🎙️ Episode 5 - Sauna and Dehydration while Fasting

In this article, I explore the potential benefits and drawbacks of incorporating sauna use into your fasting routine.
🎙️ Episode 5 - Sauna and Dehydration while Fasting
Table of contents


Welcome to the Dry Fasting Club and the beautiful world of dry fasting. I’m Yannick Wolfe and I hope to be able to guide you on your dry fasting journey.

Before we continue, it’s important to note that the information provided here is done to the best of my experience and research. However, it should never be taken as medical advice. You should always speak to a medical professional about your decision to attempt fasting in the first place. Please treat this information as entertainment only.

I’d also like to let everyone know that if you are interested in fasting, specifically dry fasting; make sure you join the Dry Fasting Club’s discord group. It’s where you’ll find expert fasters that can answer most of your questions as well as like-minded people that are also on the dry fasting journey. Links are in the show notes. Ok, let’s get started.

Dry Fasting Tip of the Day

If you’ve already reached the ability to go for more than 48 hours of dry fasting, you’re finally entering the deeper levels of the fasting world. There will come moments that really test you and you’re so low energy, or really low on motivation, or just really scared.

When this happens, think back on why you’re doing this. Also get up, and get into the shower. If you’re able to do it, go into a fully cold shower. If you can’t, then start on room temperature water and after a few minutes start turning the dial to cold. When you get out of the shower you will have a more positive view on everything due to its rejuvenation and mood boosting properties. Use this time to feel out your body and reassess, you may be shocked. It might just be the difference you need to continue your fast.

Why do people try to go into the sauna during a DF?

There are a number of reasons why people might consider using a sauna while dry fasting. Sauna use has some amazing benefits that people think of when they attempt to compound them with dry fasting.

♨️ Detoxification

For some, it may be seen as a way to intensify the detoxification process. Saunas can help to detoxify the body by sweating. Saunas can also help to relax your muscles and relieve pain.

♨️ Weight loss

Some people looking to lose weight as fast as possible, look towards the sauna as a way to speed up the weight loss. Although it does help you drop water weight, you can expect it to rebound once you start drinking again.

♨️ Quick ketosis

Some think that using things like exercise and saunas can speed up the loss of water and muscle glycogen which would naturally speed up entering ketosis. As with many things in our world, everyone is searching for faster results, and this is no different.

If ketosis is achieved faster, the rational states that you can get a head start on autophagy, and mental clarity. Some fasters really struggle with the first 2 days of a fast. Trying to cut those corners makes for quite an incentive.

Sauna and Death Fasting

Sauna use during a dry fast is also called death fasting. Made popular by a YouTuber called Cole Robinson. It involves dry fasting, but also doing daily sauna sessions.

Why do people attempt death fasting, when the name itself implies death? You have to take into consideration the type of people that approach fasting in general. It’s definitely not complacent and timid people. It requires someone to be willing to take some risks, be open to new experiences, and a need for improvement. These three areas define a lot of people who dry fast and it definitely ticks the box for attempting things like dry fasting or sauna dry fasting.

Unfortunately, a lot of younger audiences are easily influenced by youtubers, and want to show off, proving that they’re hard core.

Sauna use with dry fasting can be dangerous, and it’s important to remember the story about the tortoise and the hare. You should never rush and disregard your safety. Especially with high level body stressors like fasting.

Personal Experience

So personally, I have a wood stove outdoor sauna that can get extremely hot depending on how hot I run the fire. I attempted a sauna session once during a dry fast, just to experiment, see how I feel, and potentially speed up water loss and autophagy. I ended up getting extremely lightheaded and got a severe headache. Near the end of the second day, I felt wiped out.

Normally I could lay down and read a book and regain quite a bit of energy, which is a strategy I often employ around day 3-7 when needed. But nothing helped. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I felt even worse as the day progressed.

This was quite a clear indication to me that the sauna plus the water loss from not drinking any water was just too much for my body to handle.

Metabolic water gets created very slowly and speeds up the deeper you get into the dry fast. Adding a sauna on top of that slow metabolic water creation shows that your body goes into the red zone and just can’t keep up. So, from personal experience, using a sauna is a great way of getting health benefits, just not on a dry fast. Unless you are doing a 1-day dry fast and really want to maximize your autophagy due to heat shock and extra dehydration, go for it, but try to keep the sessions shorter and have someone keep an eye on you in case you pass out.

Infrared sauna

If you’re looking for healing, which means you need to go for longer fasts, stay away from the sauna, or use an infrared sauna for short durations to feel better. Infrared saunas don’t dehydrate you nearly as much as a regular sauna. They focus on lower temperatures, and heat your body via infrared rays, so kind of like a microwave radiation. People swear by them, and i’m sure the feeling of wellbeing must be nice.

However, the sweating is minimal, and you don’t get the heat shock therapy associated with traditional saunas. The only benefit I felt from using the sauna during a dry fast was that the weight loss was pretty insane. it can definitely be used to shock people by basically dropping 10 pounds of water weight in 24 hours. Of course, it will return quickly, so there’s nothing good long-term in terms of weight loss with this approach.

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Is there any benefit to it?

Studies have shown that doing a mini dry fast during a sauna session has compounding healing effects.

In fact, in Finland and Scandinavian countries in general, it has become a custom to not drink water before, during, and shortly after your sauna sessions. Their sessions are usually 3 – 15-20minute sessions divided by cooling breaks, where they’ll jump into cold pools or roll around in the snow. Seems crazy right? But this heat and cold shock therapy just works.

Why does it work?

Studies have shown that if you do not consume water while in the sauna, you very quickly start to create a hypertonic environment in your body. This makes sense. As you quickly sweat out your water, your blood concentration levels increase, creating the hypertonic stress.

We go right back to studies talking about hypertonicity and new autophagy mechanisms being activated. The best one that I love coming back to is the microtubule dependent autophagasomal clusters. This is the autophagy that works inside your cells on an even smaller scale. It can fix small problems that regular autophagy would just leave alone.

Think of it like refreshing the inside of the cell. Upgrading the mitochondria and every organelle inside that is deficient. Studies have shown that regular sauna use lowered cardiovascular diseases and cognitive diseases. In fact, regular sauna users saw a 37% reduction in premature death.

Even if the sauna does not pair well with extended dry fasting there are still a large number of health benefits associated with it, that can complement your healing journey. It’s not really about the sweating so much as it is about triggering stress on the body. In this case, it’s extremely high heat stress coupled with hypertonicity because of the fast water loss.

A few benefits you can expect from the sauna

📌 Lymph flow improvement

So this is definitely a very important and interesting factor to consider when trying to improve your condition. A lot of chronic illnesses and other problems linger in the body because there is a weak circulation. The right immune cells or nutrients are not being delivered to certain extremities. This also helps combat micro blood clots. The vasodilation effect helps combat this, and can be very important.

📌 Dry sauna helps sleep and stress

The production of serotonin and norepinephrine helps put the body to sleep. If using it for this benefit, remember to use a cold shower afterwards to further promote sleep and relaxation.

📌 Heat shock proteins

During sauna use, your body produces more heat shock proteins. These are proteins that your body already has in small amounts. Their role is to walk around and help unfold and fold proteins that have been damaged. Kind of like autophagy, but a little different. Think of them like extra clean up crews. An absolutely insane discovery also showed that when heat shock proteins went up due to sauna use, mitochondria function improved by 28%. There was an increase in mitochondrial biogenesis, meaning the body started to produce more mitochondria.

📌 Elevate mood

This helps with combatting the irritability that comes with fasting or with life in general. Even if you’re not fasting, a sauna session can be the thing that helps you power through the day. Heat stress releases dinorphin which is an opioid. Eventually, those levels go down, but your body continues to produce beta-endorphins, which make you feel great and have little to no negative effects. A sauna session can put you in the mood for getting work or a workout done.

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📌 Increase Growth Hormone by up to 140%

Good for healing, great for weightlifters, and great for healing illnesses. Without digging too deep, there’s also a mechanism activated by the heat stress where your body stops catabolizing muscles. Which means it strictly focuses on giving it the nutrients it needs to grow without breaking it down. So together with an increase in growth hormone, you can literally speed up muscle mass growth by using the sauna after a workout.

So, with saunas, you get to very quickly create this state of dehydration. The question is at what point does it cause damage? Most likely there is a low risk since you are doing it for a short duration. If the human body has evolved over millions of years, we can easily assume that it should be able to handle short stints of dehydration. If you come close to passing out, that probably means you’re pushing too far.

Once again it’s always important to listen to your body. Be aware that even with listening to your body, experience is also very crucial. It may take you 10 minutes to realize that you’re pushing too far, and end up weak for the rest of the day. But with experience, you’ll know that you need to end it 10 minutes earlier or decrease the temperate by X amount. Every body is different.

Is it OK to sauna everyday?

Sauna use may lower blood pressure. Anyone with heart problems and low blood pressure should talk to a medical professional first. That being said, if you are healthy with no underlying medical issues, it is generally considered safe to use a sauna every day.

Fertility issues

I think I should also mention fertility issues with heat therapy. There have been some studies that identified a decrease in sperm levels and sperm motility with consistent sauna use. This means that the heat does have a negative effect on your sperm.

It’s quite common to hear that if you sit in a hot tub for too long you’ll cook your little guys. Well, in this case, it seems to have a lot of validity to it. The study I was reading was done in Finland, where sauna use is embedded in their culture.

However, after the men stopped using the sauna, the sperm levels returned to full health within 3 months. I’ve seen this 3 months timeframe indicated for a few things in the past, so it started to ring a bell. You produce sperm every day, but a full sperm regeneration cycle (called spermatogenesis) takes about 64 days, that’s just over 2 months. So 64 days for you to recycle your sperm.

After looking into sperm quality being affected by a severe viral infection – Yes you can lose a lot of sperm quality after being really sick. It seems that the 3 month timeframe is also seen in those situations. Specifically I was researching covid a while back, and they were showing really bad sperm levels for up to 3 months post covid infection.

If you’re trying to conceive, you may want to avoid heat therapy in all its forms for about 2-3 months. Same goes for if you were really sick, you may want to wait a couple months before trying. Or at least be aware that your sperm levels may be lower, and it may be harder to conceive because of it.

How to do sauna sessions knowing all of this, to maximize healing effects?

You’ll need to make sure you don’t drink anything 30 minutes before going into the sauna. It’s recommended to take an electrolyte drink an hour before so that you can avoid things like feeling faint and getting headaches.

The average amount of sessions for therapeutic sauna effects is 3 sessions of 15-20 minutes each. Do not drink water during or in between sessions, and if you want to continue the healing benefits and maximize them, then make sure you do not drink water until you have gone to shower and gotten dressed. You’ll have an amazing relief from the shower on your skin.

Here I recommend that you do cold showers, or if you’re brave enough, ice cold showers so that you can also trigger some cold shock therapy. You’ll be feeling refreshed, and full of energy. Your body will thank you. Then rehydrate with water and electrolytes. Once you’ve done a few, play around with the amount of electrolytes in both pre-hydrating and post-hydrating to find the sweet spot.

How do you speed up a dry fast without using the sauna?

You need to remember the concept of using the sauna while dry fasting comes from a culture built on instant gratification. You don’t want to take your time and go through the steps. People want results now. That’s why all the supplements, pills, and influencers are so popular. Wouldn’t it be great to just take a pill and then continue stuffing your face, drinking, and partying? Unfortunately, that’s where we are.

Of course there’s also people who just want to be as efficient as possible. They’re willing to take risks and do a lot of research. With this, there are some things that you can do to speed up your dry fast healing without using the sauna.

🍳 Ketogenic diet

First off, you can eat a ketogenic diet for a few days before the beginning of your fast. This will set your body up for faster ketosis, and therefore faster healing. Your body will already be increasing it’s acidity, dropping electrolytes, and water weight. This fat-adapted body will have a much easier time getting through the first days of the dry fast. You will most likely get into a strong autophagy stage much quicker. It will mean you’ll hit the acidotic crisis much quicker too.

Overall this is the best optimization strategy, and this strategy works extremely well for water fasting too. I kept saying avoid the sauna during a dry fast, but you can engage in sauna sessions before you start the fast, to kick off autophagy and heat shock proteins that last for a few days. This works because you can hydrate and keep up with electrolytes this way.

🤸 Exercise before the dry fast

You can also exercise for a few days before the dry fast. This will help deplete glycogen from your muscles, increase calorie burn and if paired with a ketogenic diet, get you into autophagy much faster.

🍵 Authophagy inducing foods

You can also look into autophagy inducing foods and supplements like resveratrol, wormwood, MCT oil, and green tea. I really like to make coconut oil based keto chocolate the day before a dry fast. It’s important that you stay away from processed food, fried food, and meat the day before the fast. Although meat is considered keto, it is some of the hardest food to digest, and it takes a longer time to digest as well. The worst meat to eat directly before a dry fast would be fatty red meat with gristle.

Remember, fat is the hardest macronutrient for the body to digest, followed by protein, followed by carbs. You want to avoid carbs before the fast, so that your liver and muscle glycogen is lower, but you should also avoid things like meat unless you have it ground into a paste for faster digestion. Anything you eat before the fast, you should make sure to chew incredibly thoroughly. All of these tips will help you maximize your dry fast healing. It will make you enter the healing process faster and easier.

Here are some other people’s experiences with sauna use and dry fasting

I really like to gather people’s experiences, especially when it comes to things like fasting where the mechanisms are not fully understood, and where new things are constantly being discovered. Even though everyone is different, finding common patterns is important. Here’s a few examples about people’s experiences with dry fasting and sauna use.

The first person writes:

I feel like I accelerated my dry fast. I drank a little water before the Sauna, and I sweat out 4 pounds in 2 hours on and off in the Sauna. Left the Sauna at 3pm and now it is 8pm. I am now 5 hours into my dry fast, and I can’t handle it anymore. Just gonna stop because I feel the Sauna made it equivalent of me doing it for 10 hours.

So this person got wiped up before even completing one day on a dry fast. I do think that being on a dry fast and including the sauna will trigger the powerful autophagy that is associated with the blood going into a hypertonic state. But at what cost? The cost of being able to safely continue an extended fast. Once again, as I said earlier, if you’re doing a 1 day fast, experiment with sauna use to double up the powerful healing effects. Some people dry fast one day a week. That could be an interesting combination.

Another person writes:

In the middle of a dry fast hour 37/72 and decided to finally add a sauna in to the regimen. I found a place that does infrared saunas(finding traditional steam sauna was hard for some reason). I sat in it at 140 degrees for 30 minutes and OH MY GOD it was the best.
It was like doing a sprint while dry fasting but without the puking sensation. I highly recommend everyone try it. It felt like a workout just sitting there. I lost about 1-1.2 pounds just sweating after already being dry absolutely nuts. One caveat though don’t test yourself my heart rate was at 150-170 for 22 minutes and if i stayed any longer i would have puked/maybe passed out (eventually).

Ok so, This is the difference between a regular sauna and an infrared sauna. Although an infrared sauna does not trigger the same level of autophagy and heat shock proteins that a regular super hot sauna would, it definitely helps in feeling better and releasing endorphins while also keeping the temperature more stable. There may be a positive effect of pairing an infrared sauna and extended dry fasting, but it would require careful experimentation.

A third person writes:

Absolutely do not use the sauna during your dry fast. The body is amazing at creating its own metabolic water, but I am doubtful it would be able to keep up with the amount of sweat one produces in a sauna. Dry fasting is also already a powerful stressor – stacking sauna on top of it seems dangerous and excessive.

I have to agree with this one. If you’re dry fasting, you have so many ways to better prepare, like I mentioned earlier. Specifically with diet and exercise. Don’t make it harder on yourself, when dry fasting is already one of the hardest things on earth that you can subject yourself to.

Let me know about your experience

Do you have any experience with using a sauna during a dry fast or otherwise? Leave a comment on the video below or shoot me an email.


The sauna plays a tempting role in speeding up your dry fast and getting extra benefits. However, stacking the sauna is a risky move, and from a lot of people’s experiences it’s quite clear that it can ruin your extended dry fast. If it is that drastic and forces you to exit a dry fast, that you would otherwise be able to continue, it begs the question: could it be causing more damage than we know? It’s definitely possible, and that’s why the sauna should not be used in conjunction with a dry fast.

Dehydration creates a hypertonic state in the body that triggers amazing new autophagy, so the sauna is a great tool in between dry fasts, but there are much safer and better options to prepare yourself before starting. Infrared saunas may be a solid alternative, but more so for killing time and making you feel better, and less about actual heat shock proteins and heat stress. Dry fasting is powerful, your first goal should be to carefully test your limits and extend your time by listening to your body. When you feel like you have mastered it, feel free to experiment further if you feel the need to.

A few words from author

Well, we’re near the end of the episode. As always, references are in the show notes. If I’ve convinced you to try a day or two of dry fasting, maybe I’ve saved you some money on groceries.

If you would like to support this podcast and my work at exploring dry fasting topics, I have a link in the show notes. You’ll also get access to a private server for members. Leaving a 5-star and a like or a comment goes a long way too. If you’d like to give me any ideas on how to improve the show, I’d love to hear from you. Please send me an email to yannick@dryfastingclub.com.

That’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it. If you’re listening to this as the episode drops, happy new year I wish you all the best! Thanks for listening, make sure you join our discord, telegram, or facebook group. Thank you and good luck on your dry fasting journey!


Hypertonic stress promotes autophagy and microtubule-dependent autophagosomal clusters

Repeated exposure to heat stress induces mitochondrial adaptation in human skeletal muscle

How Long Does It Take for Sperm to Regenerate? What to Expect

Seminal and molecular evidence that sauna exposure affects human spermatogenesis

Effects of sauna on sperm movement

Endocrine effects of sauna bath

Yannick Wolfe

15 Years of Fasting Experience, Ex-ME/CFS, Ex-Long covid. Tech Consultant, Molecular biologist, Father, Researcher, Experimenter.

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