Is an Infrared Sauna Better Than a Traditional Sauna?
There’s nothing quite like a 20-minute sweat session in a sauna. You feel more relaxed and rested after you’re done, and the heat helps relieve sore muscles and improves your overall health and well-being.
But if the high temperatures of a traditional sauna are just too much for you to handle, an infrared sauna may offer the benefits of a sauna without the extreme heat.
What is an infrared sauna?
Unlike a traditional sauna, infrared saunas don’t heat the air around you. Instead, they use infrared lamps (that use electromagnetic radiation) to warm your body directly.
These saunas use infrared panels instead of conventional heat to easily penetrate human tissue, heating up your body before heating up the air.
An infrared sauna can operate at a lower temperature (usually between 49˚C and 60˚C) than a traditional sauna, which is typically between 65˚C and 82˚C.
With an infrared sauna, only about 20 percent of the heat goes to heat the air and the other 80 percent directly heats your body.
The heat inside an Infrared sauna penetrates more deeply than warmed air. This allows you to experience a more intense sweat at a lower temperature.
This environment is more tolerable, which allows you to stay in the sauna longer while increasing your core body temperature by two to three degrees.
What are the supposed benefits of using an infrared sauna?
The supposed benefits of using an infrared sauna are similar to those experienced with a traditional sauna. These include:
relief from sore muscles
relief from joint pain such as arthritis
clear and tighter skin
help for people with chronic fatigue syndrome
People have been using saunas for centuries for all sorts of health conditions. While there are several studies and research on traditional saunas, there aren’t as many studies that look specifically at infrared saunas:
A small 10-person studyTrusted Source found that people with chronic fatigue syndrome benefited from using an infrared sauna as part of an overall treatment.
Another 10-person studyTrusted Source found that infrared saunas helped decrease muscle soreness and increase recovery from strength-training sessions.
Several studies have found that infrared light therapy saunas may help reduce blood pressure.
The good news: Even if your sweat session doesn’t do all of the things it claims to do, at least it still feels good. Plus, it contributes to your overall health and well-being by helping you relax, loosening up stiff or tight muscles, reducing joint pain, and giving you some much needed time to yourself.
What should you know before you try an infrared sauna?
There are a few things you should know before indulging in your first session.
Avoid using an infrared sauna if you’ve been drinking alcohol.
If you feel ill or have a fever, it’s best to wait to use the sauna until you’re feeling better.
Using an infrared sauna will cause you to sweat a lot, so you may feel lightheaded when you stand up. If this happens, make sure you get up slowly and sit down once you leave the sauna. Drink water immediately after finishing your session and wait for your body to cool down before doing anything else.
In extreme cases, some people may experience overheating (heat stroke and heat exhaustion) or dehydration.
If you have any health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart problems, or are under medical care, we advise you get cleared by your doctor before your first session.