Unveiling the Truth: Can Sauna Trigger Migraines?

Migraines are intense headaches that can be debilitating and affect your daily life. Many things can trigger a migraine, such as stress, hormonal changes, and diet. However, some people believe that heat exposure, such as in a sauna, can also lead to a migraine.

In this article, we will explore the relationship between sauna use and migraines. We will examine the evidence to discover if sauna use can, in fact, trigger migraines, or if it is just a myth.

We will also look at the potential benefits of sauna use and if these benefits outweigh any risks associated with sauna use for people who have a history of migraines. We will also provide tips on how to safely use a sauna if you are prone to migraines.

So, let’s dive in and see if there is any truth to the belief that sauna use can trigger migraines.

The Science Behind Sauna

Sauna is a traditional Finnish practice that involves sitting in a heated room, typically between 70-100°C, to induce sweating and relaxation. Sauna has been used for centuries as a social and cultural ritual, but more recently, scientific studies have explored its potential health benefits.

One of the main effects of sauna is increased circulation throughout the body, which can help to reduce inflammation and improve overall cardiovascular health. Heat exposure also triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood boosters.

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Additionally, sauna has been shown to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels. Spending time in a sauna can help to lower cortisol levels, which is a hormone that is released in response to stress.

Overall, the science behind sauna suggests that it can provide numerous physical and mental health benefits. However, it is important to note that sauna may not be suitable for everyone, particularly those with certain medical conditions. It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any new wellness practices.

Migraine Triggers and Symptoms

Common Migraine Triggers

  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Changes in hormones
  • Weather changes
  • Strong smells or perfumes
  • Bright or flashing lights
  • Certain foods and drinks (ex. chocolate, cheese, alcohol, caffeine)

Migraine Symptoms

Migraines can cause a range of symptoms, including:

  • Intense headaches, usually on one side of the head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, or smells
  • Blurred vision or other visual disturbances
  • Tingling or numbness in the face or other parts of the body
  • Difficulty speaking, confusion, or other cognitive problems

People who experience migraines often find that their symptoms worsen during an attack, and may last for hours or even days. Speak to your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms regularly, as they may be able to prescribe medications or other treatments to help manage your migraines.

Can Sauna Cause Migraines?

There is a belief that exposure to high temperatures can trigger migraines in some people. Sauna, a type of hot therapy that involves sitting in a small room with high temperatures, is one of the practices that is often associated with migraine attacks.

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However, the scientific evidence on this topic is not conclusive. While some studies suggest that sauna can indeed increase the risk of migraines, others argue that it may have no significant effect or even help alleviate migraine symptoms.

One theory is that the heat and dehydration that sauna can cause may trigger migraines in people who are already prone to them. Additionally, the sudden changes in temperature between the hot sauna and the cooler outside air may also contribute to migraine onset.

It is important to note that not everyone who uses sauna will experience migraines or headaches. Additionally, there are ways to reduce the risks, such as staying hydrated and avoiding sudden temperature changes. As with any medical condition, it is best to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for your specific needs.

Preventing Migraines in Sauna

While sauna can trigger migraines in some people, there are ways to prevent it. Here are some tips:

  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the sauna session to stay hydrated.
  • Limit the time: Avoid spending too much time in the sauna. Start with short sessions of 5-10 minutes and gradually increase the duration, if tolerated.
  • Avoid alcohol: Alcohol can dehydrate the body and trigger migraines. Avoid alcoholic drinks before and after the sauna.
  • Avoid strong scents: Strong scents like perfumes, colognes, or essential oils can trigger migraines in some people. Avoid using or exposing yourself to strong scents before and after the sauna.
  • Take breaks: If you feel dizzy or uncomfortable during the sauna, take a break and step outside to cool down.
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By following these tips, you can enjoy the health benefits of sauna without triggering migraines.

Conclusion: Sauna and Migraines – What You Need to Know

Can Sauna Triggers Migraines?

Based on the studies conducted, there is no conclusive evidence suggesting that sauna can trigger migraines. However, it is still important to take necessary precautions especially if you are prone to migraines. Always listen to your body and if you feel uncomfortable or experience any symptoms of a migraine, it is best to avoid sauna sessions.

Other Factors that Can Trigger Migraines

Migraines can be triggered by various factors such as stress, lack of sleep, certain foods, and hormonal changes. It is important to identify what triggers your migraines so you can avoid them as much as possible.

Benefits of Sauna

Despite the lack of evidence suggesting sauna triggers migraines, it is important to note that sauna has several health benefits. It can improve circulation, detoxify the body, relieve muscle tension, and enhance relaxation. Just make sure to consult your doctor first before trying it, especially if you have a medical condition.


There is no need to be afraid of sauna if you are prone to migraines. Just make sure to take necessary precautions and listen to your body. If you experience any symptoms of a migraine, it is best to avoid sauna sessions for the meantime. Lastly, if you have any medical conditions, always consult your doctor before trying sauna or any other activities that may affect your health.

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