Jobs   News   Features   Video    Products   Magazine   Handbook   Email sign up   Advertise  
Research
Finishing touch - Heat of the moment

Why do people use saunas? A new Global Sauna Survey documenting the habits of 480 heat experience enthusiasts sheds some light

By Katie Barnes | Published in Spa Business 2019 issue 4


A growing body of scientific evidence shows that sauna sessions can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, strokes, high blood pressure, respiratory diseases and dementia. But is this what actually motivates people to sweat it out in extreme temperatures? Or are they going for other reasons? No one has ever asked. 

To find out, a team of researchers, including industry figure Marc Cohen and lead author Joy Hussain, from Australia’s RMIT University conducted the first known global study on sauna-related habits via an online survey. 

Data was gathered from 482 men and women with a mean age of 45 years, from 29 countries. A vast number came from either Finland (28.4 per cent), Australia (25.3 per cent) or the US (20.5 per cent) and this bias was noted as a study limitation, along with the fact that it was not randomised sample. 

On average, respondents experienced sauna sessions once or twice a week.

The study, published in Elsevier’s Complementary Therapies in Medicine in April, found that relaxation/stress reduction was the top motivation for sauna bathing for all respondents. Other key reasons for using a sauna were to relieve aches and pains (88 per cent), to meet and talk with friends (85 per cent), to help circulation (85 per cent) and for detox (83 per cent). 

Increased mental wellbeing was linked to those using a sauna more frequently (five to 15 times a month), compared to those who went less often. An interesting find given that spas are starting to focus on mental wellness, although further research is needed to confirm a definite association. 

Eighty-four per cent of respondents said they slept better for one to two nights after having a sauna. Another intriguing correlation as spas continue to embrace sleep health but, once again, a link that requires more scientific investigation. 

Inside the sauna, the top three activities reported were relaxation (100 per cent), talking with others (79 per cent) and meditation (68 per cent) – with the last two highlighting the need for operators to handle the balance between those who want quiet and those who don’t.  

Two wider contrasting points were brought to light from the results. Firstly, people are going to saunas to help with mental health and sleep, or, in other cases, to ease back pain and musculoskeletal problems. However, there’s no research to prove that heat experiences can actually help any of these ailments. 

On the other hand, respondents did not cite high blood pressure or heart conditions as motivators for using a sauna – despite scientific evidence showing it can help. Spas could have a role, no matter how small, in helping to educate people about these proven benefits.

Marc Cohen and Joy Hussain from RMIT University worked on the study
FEATURED SUPPLIERS

Zimmer's icelab improves overall wellbeing
The Cold Sauna, Zimmer's most advanced cryo-chamber, allows operators to offer versatile, unique and effective treatments to its customers. [more...]

13th Forum HOTelSPA unites leaders from hotel, spa and thalassotherapy
The thirteenth Forum HOTelSPA is an exclusive international event that unites leaders from the luxury hotel and spa industries with the Thalassotherapy and Thermalism sectors. [more...]
COMPANY PROFILES
Blu Spas, Inc.

Blu is a full-service firm offering consulting, advisory and operating solutions. [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  

DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

26-29 Jan 2020

Green Spa Network Congress

The Oaks, Ojai, United States
28-30 Jan 2020

Spatex 2020

Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
+ More diary  
 
ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
 
SPA BUSINESS
SPA OPPORTUNITIES
SPA BUSINESS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS
ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2020
Jobs   News   Products   Magazine
Research
Finishing touch - Heat of the moment

Why do people use saunas? A new Global Sauna Survey documenting the habits of 480 heat experience enthusiasts sheds some light

By Katie Barnes | Published in Spa Business 2019 issue 4


A growing body of scientific evidence shows that sauna sessions can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, strokes, high blood pressure, respiratory diseases and dementia. But is this what actually motivates people to sweat it out in extreme temperatures? Or are they going for other reasons? No one has ever asked. 

To find out, a team of researchers, including industry figure Marc Cohen and lead author Joy Hussain, from Australia’s RMIT University conducted the first known global study on sauna-related habits via an online survey. 

Data was gathered from 482 men and women with a mean age of 45 years, from 29 countries. A vast number came from either Finland (28.4 per cent), Australia (25.3 per cent) or the US (20.5 per cent) and this bias was noted as a study limitation, along with the fact that it was not randomised sample. 

On average, respondents experienced sauna sessions once or twice a week.

The study, published in Elsevier’s Complementary Therapies in Medicine in April, found that relaxation/stress reduction was the top motivation for sauna bathing for all respondents. Other key reasons for using a sauna were to relieve aches and pains (88 per cent), to meet and talk with friends (85 per cent), to help circulation (85 per cent) and for detox (83 per cent). 

Increased mental wellbeing was linked to those using a sauna more frequently (five to 15 times a month), compared to those who went less often. An interesting find given that spas are starting to focus on mental wellness, although further research is needed to confirm a definite association. 

Eighty-four per cent of respondents said they slept better for one to two nights after having a sauna. Another intriguing correlation as spas continue to embrace sleep health but, once again, a link that requires more scientific investigation. 

Inside the sauna, the top three activities reported were relaxation (100 per cent), talking with others (79 per cent) and meditation (68 per cent) – with the last two highlighting the need for operators to handle the balance between those who want quiet and those who don’t.  

Two wider contrasting points were brought to light from the results. Firstly, people are going to saunas to help with mental health and sleep, or, in other cases, to ease back pain and musculoskeletal problems. However, there’s no research to prove that heat experiences can actually help any of these ailments. 

On the other hand, respondents did not cite high blood pressure or heart conditions as motivators for using a sauna – despite scientific evidence showing it can help. Spas could have a role, no matter how small, in helping to educate people about these proven benefits.

Marc Cohen and Joy Hussain from RMIT University worked on the study
LATEST NEWS
Hyatt partners with Headspace for exclusive wellbeing collaboration
Hyatt Hotels has announced a collaboration with mindfulness app provider Headspace, set to roll out in the coming months at Hyatt-branded hotels.
Carden Park welcomes brand new £10m spa with Bollinger garden bar
Carden Park Hotel, Cheshire, UK, has officially launched a new spa following a £10m construction project.
Six Senses announces new wellness role for Mark Sands
Mark Sands has been promoted to VP of wellness at Six Senses.
Ensana opens €4m wellness centre in Slovakia
European health spa operator Ensana has recently opened a new luxury wellness and relaxation centre at its 5-star Thermia Palace Ensana Health Spa Hotel, on the spa island of Piešt’any, Slovakia.
Jean-Michel Gathy's Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River approaches opening
The Four Seasons (@FourSeasons) Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River is due to open early this year, with a design by Denniston founder Jean-Michel Gathy that is inspired by Thai culture and the hotel's riverfront location.
One&Only Mandarina brings treehouse luxury and private residences to Mexico
One&Only has revealed plans for a multi-billion-dollar Mexican beachfront resort called One&Only Mandarina, scheduled to open on 1 June 2020.
HOTel&SPA Forum announce 2020 event with new award
The Forum HOTel&SPA has announced details of its 2020 conference, which will be held on 4 June 2020.
Julie Keller Callaghan joins Hutchinson Consulting
Julie Keller Callaghan, the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa, has joined Hutchinson Consulting, a hospitality industry executive search and recruiting firm, as an executive recruiter and marketing and communications specialist.
OneSpaWorld and Celebrity Cruises announce exclusive partnership
Celebrity Cruises has selected health and wellness provider OneSpaWorld as the exclusive spa and wellness partner for its fleet.
Combat-ready: new skincare line is fit for military personnel
The US military has helped develop a skincare line designed to meet the needs of the military personnel.
Accor announces plans to extend wellness offering
Global hotel operator, Accor, has published a white paper dedicated to wellness across its portfolio of brands, which include Raffles, Fairmont and Sofitel.
Blueprint for growth: 900km bathing trail proposed for Australia
Matt Sykes, former experience manager at Australia’s Peninsula Hot Springs, has proposed a blueprint for Victoria's emerging hot springs and bathing tourism sector.
+ More news   
 
FEATURED SUPPLIERS

Zimmer's icelab improves overall wellbeing
The Cold Sauna, Zimmer's most advanced cryo-chamber, allows operators to offer versatile, unique and effective treatments to its customers. [more...]

13th Forum HOTelSPA unites leaders from hotel, spa and thalassotherapy
The thirteenth Forum HOTelSPA is an exclusive international event that unites leaders from the luxury hotel and spa industries with the Thalassotherapy and Thermalism sectors. [more...]
COMPANY PROFILES
Blu Spas, Inc.

Blu is a full-service firm offering consulting, advisory and operating solutions. [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  

DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

26-29 Jan 2020

Green Spa Network Congress

The Oaks, Ojai, United States
28-30 Jan 2020

Spatex 2020

Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2020

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS