Should you use the sauna before or after a massage?

Sauna and massage both come with several health benefits but is it a good idea to combine them both in one day? Is it better to use the sauna first and then have a massage? Or, is it more beneficial to have a massage first followed by the sauna? This article will answer these questions so that you can get the most benefit out of your sauna and massage pampering.


Can I have a massage and sauna on the same day?

Yes, you absolutely can have a massage and sauna on the same day. It’s a matter of personal preference and there is no evidence to suggest any harmful effects from combining the two treatments.

In fact, these two can complement each other, offering a more comprehensive relaxation experience. Both treatments will help your body relax but they do that in different ways.

The sauna will help your whole body relax due to its heat and massage will relax your body by decreasing stress hormones and loosening tight muscles through touch.

Should you do a sauna before or after the massage?

It’s generally recommended to use the sauna before the massage. This recommendation is based on the input of many massage therapists who believe that a sauna helps prepare muscles for massage therapy.

The Science Behind the Sauna

In more scientific terms, both dry and steam saunas warm up the body, leading to muscle relaxation. This warmth induces vasodilation – the widening of blood vessels – that enhances blood flow.

This improved blood flow can help eliminate toxins from your body and transport oxygen and nutrients to your tissues more efficiently.

Therefore, when a sauna session precedes a massage, it sets up conditions for a more thorough massage. With warmed, loosened muscles, the massage therapist can work more deeply without causing you discomfort.

Recovery Time and Hydration

Remember, though, that after a massage, your body needs time to relax and re-adjust. Going from a massage directly into a sauna can potentially increase your heart rate and blood pressure, which could cause some discomfort.

However, using the sauna first can help your body gradually acclimatize to the heat, preparing you for the more intense relaxation and treatment of a massage. After the sauna, your body will be ready for a slower pace, making the massage more effective and enjoyable.

Don’t forget to stay hydrated! The heat from the sauna can cause you to sweat a lot, which can lead to dehydration if you don’t replenish your fluids.

Remember to drink water before, during, and after your sauna and massage sessions. Hydration can enhance the benefits of both the sauna and the massage, ensuring that your body is well-equipped to handle the treatments.

What about the infrared sauna? Is it better to have a massage before or after?

Yes, just like with traditional saunas, it is better to have a massage after an infrared sauna session. Infrared saunas heat the body from within using special infrared heaters.

Despite the lack of hot air or steam, your muscle tissues still warm up and soften in this type of sauna, which prepares them for subsequent massage therapy.

Steam sauna: before or after a massage?

A steam sauna is not much different from a dry sauna when it comes to getting your muscles ready for a massage.

Steam saunas warm up and relax muscles, relieving tension and effectively preparing your body for the subsequent massage. The warm environment promotes blood flow and loosens muscles, providing an ideal precondition for massage.

So, yes you should definitely have a steam sauna first and then the massage.

Customizing the Experience

Regardless of these general recommendations, personal preferences should be taken into consideration. Some individuals may prefer to have their massage first, and that’s perfectly fine. Listen to your body and do what feels best for you.

Importantly, if you have any underlying health conditions that could be affected by heat exposure or massage, it’s essential to consult with a health professional to ensure the combination is safe for you.

Remember, the ultimate goal of these treatments is to help you relax and de-stress. Discuss your preferences with your massage therapist and spa staff to ensure that your experience is as beneficial and enjoyable as possible.