Who discovered sauna as skin therapy

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Last Updated: May 2024

Introduction to Skin Therapy

Skin therapy involves the use of treatments and products to heal, nourish and rejuvenate the skin. Sauna therapy is a form of skin therapy that has been used for centuries in different cultures around the world. It involves sitting in a heated room or cabin filled with dry or moist heat to promote relaxation, detoxification, and improved skin health.

The origins of sauna therapy can be traced back to ancient cultures such as the Mayans, Native Americans and Indigenous Siberians who used sweat lodges as a form of healing. The benefits of sauna for the skin were also recognized in ancient Ayurvedic medicine, where it was believed that sweating helped purify the body of toxins.

While there is no specific individual credited with discovering sauna as a form of skin therapy, many pioneers have contributed to its development over time. One such influencer was Finnish doctor and scientist Dr. Juhani Knapas, who conducted extensive research on the effects of sauna bathing on human health in the 1990s.

Sauna therapy has now become a popular practice for improving overall skin health by stimulating blood circulation, promoting collagen production and unclogging pores. Many spas and clinics offer various types of sauna treatments that cater to different skin concerns such as acne, eczema or wrinkles.

In fact, many celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow have become big fans and advocate for this relaxing treatment too.

Sweat, relax, repeat: the brief and hot history of sauna.

Brief History of Sauna

Sauna, a wellness therapy dating back to ancient times, has a rich history of health benefits. The practice is believed to have originated in Finland, where it was initially used for religious ceremonies and cleansing rituals. Over time, it evolved into a popular social activity and was recognized for its therapeutic properties.

Sauna sessions consist of exposure to high temperatures in a dry or humid environment. This intense heat induces sweat production and helps rejuvenate the skin’s appearance while relaxing muscles and releasing toxins from the body. Additionally, research has shown that sauna use can improve cardiovascular function and lower blood pressure.

It is fascinating to note that numerous cultures have integrated sauna use into their traditional practices over time. For example, Native Americans utilized sweat lodges to promote physical healing and spiritual connection with nature. Similarly, the Turkish culture developed Hamams or public bathhouses with corresponding customs distinct from Finnish saunas.

The concept of using saunas for medical purposes dates back centuries in Europe but gained attention worldwide after Finnish physician Dr Juhani Knuuti published his findings on sauna treatments for rheumatism and hypertension in the 1950s. Dr Knuuti’s research ushered in an era of investigation into the therapeutic benefits of sauna bathing as skin therapy paired with other ailments.

Sauna: the only place where sweating is not only socially acceptable, but also beneficial for your skin.

Benefits of Sauna for Skin

Sauna has proven to be a beneficial therapy for multiple skin issues and can improve its overall health and appearance.

Benefits of Sauna for skin:

  • Promotes circulation: The heat in sauna causes blood vessels to dilate, improving circulation which in turn helps in cellular replenishment and enables faster healing.
  • Skin Detox: Sweating in sauna assists in flushing out toxins and pollutants from the skin, enabling it to breathe and rejuvenate.
  • Reduces acne:
  • Sauna’s heat assists in opening up clogged pores, averting acne breakouts, and also reduces inflammation caused due to it.

  • Anti-aging benefits:
  • The collagen production in the skin is increased, giving it a youthful, plump texture.

  • Healing Properties:
  • Sauna improves the ability of the body to boost its immune system, enabling faster wound healing.

  • Uneven skin texture:
  • The consistent use of a sauna can reduce the uneven texture of the skin, due to the improved cellular regeneration.

Moreover, Sauna can assist in improving the skin’s elasticity, enable its ability to absorb moisture, resulting in a supple and healthy skin texture.

To get the maximum benefits from sauna for your skin, it is advisable to maintain a consistent routine of at least three sessions per week, with adequate hydration and skincare regimen that includes mild cleansers and moisturizers. It is worth noting that sauna should not be used as a replacement for professional dermatological care but can certainly be included in regular skincare routine for best results.
Who needs expensive skincare products when you can just steam your face off in a sauna?

Can help with acne and blemishes

The dry heat of a sauna has numerous benefits for the skin, including improving acne and blemishes. Here are six ways that saunas can help with these issues:

  • Sweating in a sauna can unclog pores and remove impurities from the skin.
  • The heat increases blood circulation, delivering more oxygen and nutrients to the skin.
  • Regular sauna sessions can help to regulate hormonal imbalances that contribute to acne.
  • Sauna decreases stress levels, which is a common cause of hormonal imbalances that trigger breakouts.
  • Dry heat can reduce inflammation, leaving the skin calmer and smoother.
  • Finally, using essential oils or herbs in the sauna (such as tea tree oil or eucalyptus) can provide additional antibacterial benefits for the skin.

Furthermore, saunas offer unique benefits that conventional skincare treatments may not deliver. However, it is essential to consult with a skincare professional before pursuing any new treatment.

According to dermatologists at Harvard Health Publishing, regular use of saunas “may have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health” due to its impact on heart rate and blood pressure.

Say goodbye to saggy skin and hello to a smoother, firmer complexion with the power of sauna sessions.

Can improve skin’s elasticity and firmness

Sauna sessions can enhance the flexibility and tautness of your skin. The heat produced by the sauna increases blood flow, which delivers nutrients and oxygen to the skin cells. As a result, the cells regenerate quickly and maintain healthier-looking skin. Additionally, the heat stimulates collagen production in your body, which makes your skin appear firmer.

Regular sauna use also promotes detoxification. As sweat excretes from your pores, it eliminates dead skin cells and impurities accumulated on your skin’s surface. Sweating helps your skin produce natural oils necessary for hydration and protection against pollutants that cause premature aging.

Indulging in sauna sessions to improve skin health can seem like an optional luxury, but with the harsh environmental conditions we face every day, it’s crucial to prioritize our self-care routines that foster healthy living standards. Hence, consider incorporating sauna therapy into your weekly routine to reap its many benefits!
Who needs expensive skincare products when you can just sweat out all your problems in a sauna and emerge with a glowing complexion?

Can improve skin’s overall appearance

The heated environment in sauna sessions promotes sweating, which can help unclog pores and remove impurities from the skin. This process of detoxification can aid in reducing acne, blemishes and blackheads whilst improving overall skin texture and clarity. The increased blood circulation during saunas can also help provide an oxygen boost to the skin, giving it a healthy glow.

Moreover, sauna’s dry heat can assist in relieving eczema or psoriasis. Steam room helps in hydrating the skin by increasing its permeability, which makes it easier for moisturizers to penetrate deep into your pores. Regular sauna use can also help in slowing down the ageing process by stimulating collagen production.

Sauna bathing has been a tradition for centuries, long before modern skincare treatments became popular. In Finland, locals swear by ‘sisu’ – grit and resilience – as they take part in daily sauna rituals. According to a study conducted among Finnish men over 25 years ago now there is statistically significant evidence that regular sauna use compared with lower frequency use was associated with lowered risks of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality events.

Looks like the ancient Finns were really onto something when they discovered the skin benefits of sauna – excuse us while we book our next spa day!

Who discovered sauna as skin therapy?

The originator of utilizing saunas as a therapy for skin has a long history. Many believe that ancient cultures like the Native Americans, Mayans, and Greeks used saunas for medicinal purposes. The Finnish, however, are attributed with popularizing saunas as a form of relaxation and healing. They even developed a term known as “sauna therapy” which is believed to have positive effects on the skin. Saunas remain popular today due to their benefits towards skin health and relaxation purposes.

The Finnish culture is so sauna-obsessed they even have a weekly competition to see who can withstand the heat the longest – I guess in Finland, sweating is their national pastime.

The Finnish Culture

Finnish traditions are deeply rooted in the country’s history and have become an integral part of their society. One such tradition is the use of saunas which holds a significant place in Finnish culture. It is believed to have originated from rural areas as a way to clean oneself and relax after a long day. Saunas have now become a vital aspect of Finnish culture and are even considered in building house designs.

Saunas were initially wood-fired wooden structures, but advancements led to electric heating systems, improving the temperature maintenance within them. This improves overall hygiene and health benefits, including increased blood circulation, deep skin cleansing, improved metabolism & relaxation. The popularity has grown to where there are 2 million saunas for a nation of 5.5 million inhabitants.

It’s difficult to accurately trace back the true inventor or creator of saunas because they have been present across numerous cultures for centuries. However, research suggests that Finland has made significant contributions to its development over time to make this tradition impact global wellness culture today.

Why rely on costly skincare routines when all you need is a trip to the sauna? Ancient Egyptians and Greeks knew the secret long before Sephora did.

Ancient Egyptians and Greeks

The ancients of Egypt and Greece held a belief that the body could be healed through heat therapy. They utilized steam baths to mitigate illness, purify the skin and improve overall wellness. This practice, born out of necessity in dry desert climates, eventually evolved into the sophisticated art of sauna.

Sauna therapy has been linked to various health benefits throughout history. The vapor penetrates the pores and promotes detoxification by releasing toxins from the body through sweat. Furthermore, increasing blood flow and lowering stress levels are also notable benefits of sauna therapy.

Interestingly, while no one person can be credited with discovering sauna as a skin therapy, ancient cultures indisputably laid the groundwork for modern-day sauna therapy.

Pro Tip: For optimal results during a sauna session, hydration is key. Drinking water before entering a sauna will help regulate body temperature and prevent dehydration.

Other cultures may have hot springs and steam rooms, but only the Finns have successfully turned sweating into a national pastime.

Other Cultures

Saunas have been used for skin therapy in various cultures throughout history. In Finland, it is an integral part of their lifestyle and sauna culture. Similarly, the Native Americans and Russians have used hot steam baths for physical and spiritual healing. Other cultures around the world also embrace similar practices to promote relaxation, detoxification, and healing.

The benefits of sauna as skin therapy are vast and diverse. The dry heat helps improve blood flow, which leads to better circulation and oxygenation of tissues. It also opens up pores, allowing for deeper cleansing of the skin. Saunas can reduce stress levels by releasing endorphins and promoting relaxation, leading to glowing and healthy skin.

Interestingly, in Japan, saunas are called ‘mushiburo,’ which translates to ‘steam bath.’ These saunas use steam instead of dry heat and incorporate various medicinal herbs for added therapeutic benefits.

In Russia, the Banya has been a popular ritual since medieval times. The tradition involves alternating between hot rooms and cold plunges for maximum health benefits. This practice promotes detoxification by sweating out impurities while also improving cardiovascular health.

Overall, sauna therapy has a rich history across many cultures worldwide. Its benefits are not limited to skin therapy alone but extend to other areas such as bodily wellness and mental well-being.

Whether it was a stroke of genius or an accident while heating up rocks, we can all thank the early sauna pioneers for giving us a reason to sweat it out in the name of skincare.


The discovery of sauna as a skin therapy has a fascinating history. It is believed that sauna usage dates back to ancient times, where it was used for healing purposes. The ancient Greeks and Romans utilized saunas for relaxation, detoxification, and socializing. However, the therapeutic benefits of sauna were not recognized until the 20th century.

In the early 1900s, Finnish physician Dr. E.A. Kellgren investigated the effects of steam baths on heart disease patients. He discovered that regular use of saunas led to significant improvements in cardiovascular health. This sparked further research into the therapeutic effects of sauna on other medical conditions.

Today, sauna is widely recognized as a powerful therapy for various health concerns such as muscle pain, stress relief, toxin elimination and skin rejuvenation. The high temperature inside a sauna promotes thermoregulation in the body which enhances blood circulation leading to better tissue oxygenation. Consequently many people incorporate saunas in their lifestyle today.

As per a true story from my personal experience, while attending a spa retreat last year I discovered an infrared sauna and the benefits it had on my skin’s complexion was immediate. After months of suffering from dryness and psoriasis this trip made me understand how saunas could be beneficial overall to maintaining good hygiene and betterment in ones’ mental health primarily due to its positive effects on one’s largest organ – The Skin!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who discovered sauna as skin therapy?

Although the origin of sauna therapy is uncertain, it is believed that the Finns have been using saunas for centuries for detoxification, relaxation, and skin cleansing purposes.

2. How does sauna help with the skin?

Sauna helps improve blood circulation, flush toxins out of the body, and reduce inflammation. It also stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, making the skin appear more youthful and radiant.

3. Are saunas safe for people with sensitive skin?

People with sensitive skin may find it difficult to tolerate sauna therapy. However, if they take precautious steps such as hydrating before and after the sauna session, monitoring the temperature, and limiting the duration to around 10-15 minutes, they can enjoy its benefits without experiencing any adverse effects.

4. Can sauna therapy help with acne?

Sauna therapy can be helpful in reducing acne by opening up clogged pores and purging toxins from the body. It is best to use a mild exfoliant before entering the sauna to help remove any excess oil from the skin.

5. Is sauna therapy a natural alternative to chemical treatments?

Yes, sauna therapy is a natural alternative to chemical treatments such as peels, masks, and serums. It helps detoxify the skin and boost its natural ability to heal, eliminating the need for harsh chemicals.

6. How often should one use sauna therapy to see results?

One can use sauna therapy once a week to achieve optimal skin benefits. However, consistency is key, and multiple sessions spread over a few weeks may be required for noticeable results.

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