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The Sisterhood of Sauna: Sauna and Female Health

The Sisterhood of Sauna: Sauna and Female Health

The Sisterhood of Sauna: Sauna and Female Health

By Abigail Mote (Co-Founder Burn Saunas)

For centuries sauna has been a safe heaven for woman in communities, babies were born in the sauna, postpartum and menopause the sauna has been a place seen for its medical power and sense of female community. In past societies, the sauna, Hammam or any other name was the only places woman could gather outside of the home. Read more on worldwide Sauna Traditions in my article linked here Worldwide Heat Therapy. Powerful and pillar, sauna is very important for the female body. 

(Photo credit of the film: Smoke Sauna Sisterhood) 

Sauna aids in depression, sauna had been shown to raise basil body temperature and by heating up the body, depression lightens and can remedy (O’kelly 2023). Susanna Soeberg, an accredited thermal culture researcher out of Denmark reports in “a double blind randomized controlled trail, IL-6 levels were markedly increased with the core body temperature being elevated”.  The participants with the highest IL-6 Levels had the lowest depression one week later. Multiple studies have shown sauna promotes relaxation, lowers depression and most importantly lowers inflammation. In regards to postpartum depression, some areas of the world like Finland, believe Sauna is good for postpartum and while breastfeeding: yet, this is less common to be thought of as “good” in the United States. Very little research has been done to determine safety, however dehydration is always a consideration for sauna.

However, the biggest break through for female health and reason to sauna, comes from an article in Womans Health Magazines, titled “Scientist may have found the ancient answer to why woman get more Auto-immune Diseases” (Wingfield 2024). Four out of five auto-immune diagnoses is a woman, researchers from Stanford found that a molecule called the Xist (pronounced like exist) might be responsible for triggering a defensive immune response in females, where the immune system attacks healthy cells. Specifically, Autoimmune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis occur when the body starts attacking its own proteins. Sauna is excellent at boosting Heat Shock Proteins and therefor aiding in treating these diseases. Heat shock proteins play a major role in preventing protein mis-folding and aggregation, “both under normal conditions and under the influence of stresses that typically increase the concentrations of improperly folded proteins” (Vabulas et al.). Meaning, by increasing heat shock proteins, we are optimizing protein cell structure in hope the body calms the immune response as there is no longer a “coding” issue occurring. Inducing a fever state also kills off weak cells quickly, allowing the body to focus on healing. This is a process known as autophagy, by which a cell breaks down and destroys old, damaged, or abnormal proteins and other substances in its cytoplasm (the fluid inside a cell) ( The breakdown promotes stem cells and repairing damaged DNA. Cellular repair is a key factor to why, we as humans must Sauna! 

Sweat can also play a role in libido, again researchers of the University of Stanford found that when male underarm sweat was applied on the upper lip of woman, there was improvement in  the woman's mood. Also noted was the affect on secretion of the luteinizing hormone, which is involved with ovulation. Many woman report aid with hot flashes during menopause with sauna and a balance of hormones. Sauna is far more than beautiful skin and weight loss.  Though hard to individualize what benefits a woman might receive from sauna use specifically, no matter what age or stage of life she is experiencing, sauna very easily could be her refuge. 

Works Cited Definition of Autophagy

O’Kelly, E., Astikainen, M., & Aaland, M. (2023). Sauna: The power of deep heat. Welbeck Balance. 

Soeburg, Susanna. Sauna and the Effects on Depression. Instagram. September 4, 2023.

University of California -Berkeley. “Male Sweat Boosts Woman’s Hormone Levels.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 February 2007.<>.

Vabulas RM, Raychaudhuri S, Hayer-Hartl M, Hartl FU. Protein folding in the cytoplasm and the heat shock response. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2010 Dec;2(12):a004390. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a004390. PMID: 21123396; PMCID: PMC2982175.,concentrations%20of%20improperly%20folded%20proteins.

Wingfield, Sydney. (2024). Scientists May Have Found The Ancient Answer To Why Women Get More Autoimmune Diseases. Womans Health Magazine. Published Feb 7, 2024. Accessed 3/2/2024.