in the sauna leads to increased fluid loss, so it is important to drink enough water before and after the sauna session. Dehydration can lead to dizziness, headaches, and other unpleasant symptoms. Avoid alcoholic beverages before or during sauna use, as alcohol can increase dehydration.

Who should avoid sauna visits?

Although sauna visits are safe for most people, there are certain groups of people who should avoid them or consult their doctor beforehand. These include people with acute inflammation or open wounds. People with fever or acute infections should also refrain from visiting the sauna.

Sauna as part of a holistic health concept

Sauna visits should be considered as part of a holistic health concept. A balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep and abstaining from harmful habits such as smoking are also important factors for good health. Sauna visits offer a positive addition to this by reducing stress, promoting relaxation and enhancing well-being.


The idea of detoxification and purification through sauna visits is a myth. Our bodies already have effective detoxification organs such as the liver and kidneys. Nevertheless, sauna visits offer many benefits such as stress relief, improved circulation and a strengthened immune system. The key is to use the sauna responsibly, choose the right temperature and duration, and drink enough fluids. Sauna visits are part of a holistic approach to health that enhances our well-being.


Did you like the article? We would be delighted if you shared it and helped us to make our sauna magazine accessible to a wider audience, to inspire even more people with the beneficial properties of the sauna.