Barrel saunas are becoming a popular option with saunas and health enthusiasts. They offer many benefits over their more traditionally shaped counterparts, such as faster heating, lower prices, and easier installation. But there are limits on how long you should remain in a barrel sauna.

When using a barrel sauna, the length of the session is determined by how old you are, your fitness level, and whether you are a regular user of saunas. The recommended time frame is between 5 to 30 minutes.

If you want to try a barrel sauna, read on to discover which session times suit you.

What Is A Barrel Sauna?

A barrel sauna is created in a circular shape, similar to a barrel (thus the name for this sauna style).

This design allows the hotter air that rises to the top of the sauna to force the denser air to recirculate to the bottom of the room, where it is reheated. Therefore, the air is heated quickly, improving the sauna’s efficiency.

Regarding the heat source for barrel saunas, there are several options:

  • Heated rocks
  • Wood stove
  • Electric heater

Whatever source you choose is merely a matter of personal preference.

How Long Should I Remain In The Barrel Sauna?

The length of a sauna session depends on several factors:

  • Your age
  • Your level of fitness
  • Whether you have consumed any alcohol or taken medication
  • If you have used a sauna before

Let’s look at each of the above points in more detail.

Your Age

For children younger than 12 years old, it’s recommended not to use a sauna because they cannot regulate body temperature appropriately. Older kids are OK.

However, there is some debate about whether it’s okay for children under 6 to use a sauna. If you decide it’s okay, limit the session to 5 minutes. Also, the child must be accompanied by an adult during the session.

Adults enjoy a time in the sauna for 30 minutes at maximum. For older adults and those with pre-existing health conditions, consider a session lasting between 5 to 10 minutes.

Fitness levels

The fitter you are, the more your body can endure the heat in the sauna. Your cardiovascular system is also able to tolerate longer sauna sessions.

But you must listen to your body. If you start to feel sick or lightheaded, then end your session.

Alcohol and medication

If you have had alcohol before entering the sauna, it can speed up your dehydration levels. The alcohol dilates the blood vessels, making you warmer quicker.

Also, there is a higher risk of overheating and passing out.

Therefore, it’s best to wait until your body has metabolized the alcohol before entering a sauna. The process could take several hours, depending on your body weight, the speed of your metabolism, and the amount of alcohol you have consumed.

If you want a session in your barrel sauna after a drink, keep the time limited to 15 minutes.

For those of you on medication, it’s best to talk to your doctor before using a sauna. Certain drugs may heighten your susceptibility to heat and dehydration.

The amount of time you can spend in the barrel sauna depends on the type of medication you are on. It’s recommended that your sauna session should be 10 or 15 minutes, then slowly raise this time limit. Once again, speak to your physician first.

First-time sauna users

If you are new to saunas, you must allow your body sufficient time to get used to the heat. Start with 5-minute sessions and then slowly increase the time.

What is the recommended time for a barrel sauna session?

As you have seen, several factors determine how long a session in your barrel sauna should last.

The ideal time is between 15 to 20 minutes. For regular sauna users, the time can be extended to 30 minutes.

You must listen to your body when in the sauna. If you start feeling hydrated or show overheating symptoms, end the session immediately.

Be aware of these signs

Time spent in a barrel sauna has benefits, such as improving circulation, detoxifying your body, and improving skin tone and elasticity. Yet, we mentioned that a prolonged session in a sauna can lead to dehydration and overheating.

Awareness of the different signs to look for can reduce the risk of experiencing adverse health conditions during your sauna session.


Dehydration can be caused by excessive sweating and other fluid loss while sitting in the barrel sauna.

Indicators suggesting hydration are:

  • Feeling dizzy/lightheaded
  • Thirst
  • A decrease in sweating or no sweating
  • Headache
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Rapid heartbeat

The Mayo Clinic says that the result of frequent bouts of dehydration can result in urinary tract infections and, in some instances, kidney failure.


Overheating can be the result of spending too long in the barrel sauna, dehydration, consuming alcohol before using the sauna, medications, or stem from underlying health conditions.

Symptoms of overheating are:

  • Rapid heartbeat or palpitations
  • Excessive sweating
  • Feeling unusually hot or flushed
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Feeling dizzy/lightheaded

The long-term health effects of overheating include potential damage to your brain and vital organs due to swelling caused by heat.


Prolonged exposure to the heat from the sauna can lead to heatstroke. It can be life-threatening, so be aware.

Indications of heatstroke are:

  • A high body temperature (above 104°F/40°C)
  • Confusion
  • Rapid breathing
  • Passing out/unconsciousness

Heatstroke can also lead to organ damage, especially to the brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles. It may also lead to lasting impacts on your cognitive functions, including memory retention issues, difficulty maintaining focus, and impaired coordination.

We mention the above health issues so that you can be aware of the impact longer sessions in a sauna can have. It’s all about having a therapeutic and beneficial time.

Your well-being is paramount.

How to stay safe when using a barrel sauna?

The primary issue when using a sauna is the risk of dehydration. suggests consuming at least a single glass of water before and following your session. Medical News Today suggests two to four glasses. The quantity of water required varies depending on how long you have been in the sauna and the amount of sweat you have released.

After your session, exit the sauna and let your body cool down for 5 to 10 minutes.

Listen to your body. It will let you know when it’s time to end the session. Don’t ignore the signals that you are dehydrated or overheated.

For individuals who are elderly or have preexisting health conditions, please talk to your healthcare professional before starting a sauna session.


How long you spend in the barrel sauna depends on your age, fitness level, and if you have been in a sauna before. For children and adults with health issues, a session at most 5 minutes is best. The more experienced and fitter individuals can endure up to 30 minutes in the sauna.

Using a sauna offers many health benefits, so enjoy yourself. However, end your session when your body tells you it’s dehydrating or can’t endure the heat anymore. Drink some water to rehydrate and lower your body temperature.

You can always go back into the sauna tomorrow.

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Welcome to our blog! I’m Sylvia Wang, your guide to saunas, ice plunge tubs, hot tubs, and accessories. With years of industry experience, I share valuable insights to enhance your relaxation. From manufacturing in China, we offer expertise in relaxation science, health benefits, and maintenance tips. Let’s relax together!