Palpitations after the sauna

A sauna session is a combination of warmth and relaxation that affects the body in many ways. One of the most noticeable phenomena is the palpitations that some people experience during or after a sauna session. But is this palpitating heartbeat a natural part of sauna bathing or an indication of possible health risks?
The physiology of saunas: effects on the heart
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The physiology of saunas: effects on the heart

In the sauna, the body is exposed to extreme temperatures, which causes a number of physiological reactions. The heartbeat accelerates to increase blood flow and regulate body temperature. This process is generally harmless and comparable to the body’s response to mild to moderate physical exertion. The dilation of the blood vessels also contributes to a temporary reduction in blood pressure, which can increase the feeling of palpitations.

Palpitations in the sauna: when should you worry?

While a slightly increased heartbeat is part of the body’s normal reaction to the sauna heat, extremely strong or irregular palpitations can be a warning sign. Especially if this feeling is accompanied by dizziness, nausea or chest pain, it should be taken seriously. In such cases, it is advisable to leave the sauna immediately and consult a doctor if symptoms persist.

Precautions and tips for heart-healthy sauna sessions

People with existing heart problems, such as cardiac arrhythmia, heart failure or after a heart attack, should be particularly careful. Saunas can pose a risk for them and should only be used after consulting a doctor. General tips for a heart-healthy sauna visit include avoiding alcohol before going to the sauna, avoiding extremely long sauna sessions and staying well hydrated.


Palpitations after a sauna session are in most cases a harmless phenomenon caused by the body’s natural reaction to the heat. However, pay attention to your body’s signals and react accordingly if you notice any irregularities or feel unwell. With the right precautions, the sauna can remain a safe and relaxing place for body and mind.

David Brunner