Before you buy an infrared sauna for your home, you may have questions. Infrared saunas produce so many health benefits but there are also numerous misconceptions about them. Interested in getting an infrared sauna for your home or testing the experience? If so, you probably have dozens of questions that need to be answered.
The following FAQ section presents some of the most common inquiries about infrared saunas. Hopefully, it will help you find the information that you’re looking for.
As the name suggests, this sauna uses infrared light to heat the body. The infrared light spectrum is just below the spectrum of visible light. Infrared saunas produce something similar to the heat that the earth radiates. This heat is incredibly healthy and shortly, we’ll take a detailed look at the benefits.
An infrared sauna is different from the typical steam sauna. There’s no hot steam used to increase the core temperature of the body. The humidity inside the infrared sauna is lower. Some research suggests that the heating method used in infrared saunas reduces the risk of dangerous overheating.
Does it really detoxify the body?
Yes, one of the primary uses of infrared saunas is detoxification.
We live in a hectic and relatively “dirty” urban environment. The human body is subjected to all kinds of toxins. Many of these are stored inside the cells. This toxic load could potentially contribute to health problems down the line.
The infrared light generated by the sauna penetrates the skin and heats up the fat deposits. Many of the toxins are located there. As the fat starts to “melt,” the body’s natural detox mechanism is also activated. When a person sweats in an infrared sauna, many of the toxins are expelled. Learn more about sauna detoxification therapy here.
What other health benefits does the infrared sauna produce?
Infrared saunas can be used to do a lot more than detox. Research confirms several other very important health benefits.
Many bacteria aren’t particularly heat resistant. Regular sauna treatments make it a lot easier for the human body to combat pathogens. The infrared sauna aids the immune system. People that are currently struggling with a cold or flu, as well as healthy individuals, can enjoy the benefits.
Some evidence suggests that the infrared sauna is also beneficial for individuals that suffer from chronic pain conditions. People that have arthritis, for example, often find it much easier to cope with the pain after having an IR sauna treatment. Infrared saunas also promote faster weight loss and they are great for clearing the skin and having a much more radiant complexion.
Is there research proving the health benefits?
NASA research about the benefits of infrared sauna treatments took place in the 1960s. The researchers found out that IR saunas strengthen the cardiovascular system, which is particularly beneficial for astronauts who are about to go on a space mission.
Research also confirms that infrared saunas speed up weight loss. In one of the experiments, it became obvious that sauna procedures can contribute to amazing calorie burning (up to 500-800 calories in a 30-minute session).
Are there people who shouldn’t use an infrared sauna?
It’s a good idea to talk to a physician before buying an infrared sauna. As already mentioned, it can be used to improve health in a number of ways. However, there are a few people who should avoid them.
People that suffer from multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematous, hemophilia, certain infections and acute joint injuries need to talk to a physician before getting started with the infrared sauna treatments. The same applies to individuals that have any type of implant. If a physician finds the use of the sauna in such instances safe, it will be perfectly ok to enjoy the benefits of the treatment every once in a while.
Can I use an infrared sauna if I am pregnant or nursing?
Due to the rise in your body temperature in a sauna, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests skipping saunas and hot water baths during all three trimesters (source) of pregnancy. There is a risk that using a sauna at that time could potentially harm the baby.
There is absolutely no harm in using a sauna when breastfeeding. In fact, using a far-infrared sauna “is safe and effective for increasing lactation in breastfeeding mothers.” (source)
What should I do before entering the infrared sauna?
You may want to get your skin ready for the detox sweating that’s about to take place in the sauna. Dry brushing the skin right before entering the sauna is a really good idea. This simple procedure increases lymphatic cleansing, which produces an even more prominent detox effect.
Some people have also found out that having a shower right before entering the sauna intensifies the sweating.
You should drink a lot of water before entering the sauna. Bring a bottle of water with you inside. Sip on it throughout the session. Proper hydration makes it a lot easier for the body to flush out toxins. Learn more about how to use an infrared sauna here…
What’s the difference between the sauna heaters?
Carbon fiber and ceramic heaters are commonly used in infrared saunas. There are a few differences between the two varieties.
Ceramic heaters can last approximately 9,000 hours of operation before a replacement is required. They have a rod-like shape, which allows maximum disbursement of the infrared light. The surface area is usually small but since the ceramic element is enclosed in a reflective plate, the effectiveness of IR dissemination is increased. Ceramic heaters are the ones that will hear the sauna in the shortest amount of time.
Carbon fiber heaters have average life of 18,000 hours. These are very flexible and much more difficult to break than ceramic heaters. The flat surface ensures the evenness of heat distribution and it provides the same therapeutic benefits as ceramic heaters. Carbon fiber heaters require more time to increase the temperature in the sauna. The low wattage makes the heat gentler.
Choosing one variety or the other depends entirely on budget and individual preferences. Click here to see our recommendations.
How often can the infrared sauna be used?
Most people start by using the sauna every other day. The initial sessions should last 10 to 15 minutes. With time, this period can be increased to 30/40 minutes. One year will be required to completely detoxify the body from all of the accumulated toxins. After this initial period, infrared sauna use is recommended two to three times per week.
What temperature is best for me?
Traditional steam saunas operate at a higher temperature. Infrared saunas work in the range from 110 to 130 degrees. The temperature is more comfortable but as already mentioned, the infrared light penetrates the skin and allows for deeper heating.
People that are just getting started with infrared sauna procedures should first use the lower temperature settings. As the tolerance builds, the temperature can be increased. There are many protocols that recommend specific temperatures for specific goals. People that want to lose weight should use the sauna at a different temperature than the ones interested in chronic pain management.
Can children use the sauna?
Under parental supervision, an infrared sauna without experiencing any discomfort. It’s a good idea to start with five to 10 minute sessions at a lower temperature setting. In time, the duration of each session and the temperature can be increased.