Pre Sauna Routine: How to Prepare For a Sauna Session For an Amazing Experience

An inviting sauna interior with wooden benches and a rustic vibe, illustrating how to prepare for a sauna session.

Have you ever wondered if there’s a right way to prepare for a sauna? Or does it even matter?

Being a sauna enthusiast and having spent more than 2 decades studying saunas, I’m here to tell you, with all my experience, that by following a few simple steps and incorporating some essential practices into your pre-sauna routine, you can maximize the positive effects of your sauna session.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know to prepare your body and mind for a sauna session.

Get ready to dive in and discover the secrets to harnessing the full potential of sauna therapy.

Key Takeaways

  • Pre-sauna rituals, such as showering and hydrating, help prime your body for the sauna’s heat.
  • Understanding the importance of light snacks and avoiding alcohol and heavy meals before a sauna session can enhance your experience.
  • Selecting the right clothing and accessories ensures comfort and safety during your sauna experience.
  • Exfoliating prior to sauna use is important for hygiene.
  • Warm-up exercises and relaxation techniques can further enhance the benefits of a sauna session.
  • Setting a timer is very important to avoid risk of Overheating or dehydration.
  • Preparing your sauna beforehand won’t make it feel like a burden and enhance your overall experience.

How to Prepare for a Sauna: Preparing Yourself

This section will provide you with essential steps and tips on how to prepare for a sauna, ensuring a safe and effective experience.

1. Choosing the most appropriate time

It is crucial to consider your personal schedule and choose a time that allows you to fully relax and unwind. Whether it’s morning or evening, find a time when you have no other commitments or distractions.

2. Pre-Sauna Shower

A man rinsing off in a refreshing shower outdoors before entering the sauna, highlighting the importance of pre-sauna hygiene.

Begin your sauna preparation by taking a shower to cleanse your body. This helps remove any dirt, oils, or lotions from your skin, allowing the heat and steam to penetrate more effectively. Choose a gentle cleanser and rinse thoroughly.

If you are using a public sauna, cleaning yourself is even more important for hygiene purposes. Just imagine, with everyone sitting on the same benches in a public sauna, would you go there if you find out that people are using it without cleansing themselves?

3. Hydration: Water Intake and its Importance

Hydration plays a key role in preparing your body for a sauna session. The high temperatures in the sauna can cause you to sweat, leading to fluid loss.

Drink 16-20 oz. of water in the 1-2 hours before your sauna to prevent dehydration. By staying hydrated, you can help maintain your body’s fluid balance and prevent any potential negative effects of dehydration.

4. Pre-sauna Snacks: Choosing Nutrient-Rich Foods

Before your sauna session, opt for nutrient-rich pre-sauna snacks to fuel your body. Choose snacks that are light and easy to digest, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and yogurt.

These snacks provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support your body’s functioning during the sauna session. Consider options like sliced cucumbers, watermelon, almonds, or Greek yogurt.

A bowl of granola with strawberries, blueberries, seeds, and yogurt for a nutrient-packed light meal

5. Avoiding Alcohol and Heavy Meals

Avoid consuming alcohol before your sauna session. Alcohol can dehydrate the body and elevate the heart rate.

Avoid eating a heavy meal for 2 hours pre-sauna as heavy meals can make you uncomfortable and sluggish during the sauna session.

6. Choose Appropriate Sauna Wear and What To Avoid

When it comes to sauna attire, fabric selection is crucial.

  • Opt for fabrics that can withstand high temperatures, absorb sweat efficiently, and allow your skin to breathe.
  • Natural materials such as cotton, linen, and bamboo are excellent choices, as they are breathable, soft, and moisture-wicking.
  • These fabrics will help regulate your body temperature and keep you comfortable throughout your sauna session.

Avoid synthetic materials like polyester or nylon, as they can trap heat and cause discomfort.

7. Essential Accessories: Towels, Robes, and More

In addition to sauna attire, there are essential accessories that can enhance your sauna experience.

  • Towels are a must-have to sit on or wrap around yourself while inside the sauna.
    • Choose towels made of natural fibers like cotton, as they are soft, absorbent, and gentle on the skin.
    • Towels absorb sweat and keep the benches clean.
    • Placing a towel underneath is necessary to avoid burns on benches.
  • A robe is also beneficial for covering up between sauna sessions or before stepping out into the cooling area.
  • Consider investing in a sauna hat to protect your head from excessive heat and maintain body temperature regulation.
  • Make sure to carry a water bottle inside to keep yourself hydrated during your sauna session and prevent any risk of dehydration.
  • Other accessories like aromatic oils, birch whisks, and sauna pillows can further enhance your relaxation and comfort.

Prior to your sauna session, make sure to have all your sauna accessories ready.

Traditional sauna setup with wooden bucket, ladle, and towels, complemented by aromatic sauna whisk.

8. Footwear: To Wear or Not to Wear?

Some sauna enthusiasts prefer to go barefoot to enhance the sensory experience and feel the natural warmth of the sauna floor. Others choose to wear sandals or slippers, providing a barrier between their feet and the hot surfaces.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you and what feels comfortable. If you decide to wear footwear, ensure it is clean and made of natural materials. Remember to clean and dry your feet thoroughly before entering the sauna to maintain proper hygiene.

9. Engaging in Pre-Sauna Exercise and Relaxation Techniques

While it may not be necessary for everyone, warming up your body and preparing your mind before entering the sauna can help enhance the overall experience and maximize its health benefits.

Warm-up exercises before the sauna help increase blood flow, improve flexibility, and prepare your muscles for heat exposure. Engaging in relaxation techniques can help promote a sense of calmness and mental clarity.

A woman stretching her arms overhead by a tranquil waterfront setting, getting her body limber for a rejuvenating sauna session.

Here are a few warm-up exercises and relaxation techniques you can try before entering the sauna:

  1. Gentle stretching: Start with some simple stretching exercises focusing on areas such as the neck, shoulders, back, and legs. It can help prevent muscle strain and reduce the risk of injury during the session.
  2. Cardiovascular warm-up: Engage in light cardiovascular activities like brisk walking or cycling for a few minutes to elevate your heart rate and increase blood circulation.
  3. Yoga or Pilates: Incorporate some yoga or Pilates poses into your pre-sauna routine. These exercises can help improve flexibility, balance, and relaxation.
  4. Deep breathing: Take a few deep breaths to oxygenate your body and calm your mind before entering the sauna. This can enhance the relaxation and meditative benefits of the sauna experience.

If you have any health concerns or are unsure about which exercises to perform, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional.

10. Remove All Metal and Jewelry

Before entering the sauna, take off rings, watches, bracelets, necklaces, and other jewelry to prevent burns or discomfort from hot surfaces. Metal can get very hot, and jewelry traps heat.

11. Use The Restroom Before Entering the Sauna

It is important to empty your bladder and bowels before entering the sauna to avoid any discomfort or distractions during your session.

12. Exfoliation Prior to Sauna Use

Exfoliating your skin before entering the sauna helps remove dead skin cells and promotes better circulation. Use a gentle scrub or brush to exfoliate your body.

13. Set a Timer

To ensure you have a controlled sauna session, use a timer or stopwatch to track how much time you stay inside the sauna.

It’s easy to lose track once you’re inside, and overstaying in a sauna can result in overheating and dehydration. Limit Sauna sessions to 30 minutes or less, especially when starting out.


Preparing the Sauna

Stacked firewood neatly arranged under a wooden shelter, to be used as source of heat in a sauna.

Imagine you’ve ticked all boxes of your pre-sauna prep checklist, but just when you are about to enter the sauna, you realize the sauna’s dirty or the water bucket is empty. These additional chores will, for sure, alter your whole sauna experience.

So make sure not to just prepare yourself but also your sauna for an enjoyable, meditative, and relaxing experience.

  • Make sure the sauna is clean and ready to use.
  • Ensure the heater is working and there is no glitch in the electric supply.
  • There should be enough chopped wood to last the session if you’re using a wood-fired oven.
  • The bucket is filled with water.
  • The sauna must be pre-heated to a temperature you prefer.



By following these practical tips and steps, you can effectively prepare yourself and the sauna for an amazing sauna experience that is both relaxing and enjoyable. Let me give you a small re-cap:

  • Start by showering before your sauna session.
  • Hydrate adequately before entering the sauna.
  • Avoid alcohol and heavy meals.
  • Prepare your mind and body with warm-up exercises and relaxation techniques.
  • Wear appropriate sauna attire, and carry your own towels and all the right accessories.
  • Keep your sauna well-prepared at all times so that it doesn’t feel like a burden doing it at the end moment.
  • Additionally, setting a timer, using the restroom, removing all metal from your body, and exfoliating your skin before entering the sauna are small details that can enhance your comfort and safety during the sauna.

By embracing these sauna preparation essentials, you can create a conducive environment for a satisfying sauna experience.

FAQs about How to Prepare For a Sauna

What are the important steps to prepare for a sauna session?

Important steps to prepare for a sauna session include showering, pre-sauna hydration, using the restroom before entering the sauna, avoiding alcohol and heavy meals prior to the session, exfoliating before sauna use, and eating nutrient-rich light snacks before a sauna session.

Why is hydration important before a sauna session?

Hydration is crucial before a sauna session as it helps to regulate body temperature and prevent dehydration. Proper hydration ensures that the body can withstand the heat in the sauna and helps to maximize the benefits of the session.

What clothing should I choose for a sauna session?

When choosing clothing for a sauna session, it’s important to opt for lightweight and breathable fabrics like cotton and linen that allow sweat to evaporate easily. Avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon. It is recommended to wear a towel or robe for comfort and modesty.

What accessories should I have for a sauna session?

Choose appropriate footwear (if any), remove all jewelry and carry water inside the sauna. Make sure to carry and use a towel for hygiene and for protecting the benches and floor from sweat and dirt. You can also opt for a sauna hat and a robe. It is important to keep all your accessories ready before a sauna session.

Should I warm up before entering the sauna?

It is beneficial to warm up the body before entering the sauna. Performing warm-up exercises or gentle stretches can help to increase blood flow, loosen muscles, and prepare the body for the heat in the sauna. However, it is essential to listen to your body and avoid overexertion.

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