How Do Infrared Saunas Work? (Are They Better?)

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.

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. 

What Are the Health Benefits of Using an Infrared Sauna?

Infrared saunas are known for various health benefits. They help you relax, providing relief from daily stress. Improved circulation can be expected, as infrared heat helps dilate blood vessels, enhancing blood flow to different parts of your body. You may also experience better sleep, as the warmth from an infrared sauna encourages relaxation and triggers the release of endorphins.

Infrared saunas are popular for supporting weight loss goals, as your body works to maintain its core temperature while in the sauna, leading to calorie burn. Additionally, sweating induced by the sauna can help you get rid of toxins within your body and improve your skin’s appearance.

Are There Any Potential Dangers Associated With Infrared Saunas?

While infrared saunas offer multiple benefits, certain risks should be kept in mind. Those with cardiovascular issues or high blood pressure should consult their healthcare professional before using an infrared sauna.

Dehydration is a common concern, as sweating may lead to losing significant amounts of water. To mitigate this risk, ensure you drink sufficient water before and after your sauna session. It’s also recommended to limit your time spent in an infrared sauna, as excessive use may damage your skin or cause overheating.

If you’re pregnant or have any severe medical conditions, make sure to consult your healthcare provider before using an infrared sauna.


Infrared saunas have proven to be a superior alternative to traditional saunas due to their deep-penetrating heat and enhanced benefits. By incorporating infrared saunas into your wellness routine responsibly and mindfully, you can experience a host of positive effects on both your physical and mental health.

If you’re considering using an infrared sauna, consulting with your healthcare provider, especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions, is always a wise step to ensure a safe and enjoyable sauna experience. With proper use and care, an infrared sauna can be a valuable addition to your journey towards improved health and relaxation, helping you achieve a better sense of balance and vitality in your life.

(Feature image by Tim Sullivan from StockSnap)

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