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I have recently been made aware that in the USA, at least to obtain UL (Underwriters Laboratory) certification, a sauna heater must not heat above 194 °F. Further that the sauna temperature sensor controlling the heater much be located above the heater – not, for example, on the opposite side of the sauna enclosure.

The studies that validated the use of traditional saunas for health benefits would all have been done at “temperatures typically between 70 and 100 °C (158 and 212 °F)” – which is the normal air temperature of a sauna in Finland, right? The quoted text is from Wikipedia.

If so we may be fooling ourselves into thinking we can get those benefits via a sauna we might frequent in the USA.

The sauna I use reaches 140-150 °F across the main sauna bench when it is cranked up to its maximum 194 °F. It could be that the higher European temperatures are unnecessary, but given that those are the temps at which the validation studies were conducted, I have no basis for thinking lower temps would be effective.

BTW, it looks like that even obtaining the actual UL code book for this would run > $700, so I can’t say for sure whether UL even requires this of sauna heaters. If you would like to purchase a copy and let us know, please visit this URL: https://www.shopulstandards.com/ProductDetail.aspx?productId=UL875_9_B_20090521(ULStandards2)

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    Good question. I am wondering the same about IR saunas since they operate at a lower temp.

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      I have a FAR IR sauna. I have measured the surface temperature of the IR panels with an IR thermometer and when it is above 140F recorded at the ceiling, the top of the panel can reach 200F. So the source of heat a couple of inches from the body can easily be 160 to 180F. And we are talking IR which can penetrate well into body tissue. My resting heart rate runs about 55 to 57. At the end of a session I have a heart rate of between 85 and 95. When I first started using the sauna my heart rate reached 100. I’m thinking FAR IR is doing the job. Bought and installed the sauna in Jan this year. I have lost as much as 1kg in one 40 minute session. I am more than 6ft tall and weigh approx. 175Lb, not particularly overweight. Also am 80 years old.

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        Is there any research to confirm what minimum Sauna temp is generally required for this to occur?
        Exposure to high temperature stresses the body, eliciting a rapid, robust response. The skin and core body temperatures increase markedly, and sweating ensues. The skin heats first, rising to 40°C (104°F), and then changes in core body temperature occur, rising slowly from 37°C (98.6°F, or normal) to 38°C (100.4°F) and then rapidly increasing to 39°C (102.2°F). ?