Sauna Vs. Cold Plunge: The Benefits Of Both


Kyle Deneke

Feb 7, 2022

Using hot and cold temperatures has long been used to reduce muscle soreness (think: hot or cold compress). But why just target one small area of your body? That’s why saunas and cold plunges have become so popular: not only for fitness recovery but also for relaxing and boosting energy.

Sauna vs. Cold Plunge

While some people might prefer one method over the other, they both have many health benefits and can even be used in conjunction to maximize the benefits. Let’s look at each method and the benefits of both.

What Is A Sauna

There’s nothing better than relaxing in a sauna after a long day or after a grueling workout. These enclosed rooms use heat that not only makes you sweat but also can provide cardiovascular health benefits.


There are different types of saunas, including:


  • Infrared therapy: Uses infrared energy and is popular for personal/home use

  • Steam saunas: Uses heat from boiling water to create steam

  • Dry saunas: Uses heat sources such as hot rocks or a closed stove


People typically spend about 15-30 minutes at a time in a sauna.

The Benefits Of Saunas

There’s a reason people go to a sauna to feel relaxed, especially after a workout. There are numerous health benefits associated with visiting a sauna.


Saunas can increase your heart rate and widen your blood vessels, which increases circulation. As a result, saunas can offer fitness benefits such as reduced pain and muscle soreness. 


Saunas have also been shown to reduce stress, improve skin and help you get better sleep.


When you go to a sauna, remember to bring your water bottle. Otherwise, the increased sweating could make you dehydrated.


A sauna isn’t recommended after drinking alcohol. It’s also not recommended for people who are pregnant or people with extremely low blood pressure.

What Is A Cold Plunge

A cold plunge is exactly what it sounds like: plunging yourself into cold temperatures (such as an ice bath) immediately after a workout. Some people enjoy an icy plunge right after a sauna visit.


Time in an ice bath typically does not exceed 15 minutes.

The Benefits Of A Cold Plunge

Imagine this: it’s time to wake up, and your alarm is going off, but you can’t force yourself to wake up and start the day. But if someone came in and dumped an ice-cold bucket of water on you, then would you wake up? That’s why one of the top health benefits of cold plunge is increased energy.


Cold plunges have fitness benefits too, such as improved recovery. During your soak, your blood vessels constrict – the opposite of what happens in the sauna. Then when you step out, those vessels open back up and improve circulation.


Many people also use cold water to relieve general aches and pains.


Some say cold soaks also improve their discipline and resilience. After all, if you can jump in ice water every day, what can’t you do?

Conclusion: Both Methods Have Benefits

If you’re looking for a solution to relieve muscle pain, reduce stress, and more, maybe you should check out saunas or cold soaks – or a combination of both.

Many of the benefits are fitness-related. If you’re looking for a place to make a commitment to fitness, check out Rebellion Fitness in Birmingham, Alabama, which gives a personal training experience in a small group setting.

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