Saunas for Diabetes Management: Balancing Blood Sugar Levels Naturally

Timothy Munene Timothy Munene
Saunas for Diabetes Management: Balancing Blood Sugar Levels Naturally

Researchers have discovered that saunas can help people manage a raft of medical conditions, such as diabetes. While the connection between diabetes and the sauna requires more research, early findings suggest that sauna bathing can positively influence diabetes management. This explains the rising interest in sauna therapy and its probable health benefits for people with diabetes.

Are you considering saunas for diabetes management but want to learn about their benefits and potential risks for people with diabetes? Find out the details in this article. But first, what is diabetes?

Understanding Diabetes and its Types

Also known as diabetes mellitus, this is a metabolic condition denoted by the inability to regulate blood glucose levels. There are numerous sub-categories of diabetes, such as gestational and maturity-onset diabetes. However, type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the two primary subtypes. 

·       Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune state caused by insufficient insulin production by the pancreas. People with this type of diabetes require daily insulin administration. Unlike type 1 diabetes, its type 2 counterpart is not triggered by an autoimmune response. As a result, it can be managed by oral medication and lifestyle changes.

·       Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes prevents the body from utilizing insulin appropriately, which results in increased blood sugar levels. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can remarkably influence people’s lives, possibly resulting in severe complications such as kidney failure and heart disease.

It’s worth noting that type 2 diabetes is treatable and preventable. What’s more, some studies suggest that more than 90% of people live with this type of diabetes. In this guide, we’ll deliberate about the connection between diabetes and saunas. 

Diabetes and the Use of Saunas

Whether you choose an infrared or traditional sauna, both units demonstrate significant potential for diabetes management benefits, such as promoting cardiovascular health and regulating blood sugar.

However, due to their reduced temperature and operational approach, infrared saunas may be more appropriate for people with diabetes because they struggle to tolerate severe heat. Early findings reveal that visiting the sauna can enhance insulin sensitivity, enabling your body to use insulin more efficiently. 

Why People with Diabetes Should Use the Sauna

So, how can people with type 2 diabetes use infrared and traditional saunas to manage their condition? Let’s first discover the science behind diabetes and the use of sauna. 

Upon using the sauna, your body temperature will rise. This causes the body to react in various ways, including heat shock protein activation and blood vessel dilation to cool itself. Blood vessel activation occurs as the body attempts to break down heat by enlarging the blood vessels, improving blood circulation.

Heat shock protein activation occurs due to the heat shock, which triggers the body to change its internal processes. How do these changes impact your overall health?

·       Enhancing Insulin Sensitivity

Heat shock proteins are vital in maintaining several cellular processes, such as insulin signaling. Activation of these proteins triggers insulin receptors on the cell surface, making them more responsive to the proteins. So, saunas can directly influence insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes.

Enhanced insulin sensitivity is vital because it promotes better glucose intake, fighting one of the core complications of type 2 diabetes. Again, improved blood circulation after having a sauna session also boosts glucose intake. With the blood vessels dilating, transporting glucose across the body becomes easier and more effective. 

·       Increased Insulin Absorption

Having regular sauna sessions enables the body to absorb insulin faster after an injection in people with type 1 diabetes. This results from enhanced circulation and blood vessel dilation, meaning type 1 diabetes patients could reduce their daily insulin dose. 

·       Lowering Blood Sugar Levels

Heat shock protein activation has been known to lower blood glucose levels in people with diabetes. Getting a sauna treatment works in the same way as exercising. Just like exercising, a sauna session can lower blood glucose levels drastically, which can negatively impact people with type 1 diabetes.

As a result, it is advisable to limit your sauna sessions and take appropriate precautions before and after using the sauna. Studies suggest that using the sauna regularly can be crucial for preventing hyperglycemia in the long term, therefore providing a valuable diabetes management tool. 

·       Relieve the Symptoms of Diabetes Complications

Diabetes can cause various complications which can affect your quality of life. Getting regular sauna sessions can help reduce the symptoms of the following complications.


Neuropathy is one of the common diabetes-related complications. It’s characterized by immense nerve damage. Nearly 50% of people with diabetes experience some form of this complication. According to previous studies, sauna therapy can be critical in reducing neuropathic pain, resulting in improved mobility and increased comfort. 

Poor Healing

Often, diabetes weakens your body’s ability to heal injuries and wounds. Previous studies suggest that sauna bathing can speed up wound healing while reducing inflammation. As a result, sauna therapy can be ideal for improving wound healing for people with diabetes. 

Reduced Blood Circulation to the Extremities

Saunas can improve blood flow, which is ideal for people with diabetes. The far-infrared sauna is more effective for circulation in the feet. 

Cardiovascular Side-Effects

Diabetes can negatively impact your cardiovascular function, increasing the risk of cardiac-related complications such as stroke and heart disease. By reducing blood pressure and enhancing blood circulation, saunas improve cardiovascular health, reducing the risks associated with cardiovascular issues in diabetes patients.

Promoting Relaxation

Managing diabetes can be challenging, explaining why many patients can be constantly anxious and stressed, causing adverse effects on their health. Saunas help you relax, improving your mental well-being and quality of life. 

Sauna Considerations and Safety for Diabetics

While visiting the sauna regularly has numerous health benefits, the high temperature can present various health risks. So, always consult with your health provider before adopting sauna therapy, especially if you have underlying conditions. Further, once you start your sauna sessions, make sure to do them responsibly and safely to avoid more health complications. 

Tips for Using the Sauna for Diabetes Management

Whether you have diabetes or not, you should avoid possible health risks associated with heat therapy, which include:

·       Hyperthermia

Diabetes causes adverse damage to the nerves and blood vessels, which can hinder the body’s ability to cool down. Saunas can easily result in hyperthermia, primarily when misused. People with diabetes should limit their sauna sessions. Some studies on saunas suggest that you can achieve optimal benefits from using the sauna up to seven times weekly for 20 minutes each. Still, you can reduce the duration and frequency of your sauna sessions based on your preferences. 

·       Dehydration

Hydrate well before and after your sauna session to avoid dehydration. If you have diabetes, you will likely lose water faster. Lack of sufficient water intake triggers a blood sugar spike. Be sure to drink at least one glass of water before your sauna session and two after that. 

·       Hypoglycemia

Eventually, enhanced insulin absorption and reduced blood sugar levels will boost insulin management. But saunas can accelerate these processes, resulting in hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. To reduce the risk of hypoglycemia, avoid overheating and limit the time you spend inside the sauna. If you have diabetes, here are things you should remember before using the sauna. 

  • Monitor your blood sugar levels frequently
  • Cool down gradually after leaving the sauna
  • Avoid alcohol or medicine that could spike your body temperature before your sauna session
  • Never use the sauna while sick
  • Leave the sauna immediately if you feel uncomfortable


While research on diabetes and sauna use is not yet conclusive, early findings are promising. Regular sauna use can help lower blood sugar levels, boost insulin sensitivity, and relieve diabetes-related complications. Remember to consult your healthcare provider before using the sauna in your diabetes management routine.

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