In Guyton's Textbook of Medical Physiology, we find that producing one gram of sweat requires 0.586 kcal. The JAMA citation referred to above goes on to state that: "A moderately conditioned person can easily sweat off 500 grams in a sauna, consuming nearly 300 kcal – the equivalent of running 2-3 miles. A heat-conditioned person can easily sweat off 600-800 kcal with no adverse effects. While the weight of the water loss can be regained by rehydration with water, the calories consumed will not be." Since some of our saunas help generate two to three times the sweat produced in a hot-air sauna, the implications for increased caloric consumption are quite impressive. Assuming a sauna session lasts for 30 minutes, some interesting comparisons may be drawn.
Our saunas can, therefore, play a pivotal role in both weight control and cardiovascular conditioning. This would be valuable for those who do not or cannot exercise yet want an effective weight control and fitness program.
Here's how many calories a 150-pound person typically burns in 30 minutes of exercise:
Vigorous Racquet Ball
Rowing (peak effort)
Swimming (crawl stroke)
Tennis (fast game)
Cycling (10 mph)
Golfing (without a cart)
Walking (3.5 mph)
Passive Cardiovascular Conditioning Effect
Our saunas make it possible for people in wheelchairs, those who are otherwise unable to exert themselves, and those who won't follow through on an exercise and conditioning program, to achieve a cardiovascular training effect. This also allows for more variety in any ongoing training program.
"Many of us who run do so to place a demand on our cardiovascular system, not to build big leg muscles. Regular use of a sauna may impart a similar stress on the cardiovascular system and with regular use may be as effective as a means of cardiovascular conditioning and burning of calories and regular exercise."
―Reported in the Journal of American Medical Association August 7, 1987
Due to the deep penetration of the infrared rays generated by the Salus Saunas saunas (inches deep into the skin), there is a heating effect deep in the muscular tissues and the internal organs. The body responds to this deep-heating effect via a hypothalamic-induced increase in both heart volume and rate. This beneficial heart stress leads to sought-after cardiovascular training and conditioning effects. Medical research confirms that the use of a sauna provides cardiovascular conditioning. As the body works to cool itself, it substantially increases the heart rate, cardiac output, and metabolic rate. As a confirmation of the validity of this form of cardiovascular conditioning, extensive research by NASA in the early 1980s led to the conclusion that infrared stimulation of cardiovascular function would be the ideal way to maintain cardiovascular conditioning in American astronauts during long space flights. Blood flow during whole-body hypothermia is reported to rise from a normal 5-7 pints per minute to as much as 13 pints per minute.
"The 1980s was the decade of high-impact aerobics classes and high-mileage training. Yet there was something elitist about the way exercise was prescribed: only a strenuous workout would do, you had to raise your heart rate to between X and Y, the only way was to 'go for the burn'. And such strictures ensured that most 'real' exercisers were relatively young and in good shape, to begin with. Many, many Americans got caught up in the fitness boom, but probably just as many fell by the wayside. As we've reported, recent research shows that you don't have to run marathons to become fit – that burning just 1,000 calories a week...is enough. Anything goes, as long as it burns the calories."
―Reported in the Wellness Letter October 1990
University of California Berkeley