Do Saunas Increase Growth Hormone – hGH? (Recent Studies & Advice)

There is much debate on whether or not saunas increase growth hormone levels. Getting to the bottom of this requires a bit of research, but don’t worry – I did it for you!

Recent studies show that higher sauna temperatures, increased session times, and a greater frequency of visits results in higher growth hormone levels. Two 1-hour sauna sessions at 176°F, 7x/wk produced a 16-fold increase in hGH levels after day 3. Traditional dry saunas are the hottest (~173°F) and thus the most efficient at raising hGH levels. 

Continue reading to discover if visiting the sauna can increase the production of human growth hormone, if the release of hGH is good for you, and if the sauna is beneficial for other hormones.

Can saunas increase growth hormone?

The human growth hormone (or hGH) is produced by the pituitary gland, located at the bottom of the brain. It’s responsible for growth spurts in adolescents and modulates body composition, along with fat metabolism. That being said, can saunas help increase its production?

Multiple scientific research papers have shown that sauna exposure directly results in the increased production of hGH. Furthermore, the hotter the sauna is, the more time spent inside per session, and the more frequent visits are, the more growth hormone a person’s body releases.

In a 2001 study, a 2-fold over baseline increase in growth hormone levels resulted from two 20-minute sauna exposure periods at 80°C (176°F), with a 30-minute cooling time in between.

Furthermore, in a 1989 study that followed 8 young men, it was found that two 15-minute sauna sessions at 100°C (212°F) – including a 30-minute cooling period in between – catalyzed a 5-fold increase in growth hormone.

Even more astonishing is a Scandinavian paper that studied 17 people who were exposed to two 1-hour sauna sessions per day at 80°C (176°F) for a full week (7 days). The results showed a 16-fold increase in growth hormone levels after day 3.

There’s no doubt that adding a sauna into your wellness routine can seriously up your human growth hormone production, but which type of sauna is most effective?

Traditional dry sauna

Most of the research we mentioned specifically studies the impact of traditional dry saunas.

A traditional dry sauna (also known as the Finnish sauna) is optimal for raising human growth hormone levels. They operate at around 173°F, with a maximum of about 200°F, which is the perfect temperature for stimulating hGH.

Although the studies above showed a dramatic increase in human growth hormone production following multiple hour-long sessions, this practice poses a severe risk for dehydration and fainting. It’s best to spend only 20 minutes inside, with breaks in between sessions.

Infrared sauna

Infrared saunas are not as hot as traditional dry saunas, but they do a great job of penetrating deep tissue layers. Does this make them a good option for increasing hGH production?

In a 2015 study, 10 physically active and healthy males had their growth hormone levels tested following an hour-long strength-training workout or 34-40 minutes of endurance training plus a 30-minute far-infrared sauna session. The results showed a significant increase in hGH for up to an hour following strength training. 

This proves the fact that although the air inside of an infrared sauna isn’t 176°F, they’re still able to effectively heat the body’s core and stimulate human growth hormone release. This is especially true after a workout!

Steam room

Steam rooms are the least hot, most humid version of a sauna.

There’s little specific scientific evidence to show that steam rooms are a viable option for stimulating human growth hormone production. However, because they are a maximum of around 120°F, we can deduce that it’s necessary to spend more time inside to see results. 

While steam rooms aren’t the best option for increasing hGH levels, they can still make an impact.

Paired with cold showers or ice baths

Is adding in some cold therapy better for growth hormone production than sauna exposure alone?

When deciding if a sauna session plus cold showers or ice baths is better than just sauna bathing, we must consider that cryotherapy actually slows the healing and muscle recovery process. Because growth hormone is responsible for new tissue formation, cold exposure likely halts its production.

In a 2021 study that followed 30 physically active men aged 19-26, participants visited the sauna 4x for 12 minutes per session, followed by a 6-minute cooldown phase that included a 1-minute cold water (50-52°F) submersion period. The results showed that testosterone levels increased from 4.04 to 4.24 ng/mL.

This is significant because testosterone enhances the impact growth hormone has on increasing insulin-like growth factors (IGF-I). That being said, although this is true, there’s no direct correlation between cold therapy and the actual production of hGH.

If you seek to include some form of cryotherapy in your wellness routine, most professionals recommend doing it separately, such as first thing in the morning, from exercise and the sauna so that it doesn’t reverse their impacts.

Is the release of growth hormone good for you?

Now that we know saunas can help induce the release of growth hormone, is it even good for you?

Growth hormone production has many benefits for your body that include:

  • stimulating growth in children
  • maintaining, building, and repairing tissue, muscles, bones, and organs
  • increasing metabolism
  • burning fat
  • slowing the impacts of aging
  • stimulating other metabolic processes

While the appropriate amounts of natural hGH are beneficial, too much growth hormone can result in gigantism and acromegaly. Many people even seek the use of synthetic hGH, which comes with its own fair share of risks, like increased insulin resistance and certain types of cancers.

Always consult with a trained physician before deciding to induce the production of growth hormone.

Is the sauna good for other hormones?

Visiting the sauna can dramatically improve human growth hormone levels, but what about other hormones?

Besides helping hGH, sauna exposure is also beneficial for the following 3 hormones:

  • Dopamine (raises)
  • Cortisol (lowers)
  • Prolactin (raises)

Dopamine, also known as the “happy hormone,” is a neurotransmitter that controls emotional responses and some motor reactions. Increasing this results in a general feeling of well-being and can combat Parkinson’s disease and depression.

Cortisol is responsible for regulating our metabolism and immune response, and when imbalanced, it can lead to an array of different health problems, like Cushing syndrome. The good news is that sauna exposure has been shown to reduce long-term cortisol levels by around 25%!

Prolactin (also known as lactotropin) is the hormone that allows women and other mammals to produce milk. During a 2003 study that followed young women, sauna exposure was shown to increase prolactin levels by a factor of 4.5 after the 7th sauna visit.

How to use the sauna to increase growth hormone

Because each type of sauna is designed differently with different temperatures and humidity levels, there’s a recipe for using everyone to improve human growth hormone levels.

Generally speaking, you should spend 40 minutes inside of a steam room, 30 minutes inside of an infrared sauna, and 20 minutes inside of a traditional sauna. To generate the best results, do this 2x per visit with a 30-minute break in between each session.

Keep reading for more specific instructions for each type of sauna!

How to use a traditional dry sauna to increase growth hormone

To naturally stimulate growth hormone release, use the guide below.

The safest practice for triggering hGH production using a traditional dry sauna is:

  1. Ensure the temperature is 176°F or greater.
  2. Spend 20 minutes inside, take a 30-minute break, and spend another 20 minutes inside. 
  3. Visit the sauna 3x per week.
  4. Hydrate before and after each session.

Following these steps will help your body release more growth hormone for healthier tissues, muscles, bones, and organs.

How to use an infrared sauna to increase growth hormone

To naturally stimulate growth hormone release, use the steps below.

The safest practice for triggering hGH production using an infrared sauna is:

  1. Ensure the temperature is at its highest level (likely 150 °F).
  2. Spend 30 minutes inside, take a 30-minute break, and spend another 30 minutes inside. 
  3. Visit the sauna 3x per week.
  4. Hydrate before and after each session.

By adhering to the above guidelines, your body will release more hGH!

How to use a steam room to increase growth hormone

To naturally stimulate growth hormone release, use the techniques listed below.

The safest practice for triggering hGH production using a steam room is:

  1. Ensure the temperature is at its highest level (likely 120 °F).
  2. Spend 40 minutes inside, take a 30-minute break, and spend another 40 minutes inside. 
  3. Visit the sauna 3x per week.
  4. Hydrate before and after each session.

Using a steam sauna to generate human growth hormone may take a little longer but will still help you achieve great results.

Repeated sauna exposure has time and time again been scientifically proven to increase growth hormone production. Always be sure to consult with your doctor first before using a sauna to naturally increase your hGH levels!