Combine Massage & Sauna- Infrared Sauna Before or After Massage?

By Dr. Candy Akers

Massage can be used to provide relaxation to the human body, however, when it is combined with sauna, the benefits of both massage and sauna are amplified. So, the question arises whether we need to use the sauna before going for a massage or after? 

During the sauna, heat is provided to the body which can smooth or soften the muscle tissues. This is why we feel so relaxed after a sauna session. Therefore, it makes sense to use the sauna before a massage session because the sauna will have made our muscles relaxed. It will also help the masseuse because your body will already be in a softened state and the person will be better able to work your muscles deeper (1). 


Sometimes a sauna is recommended after the massage. In these cases, it is usually when a person has had an intensive massage that causes the muscles to stiffen or contract. For example, there are some physical therapy massages that can tighten the body so using the sauna after those workouts or massage sessions can be very useful to help loosen the muscles and will offer accelerated relaxation (2). Usually, the people who attend massage sessions for the sake of pain relief in muscles or are currently recovering from a physical wound, can take advantage of the sauna as post-massage as it helps the body relax quickly. 

Since sauna and massage combined therapy can be useful regardless of the order, it is normal for people to schedule a sauna session and a massage on the same day as long as you are generally healthy- if you are ill or healing from significant trauma, you may want to spread these treatments out so all parts of your body can heal. 

For general use, it is recommended that a sauna should be used before a massage session for an accelerated healing effect. Massage therapists, spa healers, physical therapists, etc. recommend this.


Dr. Candy's Recommendations 

Best Products For Combining Sauna and Massage

Clearlight® Premier™ IS-2 Far-Infrared Sauna

What I Like:

  • Super high-quality materials made to last
  • Lifetime warranty on every component
  • Strong but safe high-output heaters
  • Bonus features like bluetooth speakers and chromotherapy light settings


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Why Massage Can Be Beneficial Before An Infrared Sauna

  • Improves circulation: A massage can help to increase blood flow to the muscles, which can help to warm up the body before entering a sauna.
  • Reduces muscle tension: Massaging the muscles can help to relax them, which can make it more comfortable to sit or lie down in a sauna.
  • Enhances relaxation: A massage can help to induce a state of relaxation, which can help to make the sauna experience more enjoyable.
  • Improves breathing: Massaging the chest and back can help to open up the airways, which can make it easier to breathe in the hot and humid environment of a sauna.
  • Enhances the benefits of the sauna: A massage prior to sauna can enhance the benefits of sauna such as release of endorphins, relief of muscle pain and tension, and decrease in stress.

Last year I bought a Homedics massager to use after the gym, after a sauna session or before bed. It really helps me prevent soreness and stiffness that sometimes occurs 12 hours after a hard workout. I don't live near any massage therapists, so I use this device for a self massage. I recommend it because it is so effective and it feels great. The charge lasts a very long time and it is light weight and easy to hold.