Choosing Between Saunas vs Cold Showers

Alison Macdonald Alison Macdonald
Choosing Between Saunas vs Cold Showers

Saunas and cold showers are two different but popular ways to refresh the body and senses. Each method has its own perks, and different people like each one for different reasons. Let's dig deeper into Saunas vs Cold Showers.

Cold Showers vs Sauna – Which Is Better?

If you want to know which is better—a sauna or a cold shower—it depends on your goals. When deciding between a cold shower and a sauna, the benefits should be taken into account. Both are hard on the body and put it through stressful conditions.

To put it simply, we like to use cold showers and saunas interchangeably. However, we tend to use them at different times of the day and depending on the exercise we've done and want to heal from, as well as when we need to do it again.

Let's look at this in more detail.

When To Use a Cold Shower ?

cold shower

As a morning routine, cold showers are great, and they have also been shown to be good for using before working out.

There are a few important things to think about when choosing whether to use a cold shower or a sauna as a way to recover. One important thing to think about is the type of training or exercise you have done and the goals of that exercise. In the same way, it's important to know if you want your body to change after your workout or practice or if you need to do something right after your last workout.

For example, if you just finished a strength-based workout and your goal is to make your muscles bigger, you might want to think twice about taking a cold shower within 4 hours of that workout. This is because the cold will slow down the inflammatory process that is needed for growth to happen.

Athletes often take cold showers when they want to perform again, maybe the next day or the day after that. This means that performance, not adaptation, is the goal. People who have a lot of races or physical events in a week might find that taking cold showers in between helps reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling.

People of all ages can take cold showers. In fact, a lot of people do cold exposure more for the mental health benefits. In fact, if you want to replace coffee, taking a cold shower every day is a great idea. 

When you do a cold plunge, your focus, energy, and attention all get a big boost because adrenaline and noradrenaline flood your body. Hormones like serotonin and dopamine also have very positive and long-lasting effects on your mood.

You can find some of the best cold therapies at Sun Home Saunas Cold Plunges.

When To Use A Sauna ?


Saunas are known to have many health benefits, and knowing when to use them will get the most out of them. After working out is a great time to relax in the sauna.

The heat helps to loosen up muscles, ease pain, and speed up the healing process. Using a sauna after working out also helps the body's natural cleansing process that starts when you sweat during the workout.

One more good time to use a sauna is when it's cold outside. Being in the sauna in the winter feels nice because of the heat, which helps you rest and feel better overall. This is a great way to stay warm and fight the winter blues.

Saunas vs Cold showers



Cold Showers

Temperature Exposure

Involves exposure to high temperatures.

Involves exposure to cold or cool water.


Typically, dry heat, using steam or infrared.

Uses water, either cold or cool.

Blood Circulation

Promotes vasodilation, increasing blood flow.

May induce vasoconstriction, reducing blood flow to the skin surface.


Enhances relaxation, stress relief, and muscle recovery.

Can invigorate and improve alertness, potentially aiding in post-exercise recovery.


Induces sweating, aiding in detoxification.

May stimulate lymphatic drainage, supporting detoxification.

Impact on Skin

Promotes sweating, potentially improving skin health.

Cold showers can tighten pores, reducing the risk of acne and promoting skin firmness.

Mental Well-being

Known for its calming and meditative effects.

Can provide an energizing and refreshing feeling.

Respiratory Benefits

May have positive effects on respiratory health.

Cold showers may help with breathing by providing a sense of increased airflow.


Typically, sessions are longer.

Generally, cold showers are shorter in duration.


It usually comes down to personal choice and health goals whether to use a sauna or a cold shower. Saunas may be the best choice if you want to unwind, heal your muscles, and find a peaceful space to meditate.

On the other hand, people who want to wake up feeling energized, improve their circulation, and possibly boost their immune system may prefer taking a cold shower. 

Some people even do both as part of their habits, switching between heat and cold for a more complete approach to health. In the end, the choice comes down to personal comfort, desired results, and the energizing feeling one wants.

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