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Do Infrared Saunas Really Work? – Are They Worth It?

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A hasty decision is never a good idea, especially when it comes to considerable acquisitions like an infrared sauna. Worth hundreds, even thousands of dollars depending on the capacity of the sauna, build quality and features it integrates, you can see why blindly going in can be a mistake.

What you must ask yourself before you dive into analyzing infrared sauna buying guides is whether or not it works, and if it is worth the money. To help you make the right decision, we will break down the efficiency of this new technology type of sauna, its pros, as well as cons, and see together if it is worth the financial effort or not.

Is your mind made up already and you want one? Then check out the best infrared saunas at the moment to invest your cash in a product that delivers the latest tech and features, and that will help you reach your health and weight loss goals in no time.

What Makes Infrared Saunas Different?

How do traditional saunas work?

To understand what makes the infrared-type models different, you first have to know a tad more about standard saunas. Conventional Finnish saunas that have been around for thousands of years consist of a room where a wood-burning stove was placed. Temperatures inside can reach up to 200°F, and it is best to use a sauna thermometer that withstands high heat and humidity when you use a traditional sauna to have control over the surroundings and make sure the heat does not become overwhelming.

Stones were brought inside and when they heated up, water was poured over them to create hot vapor that humidified the air. This is needed as the air inside tends to be very dry and can make you feel uncomfortable quickly. These exist to this day and are generally found outdoors because of the excess humidity produced in the process.

There is a newer version of the traditional sauna that we will talk about a bit. The difference between it and the old-style sauna is that a steam generator is used to create a hot and humid atmosphere in which you sweat.

If you do build an indoor traditional-style sauna, it is recommended to set it up in the bathroom. Make sure to also set up a dehumidifier that tackles the excess moisture or mold will inevitably form because of the high humidity that will form with each sauna use.

How do infrared saunas work?

Now that you know how traditional-style models work, you will better appreciate the ingenuity of infrared saunas. Unlike their counterparts that dry the air and make it hot, infrared models do not affect humidity and temperature is only slightly tampered with as their operating is focused on your body alone. The waves emitted penetrate the skin deep and reach the muscles, transferring heat directly so that you perspire without existing changes to the environment around you.

Is the infrared technology safe?

The wavelengths are nothing to worry about as they are part of the electromagnetic spectrum and occur naturally. Moreover, safety is not an issue to worry your mind with seeing how the safe FIR saunas are the ones mostly encountered on the market, the emitted waves not posing any sort of danger.

Proven Health Benefits

  • Stress relief: While simple sauna sessions suffice for stress relief as you get to relax while your body heats up, it’s chromotherapy that makes the biggest difference in this sense. Light therapy is used to treat and alleviate specific ailments, aside from stress relief providing pain comfort and enhanced collagen production, among other perks.
  • Immune system boost: How does it help exactly? Well, infrared sauna use raises the production of white blood cells in your body, which triggers the immune response. In turn, this leads to relaxation, cell regeneration, better blood circulation, and impurity decrease.
  • Skin purification: Pollutants like dust and smoke are quite detrimental to the health of your skin. As you sit inside and the infrared waves pierce the tissue, helping your pores open as you sweat, the unhealthy pollutants are removed as well. Your skin will be healthier, it will look better, and it will feel smoother than ever as a result.
  • Anti-aging benefits: As aforementioned, especially when paired with chromotherapy, sauna use can stimulate collagen production. This is good news for your appearance. You will look younger as the collagen helps remove fine wrinkles and reduce deeper wrinkles. It even helps prevent new wrinkles from appearing.
  • Better blood circulation: To provide this health perk, sauna use increases nitric oxide production, which favors improved blood flow.
  • Cellulite reduction: As it helps improve lymphatic drainage, it reduces swelling, leading to a natural improvement of cellulite appearance. If you regularly use it, by the time summer comes, you will look stunning in your bathing suit.
  • When you gain weight, cellulite can spread to areas of your body you never had it before. One of these areas can be your abdomen. If you have cellulite on it, use an infrared sauna slim belt that you wrap around the mid-section and let it work to improve your appearance so that you won’t feel self-conscious about the way you look ever again.

  • Fatigue reduction: Chronic fatigue syndrome is a dreadful affliction and one that you can atone through regular sauna sessions, thankfully. The biggest benefit is that you will witness lower levels of anxiety if you suffer from this condition, so it makes a big difference in your welfare.
  • Cardio health boost: It helps lower and even adapts blood pressure. Oxidative stress is reduced as well. As it is linked with heart disease, among other ailments, you can see how using the sauna translates to improved cardiovascular health.
  • Joint pain, sore muscles, and arthritis pain relief: What makes sauna use a viable solution for relief and reduction of the aforementioned conditions is the anti-inflammatory effect it has. Even training rehabilitation is enhanced as sauna use helps improve neural recovery. Best of all, improvements persist even after you cease the sessions.
  • Better sleep: As the strain in your muscles is released during sauna use, your brain will relax and tell your body that the time has come to go to rest. This is a healthier alternative for prescription drugs use if you struggle with insomnia and sleep quality problems of any sort.
  • Get inside a cozy infrared sauna blanket and take your afternoon nap while the emitted waves penetrate the skin. A 30-minute nap, while the sauna does its job, will do wonders for your energy levels throughout the day.

Between Myth and Reality

Are all claims related to infrared sauna use real, or are there catches too? While not completely false, some promises might be hyped by manufacturers or parties interested in promoting the products to interested customers. These two claims that are stuck between myth and reality are weight loss and detox. Let’s find out the truth behind these claims and settle the debate once and for all.

Does It Burn Fat?

Studies have not linked long-term weight-loss benefits with infrared sauna use, so no, on its own, it won’t help you get rid of those pesky extra pounds. However, there is some truth to the claim, but most sources don’t reveal how sauna use and weight loss can go hand in hand. To see results when you measure your waist and get on the scale, you have to combine sauna sessions with healthy dieting and exercise.

Introduce more veggies and fruits into your diet, and cut down on fats and unhealthy snacks. When it comes to exercising, 30-minute cardio sessions 4-5 times per week are more than enough to help you in your quest. If you work out, use the sauna when you end the training as it will help relieve muscle tension and any pain you might feel.

To maximize results, hydrate properly. Drink the right amount of water per day, and preferably sneak in a glass of alkaline water in the morning and one before you go to bed. Its superior hydrating capabilities make a big difference in weight loss efforts.

If you seek a budget-smart method to produce alkaline water, either make your own following these recipes or buy an alkaline water pitcher that you can have for cheap and delivers the same quality water more expensive systems do.

Does It Detoxify Your Body?

Yes and no! You will get rid of toxins, but not as some sources like to advertise. More effective than their traditional counterparts, infrared saunas do make you sweat out toxins. Only about 80% of the perspiration you release is water, the other approximately 20% consisting of fat-soluble toxins, uric acid, cholesterol, toxic heavy metals, and sodium, among others.

If you want to keep toxins out, aside from eating and living healthier, you should hydrate properly. Preferably, insert alkaline water into your diet for its added health benefits and superior hydration. You should also work to improve indoor air quality by solving pollution-related issues through the use of room air purifiers. In case you have low humidity or high humidity, use a humidifier or a dehumidifier as the situation asks. Only then can you rest assured knowing that you did your best to keep your body healthy and toxins out.

Can Infrared Saunas Be Harmful?

There are two concerns related to harmful sauna effects – one that is linked to improper use, and one that is connected to incompatibility with sauna use.

What risks are you potentially exposed to?

  • Dehydration: Drinking enough water is of the essence for your general well-being. When you use the sauna, you have to raise the bar and drink even more water as you will sweat more. Drink a glass of water before and after the session. Keep a bottle of water at hand to hydrate during the sweaty experience as well.
  • Want to learn more about proper hydration to make sure you ingest the right amount of water per day? Then read this article to find out how many glasses you should consume per day to be in the clear.

  • Dizziness: If you move too quickly during or after the session, you might experience lightheadedness. Avoid sudden movements to fend off this unwanted symptom. You should also lower temperatures and the duration of the sessions until you get better accustomed to the experience. If this is a recurring issue even after you lower temperature and duration, cease sauna use and consult a doctor as you may have a medical condition.
  • Overheating: Especially common with first-time users, this is an easily avoidable outcome if you simply take it slow. Don’t sit inside for more than 10-15 minutes at a time. Set the temperature at 110°F during the first few sessions to let your body accommodate.
  • Hypotension: If you already have low blood pressure or hypotension, the last thing you want to do is use the sauna as it further reduces blood pressure. Instead, consult your physician before you take any rushed decisions that might negatively impact your health later down the road.

Under what circumstance should I not use the sauna at all?

  • If you are pregnant;
  • If you suffer from neurological deficits;
  • If your immune system is weakened;
  • If you have open wounds;
  • If you are recovering from a surgical intervention;
  • Children and old adults should avoid use.

Note: If you fall into any of these categories, you can check with your doctor to see if it is possible in your specific circumstance to use the sauna or not as you might get clearance, depending on the issue at hand.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Sauna Session

  • Drink water before you get in, while you use the sauna, and after you finish the session. This way, you replace the water you use while sweating, as well as the lost potassium, maximizing health benefits as a result.
  • Sit up straight throughout the session, if you can. By doing so, you will absorb more infrared heat that normally as both the back and front sides are targeted by the heaters.
  • Cool down for 15 minutes after you finish the sweat session. Then, proceed to take a cold shower to prolong the relaxation perks that come with sauna use.
  • Want to maximize the fun and relaxation? Then jump in the pool after you shower and cool off further if you have one. The exercise you get when you swim doesn’t hurt either as you put your muscles at work in an entertaining manner.

  • Put the chromotherapy feature to good use in case the sauna has it. Each color light provides a specific health perk, so you are likely to go through all of them as time passes. Just don’t try them all in the same session as you won’t reap the benefits provided. Instead, let a specific color do its job for at least 5 minutes before you switch.
  • If you can, go in naked. Any clothing article, regardless of how thin it is, interferes with the ability of the infrared heat to penetrate the skin. Thus, if you go in without clothes on, you completely expose your skin to the heat and benefit from the healing properties to the fullest.

So…Are Infrared Saunas Worth It?

Yes, hands down, infrared saunas do make for smart investments when it comes to health and relaxation benefits. Moreover, with so many types of saunas to pick from, ranging from portable sit down infrared saunas that don’t cost much and that you relocate and store as you please, to outdoor saunas that cost more but provide a durable build that withstands weather elements, you are sure to find one that suits your needs and expectations. As you can see, there are a lot of perks to reap, and if you can indulge in sauna sessions from the comfort of your home, why not just do it. You deserve a little pampering, after all.

Maximize results, and look and feel better than ever by wearing a sauna vest during day-to-day activities. In most cases, you can even wear it when you are inside the actual sauna, doubling the beneficial effects of the sweat session.

Tobey Hunter
Tobey Hunter
Tobey is the editor-in-chief at Optima Institute, his prior experience as a niche product reviewer in air quality improvement systems helping shape his path to conduct thorough research toward selecting and analyzing products so that customers are satisfied with the provided recommendations. During his carrier, Tobey also gathered technical input that makes him well versed in understanding advancements in modern systems, helping readers in turn to better understand how modern devices help improve life quality.