man wearing robe sitting in sauna

Why Peter Attia Changed His Mind About Sauna Use for Longevity

“I used to be in the camp of, ‘Sauna feels great, but that’s probably about it.’”


ongevity expert physician Peter Attia, M.D., is constantly optimizing—and re-optimizing—his lifespan and healthspan-boosting routine based on new research. Case in point: He ditched his signature seven-day once-a-quarter intermittent fasting protocol after he realized he was losing too much lean muscle mass. He’s also changed his mind on blood flow restriction (BFR) training, and now thinks it’s more than just a way to make arm day hurt even worse. 

Now, the longevity-boosting benefits of dry sauna usage are at the center of his most recent change of heart. 

“I’m way more bullish on sauna than I’ve ever been before,” Attia tells Tim Ferriss on the Tim Ferriss Show.

“I used to be in the camp of, ‘Sauna feels great, maybe even helps you sleep a bit better. But that’s probably about it. There’s no way you’re really going to live longer because you’re in a sauna,’” says Attia, who hosts his own podcast, The Drive. “I think this is one of those things where the burden of evidence in the non-randomized data is so strong, it’s becoming hard to ignore.”

Previously, Attia attributed the predicted longevity boosting benefits of sauna use to “healthy user bias.” But he decided the data was worth another look while filming Limitless with Chris Hemsworth. 

“The magnitude of the effect and the consistency across all cohorts basically led me to conclude that I really needed to incorporate sauna into my routine,” he says. 

Sauna Use Can Promote Longevity

Attia tells Ferriss that the sheer magnitude of the mortality-reducing benefits of sauna are what made him reconsider his stance on heat exposure for longevity. 

“If the data showed that sauna versus non-sauna was like a 5 percent improvement in mortality, it would be hard to get that excited about it,” Attia says. “But when you look at the largest published series on this, you see a benefit in all-cause mortality: a relative risk reduction of 40 percent and an absolute risk reduction of 18 percent. Those are ridiculous numbers.”

The 2015 study referenced by Attia followed over 2,000 men and their dry sauna usage for 20 years (1). In addition to a significant reduction in all-cause mortality, researchers also found that sauna use lowered participants’ risk of Alzheimer’s, stroke, or other cardiac events.

Longevity-Boosting Sauna Protocol

To reap the longevity-promoting benefits of dry sauna use, Attia points to the minimum effective dose used in the 2015 study: four, 20-minute sessions per week, 175 degrees Fahrenheit.

And if you want to follow Attia’s current heat exposure protocol, jump in a dry sauna for 15 minutes at 198 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a cold plunge

Hone’s at-home testosterone assessment is the simplest way to uncover whether your levels are low. If you qualify for treatment, TRT can be sent right to your door.