Infrared saunas use targeted light to provide heat within a sauna. This article will explain what an infrared sauna does and how it works.
There are two main types of saunas: a traditional sauna and an infrared sauna. While they both have the same purpose of creating a humid environment to alleviate stress and body aches, the way they achieve these results is inherently different.
While a traditional sauna uses water and warm rocks to create a humid environment, an infrared sauna uses infrared light to generate heat (hence the name).
How Do Infrared Saunas Work?
Infrared saunas use light to generate heat. The mechanism infrared saunas use to generate heat based light is quite interesting.
Infrared saunas produce light with Far infrared radiation. FAR infrared radiation is found on a wavelength spectrum at 15 to 1,000 um which is not visible to the human eye.
Infrared rays generate heat that can penetrate beneath the skin. This heat produces effects similar to what is experienced from vigorous exercise such as an increased heart rate and sweating.
Many people appreciate the ability to simulate the effects of moderate exercise while benefiting from the sense of relaxation inside a comfortable sauna.
Infrared saunas achieve these effects at lower temperatures than traditional saunas which makes infrared saunas a very appealing option for home use.
Potential Health Benefits of Infrared Saunas
Many people incorporate 20 to 30 minutes inside the sauna as part of a daily exercise routine. Relaxing inside a sauna offers a great way to cap off your exercise routine.
Many studies have also explored the health benefits of infrared saunas for treating high blood pressure headaches, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and even chronic fatigue syndrome.
Preliminary health studies regarding infrared saunas have been promising. However, more definitive studies are necessary to conclusively prove the health benefits of regular infrared sauna use.
Some of the current medical studies are exploring potential health benefits that include:
- Increased circulation.
- Losing weight.
- Promoting better sleep and relaxation.
- Reducing joint pain and body aches.
Furthermore, no adverse effects have been reported with regular infrared sauna use.
Lower Sauna Temperatures
Perhaps the biggest feature of an infrared sauna is the ability to achieve the beneficial heat induced effects of a sauna at lower average temperatures than with a traditional sauna.
Traditional saunas use humidity based heat which can exceed 180 degrees Fahrenheit. This high level of heat can be too intense for some people.
Infrared saunas use more targeted light based heating which reaches temperatures between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Many people prefer the lower temperatures of the infrared saunas and feel like they can spend more time inside without feeling the need to exit.
As a homeowner, you may also prefer an infrared sauna because it uses up less energy than a traditional sauna. Lower average temperatures results in lower monthly electricity usage which is another benefit of infrared saunas.
How Long to Stay in an Infrared Sauna
Because infrared saunas are generally cooler than traditional saunas, you can enjoy them for a little bit longer.
Even though infrared saunas may allow longer average sessions, keep in mind you should always listen to your body and not use a sauna longer than what feels comfortable to you.
When your body feels hot enough, that means it is time to exit the sauna.
In general, people should start off slow when using a sauna. That means beginning with no more than 5 or 10 minutes of time when first starting out.
As you become more experienced, you might gradually increase the amount of time by 5 minute increments until you reach 20 to 25 minutes in total.
Since infrared saunas have lower average temperatures, you may feel as though you can stay inside an infrared sauna longer than a traditional sauna.
We recommend following the same gradual pace with an infrared sauna. Start out by only using it for small periods of time and gradually work your way up to longer sessions.
Cost and Weight Differences
Compared to traditional saunas, infrared saunas tend to cost less and weigh less. These are important considerations when choosing a sauna for home use.
Traditional saunas require extra space for the heating unit necessary to heat up the stones. These extra elements add additional weight and cost to traditional saunas compared to similar sized infrared models.
It is important for people with medical conditions to consult a doctor prior to starting regular sauna use.
Infrared saunas produce a dry, light based heat. This dry heat has the potential to lead to dry skin, dehydration, and being overheated.
Even though traditional saunas require higher average temperatures, the heat is humidity based heat which may reduce the feeling of dry skin.
What to Know Before Using an Infrared Sauna
Before buying and using an infrared sauna, here are a few important tips to keep in mind:
- If you’re prone to dry skin, moisturize before heading in as this will help combat the effects of the dry heat.
- Drink water beforehand so your body can stay properly hydrated throughout your sauna experience. If necessary, bring a glass of water into the sauna with you.
- You may want to start out slow by using your infrared sauna three times a week while your body is getting adjusted. While it’s safe to use daily in most cases, your goal should be a gradual increase in usage over time.
- Avoid an infrared sauna if you’ve been drinking alcohol. Not only could this be dangerous, but since alcohol dehydrates you, you’re at greater risk of dehydration once you enter the sauna.
Infrared Sauna Ideas
We have included information on a few of our most popular infrared sauna options. We have highlighted saunas with a range of options that include different sizes as well as indoor and outdoor options.
The Bristol Bay 4 Person Indoor Infrared Corner Sauna is an excellent option that not only allows you to bring the enjoyment of an infrared sauna into your home but is also perfect for couples looking to enjoy their sauna with a little privacy.
This sauna reaches temperatures of up to 140 degrees by using 10 advanced carbon-nano heaters.
Other features include ergonomic backrests, chromotherapy mood lighting, and a Bluetooth speaker system so you can turn your sauna into your own personalized spa.
This sauna is made from Natural Canadian Red Cedar, which is known to not only be extremely durable, but lightweight, as well.
Another benefit of Canadian Red Cedar is durability and moisture resistant qualities.
If you want the latest in infrared sauna technology, look no further than the 2 person Cordova infrared sauna. Reaching a maximum temperature of 140 degrees, this unique indoor sauna generates and disperses heat with no hot zones.
To aid in providing optimal comfort, this sauna comes with ergonomic backrests and an air filtration system.
The available mood lighting and Bluetooth speaker capabilities, combined with a built-in interior reading lamp, offer maximum relaxation. Enjoy your favorite music while you read the morning paper and relax in your sauna.
- See all indoor saunas.
The Cayenne offers ample room that can comfortably accomodate up to four people. This sauna is designed with Canadian Hemlock wood, so it’s strong enough to endure heavy rain and other natural elements.
While it does come with a weather cover, Canadian Hemlock is one of the most durable woods on the market, specifically designed to withstand whatever gets thrown its way.
One feature that sets the Cayenne Outdoor Infrared Sauna apart from others on the market is that it comes with an oxygen ionization system. So, not only will you enjoy the health benefits of sitting in 140-degree temperatures, but the air you breathe will be much cleaner.
- See all outdoor saunas.
The Grandby infrared sauna provides a balanced combination of size and flexibility. This sauna provides room for up to 3 people while still being small enough to fit in a variety of outdoor spaces.
This sauna is made from natural Canadian Hemlock and includes a pitched roof and a weather cover, making it the perfect sauna to install in your backyard.
The Grandby also comes with several convenience features including Bluetooth speakers, recessed lighting, and cup holders for your enjoyment.
- For more home sauna ideas, browse our full selection of infrared saunas.