How Do Infrared Saunas Work? (+ Health Benefits)

Wondering how do infrared saunas work? 

Infrared sauna claims to offer a number of health benefits like improved blood circulation, pain relief, toxin removal, and weight loss. Even celebrities like Lady Gaga, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Cindy Crawford declare that infrared saunas are useful in maintaining one’s well-being. 

Naturally, you want to find out more about infrared saunas so, in this article, we will give you a comprehensive idea of what infrared sauna are, how it works, and why they can be a better option than a traditional sauna. 

Let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

How Do Infrared Saunas Work?

Let’s get a little technical, shall we? 

This is the electromagnetic spectrum. It sounds like a very technical and unrelatable word but it’s something we encounter every day. 

The human eye can see a very small part of the spectrum called visible light. 

electromagnetic spectrum
(Image source)

Infrared light is invisible. 

infrared light in electromagnetic spectrum

The infrared part of the spectrum can be classified into 3 categories: near, middle, and far-infrared light. 

In an infrared sauna, far infrared sauna radiation (FIR) is used to heat the skin. These radiations are generated through nanocarbon heating panels. 

Unlike traditional saunas that rely on rocks or water to create steam and heat the air, FIR heats the skin directly. The infrared light has the capacity to penetrate 11/2 inches beneath the skin and dissolve unwanted substance that accumulates in the body. This light is harnessed in an infrared sauna and used to cleanse your body. 

Think of standing in the sun on a cold winter morning. You can feel the cold air whipping your face but you also feel the warmth of the sun. That’s infrared light heating your skin without heating the air around you. 

Fun fact: 80% of sun rays are infrared light. 

When you sit inside an infrared sauna, the temperature of your skin increases but your core temperature is not affected too much. This is not an issue because it helps maintain a temperature balance in your body. High temperature causes the pores of your skin to open and you perspire a lot which leads to the removal of toxins.

Now that you know how an infrared sauna works, you might be interested in learning about the benefits and drawbacks of using an infrared sauna.

Are Infrared Saunas Better Than Traditional Saunas?

An infrared sauna’s ability to penetrate the body is what makes it a better choice than a traditional sauna which stops at the skin level. And since infrared saunas are heating the body directly without heating the air, it’s much easier to breathe inside an infrared sauna. 

Moreover, scientific research shows that the environment inside an infrared sauna encourages more efficient shedding of toxins by the human body. 

That said, there are many downsides to using an infrared sauna. We have covered all about it in a separate article: infrared sauna dangers.


Thanks to infrared saunas, people who cannot tolerate high temperatures can enjoy the benefits of heat therapy. If you want to give infrared saunas a try, we recommend reading our guides and reviews on infrared saunas.

Any questions? Leave a comment below and we will get back to you asap.

(Feature image by Tim Sullivan from StockSnap)

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