Though saunas have been used for centuries, one practice that has gained popularity in recent years is taking a cold shower immediately after a sauna session. While the idea of subjecting oneself to a cold shower may seem daunting, it is believed to enhance the sauna experience and provide additional health benefits. In this blog post, we will explore the potential advantages of taking a cold shower after a sauna and how it can contribute to your overall well-being.

What Happens When You Take a Cold Shower After Using The Sauna?

wood sauna stove

Enhanced Circulation

One of the primary benefits of alternating between hot and cold temperatures is the stimulation of blood circulation. When you expose your body to heat in the sauna, your blood vessels dilate, allowing for increased blood flow. Taking a cold shower immediately afterward causes vasoconstriction, narrowing the blood vessels and promoting efficient blood circulation. This contrast in temperatures can improve overall cardiovascular health and enhance the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to various organs and tissues.

Increased Muscle Recovery

Intense physical activity or exercise can lead to muscle soreness and inflammation. Cold showers after a sauna session (whether traditional or infrared sauna) have been shown to aid in muscle recovery by reducing inflammation and promoting faster healing. The cold temperature helps constrict blood vessels, which can reduce swelling and muscle damage caused by intense workouts. Additionally, the cold water can provide a numbing effect, alleviating any post-workout muscle soreness.

Improved Skin Health

The combination of heat from the sauna and cold water from the shower can be beneficial for your skin. The heat of the sauna opens up your pores, allowing for deep cleansing and removal of dirt, bacteria, and toxins. Following this with a cold shower helps to tighten the pores, reducing their appearance and promoting a more youthful complexion. Cold water can also improve blood circulation to the skin, resulting in a healthier glow and potentially reducing the appearance of cellulite.

Mental Stimulation and Alertness

The shock of cold water on your body after the intense heat of the sauna can provide an invigorating effect on your mind. Cold showers activate the sympathetic nervous system, leading to increased alertness and mental stimulation. This can leave you feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to take on the day. Cold showers have also been associated with mood improvement, stress reduction, and increased resilience to stressors.

Immune System Boost

Alternating between hot and cold temperatures through sauna sessions and cold showers can have positive effects on your immune system. Studies have shown that this practice can increase the production of white blood cells, which play a crucial role in defending the body against infections and diseases. Cold showers, in particular, stimulate the lymphatic system, promoting the removal of toxins and waste from the body, thereby supporting immune function.

Benefits taken from UCLA Health.


While saunas alone offer numerous benefits, incorporating a cold shower immediately after the sauna session can enhance the overall experience and provide additional advantages. From improved circulation and muscle recovery to enhanced skin health and mental stimulation, the combination of hot and cold temperatures can have a positive impact on your well-being.

However, it is important to note that everyone’s preferences and tolerance for cold showers may vary, and it is essential to listen to your body. If you have any underlying health conditions, it is advisable to consult with your healthcare professional before engaging in this practice. So, give it a try and experience the rejuvenating effects of a cold shower after your next sauna session.