Dr. Rhonda Patrick on the Benefits of the Sauna | Joe Rogan Experience

Growth Hormone

(Episode 459) 1:18:04 – Growth hormone can be increased through exercise and the sauna (dry). This blows Joe’s mind. This is great for injury as well. How the sauna increases growth hormone is not known as of the time of the podcast, but studies have shown elevated levels of subjects after a session in the sauna.

Hormesis; Endorphin Rush After Stress

(Episode 502) 2:42 – Dr. Patrick opens with explaining why people feel good after being introduced to a bit of anxiety. When anxiety is felt, the body up regulates the mu opioid receptor. Thus, making us more sensitive to endorphins. The anxiety is stressful, but you get very relaxed once it is over.

(Episode 502) 5:02 – The up regulation of the mu opioid receptor can be found in many other activities including working out, eating spicy food, and the sauna.

(Episode 502) 6:43 – They discuss hormesis again. They discussed it in-depth in podcast 459. This is the technical term for how a small amount of stress can condition the body to be prepared; this process is good for us. Dr. Patrick explains how the polyphenols in fruits and red wine are a little bit toxic for our bodies. These compounds induce a stress response and a conditioning process which in the end is beneficial to us.

All Cause Mortality

(Episode 672) 2:00 – Sauna. There is a link between sauna usage and a decrease in all cause mortality. Men who used the sauna frequently (4-7 times a week) showed a 40% decrease in all cause mortality. When you’re in heat, your heart starts to race between 100-150 bpm and this means your heart is receiving plasma and blood flow. Along with this cardiovascular benefit, there is a stress benefit; the sauna can activate heat shock proteins through activation of the heat shock genes. Heat shock proteins reduce the build up of byproducts that we get from daily bodily functions; things like plaques and dysfunctional proteins. People with a variation of the heat shock gene that allows themselves to constantly make these helpful proteins, without the assistance of additional heat, are more likely to be a centenarian. Its pretty clear that there is a link between the sauna and longevity.


(Episode 672) 2:17:40 –¬†Dynorphins. Dynorphins (the counter to endorphin) are released when experiencing discomfort; they signal the brain to create more receptors that bind to beta endorphins which are released when you exercise or expose yourself to heat. This process is the mechanism behind feeling good after something like a workout or a sauna session. Dr. Patrick explains that when she would use it in the morning, she would feel much better and handle the stress of work better.

Lucid Dreaming

(Episode 773) 1:28:30 – Lucid dreaming from sauna and nootropics. There have been some accounts of lucid dreaming from sauna use, but Dr. Patrick doesn’t know of any study done observing this. Acetylcholine has been shown to induce intense lucid dreaming. Galantamine was brought to Patrick’s attention, as it is also known for inducing lucid dreaming.


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