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Infrared Sauna Benefits for Athletic Performance (Plus Safety and Side Effects)

infrared sauna benefits

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Infrared saunas have been gaining popularity in recent years as a natural therapeutic and relaxing way to improve overall health, skin and well-being as it offers various benefits for humans of all ages.

So, as you have already understood, in this article, we will explore what an infrared sauna is, how it works, and its potential benefits.

Sit back, relax, and get ready to learn exclusive information about infrared saunas, as well as some other interesting facts you may not know!

Infrared Sauna Benefits

What is an Infrared Sauna and How Does it Work?

An infrared sauna is a type of sauna that usually uses infrared waves to heat the body directly rather than heating the air in the room like a regular sauna.

This creates a more comfortable environment than a traditional sauna, which can be uncomfortably hot and humid. Infrared saunas can be used at home or in spas and gyms.

Infrared saunas use a type of light called far infrared radiation (FIR) to produce heat. FIR is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is invisible to the naked eye but can be felt as heat.

Unlike traditional saunas, which heat the air around the body, infrared saunas use FIR to penetrate the skin and heat the body directly.

When the body absorbs FIR, it causes the body’s core temperature to rise, which induces sweating.

Sweating is the body’s natural way of regulating temperature and flushing out toxins. The heat generated by the FIR also promotes circulation, which helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the body’s tissues.

In addition to that, infrared saunas produce lower temperatures than traditional saunas, typically ranging from 120°F to 140°F.

Infrared Sauna Benefits

The lower temperature and dry heat make it more tolerable for people who have trouble breathing in the hot, humid air of traditional saunas. Infrared saunas can also be used for longer periods, typically ranging from 20 to 45 minutes.

Moreover, there are three types of infrared saunas: near-infrared, mid-infrared, and far-infrared.

Near-infrared saunas use the shortest wavelengths and penetrate the skin the deepest, while far-infrared saunas use the longest wavelengths and penetrate the skin the least.

Mid-infrared saunas fall somewhere in between. Each type of sauna has its unique benefits and can be used to target specific health concerns.

Infrared Sauna Benefits

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List of All the Benefits of Infrared Saunas

The benefits of infrared saunas are several and some of them are very beneficial. That’s a good reason people choose infrared saunas instead of the traditional ones. So, let’s have a look at the most important infrared sauna benefits:

  • Pain relief: The heat generated by infrared saunas can help to reduce inflammation and calm your pain. This type of sauna has been used to treat conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis and muscle soreness that usually happen to athletes.
  • Detoxification: Infrared saunas can also help to eliminate toxins from the body through sweat. Sweating is a natural way to eliminate harmful toxins, heavy metals, and other impurities from the human body.
  • Skin purification: The heat of the sauna can help to improve the appearance and health of the skin by increasing blood flow and eliminating toxins.
  • Relaxation and stress relief: Infrared saunas can promote relaxation and decrease stress by increasing the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural “painkillers” and mood boosters.
  • Improved circulation: Blood flow and oxygenation are important to the body’s tissues. Infrared saunas help to improve cardiovascular health, reduce blood pressure and inflammation, and promote healing.
  • Weight loss: Burning calories and boosting metabolism is another great benefit of infrared saunas. The heat generated by the sauna can increase heart rate and calorie burn, similar to exercise.
  • Improved sleep: The relaxation and stress-relieving benefits mentioned above also help you to improve your sleep quality during the night.
  • Immune system support: It improves the immune system support of our bodies when we face illness and viruses which is a common issue these days. Increasing white blood cell production, helps our immune systems fight infections and diseases in a better way.

These eight tips were the main health benefits that people usually get from an infrared sauna session.

Also, note down that these benefits are not the same for all people because some people might have health issues like high blood pressure so they need to avoid sauna.

infrared sauna therapy

Why You Should Be Spending Time in an Infrared Sauna

Staying in an infrared sauna for an extended period can have several benefits, such as increased sweating, improved circulation, and enhanced relaxation. However, it is important to be cautious and not overdo it, as staying in an infrared sauna for too long can also have risks.

When staying longer in a sauna, it’s critical to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your session. It’s also important to listen to your body and exit the sauna if you start feeling dizzy or lightheaded.

If you are a beginner to saunas or have any underlying health conditions, it’s recommended that you start with shorter sessions and gradually work up to longer periods as your body adapts to the heat.

Furthermore, it’s always a good idea to consult with your healthcare professional or a doctor before starting sauna sessions.

Infrared Sauna vs Traditional Saunas

To encourage relaxation, increase circulation, and purify the body, saunas have been around for hundreds of years.

A variety of saunas, including infrared saunas, dry saunas and traditional steam saunas, are now available thanks to technological improvements.

Although they both have similar health advantages, saunas differ in several ways. To assist you in deciding which sauna is best for your needs, we will compare the characteristics and advantages of infrared saunas and regular saunas in more detail.

So let’s have a look at the features of infrared saunas in comparison with regular saunas use:

Infrared Sauna Bathing:

    • Uses infrared heaters to directly heat the body

    • Typically ranges from 120-140°F

    • Easy to install, can be portable or pre-built

    • Lower operating costs due to lower temperature

    • Improves circulation, detoxification, and relaxation

    • Requires less space, suitable for smaller homes

    • Minimal maintenance required

    • Lower priced, starting from $2,000

Traditional Sauna Bathing:

    • Uses heated rocks to indirectly heat the air

    • Typically ranges from 150-195°F

    • Requires professional installation and wiring

    • Higher operating costs due to high temperature

    • Similar benefits plus potential respiratory benefits

    • Requires more space, suitable for larger homes

    • Regular maintenance required

    • Higher priced, starting from $4,000

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Improve Recovery and Circulation with Infrared Saunas

Infrared sauna’s health benefits can offer a couple of blessings to the human body so it is important to get to know how you can improve your recovery and circulation with infrared saunas:

Reduced Inflammation

By lowering body inflammation, infrared saunas can hasten the healing of injuries and offer sore muscles relief. Infrared saunas help to deliver oxygen and nutrients to injured tissues through improved blood flow and circulation, which promotes healing and lessens pain.

Enhanced Muscle Redevelopment

By increasing blood flow to the muscles, infrared saunas may help in improving muscle recovery. By delivering nutrients to the muscles, this improved circulation lessens soreness and speeds up recovery.

Improved Heart Health

Improved circulation can help reduce the risk of heart disease by improving blood pressure in the heart and reducing the risk of blood clots.


Additionally, the infrared heat from the sauna encourages relaxation, which is crucial for healing. Your body can focus on healing and repair when you’re at ease, which can shorten recovery times.

Tips for using Infrared Saunas

Using an infrared sauna can be a stressful task in the beginning especially if you are new. However, there is nothing to worry about because here are five tips for using infrared saunas safely and effectively:

  • Hydrate: It’s important to drink plenty of water before and after using an infrared sauna to stay hydrated and replenish fluids lost through sweat.
  • Start Slow: If you’re new to infrared saunas, start with shorter sessions and lower temperatures to allow your body to adjust to the heat.
  • Avoid Alcohol: Avoid drinking alcohol before or during sauna use, as it can dehydrate you and increase the risk of overheating.
  • Don’t Overdo It: Limit sauna sessions to no more than 30 minutes at a time and no more than 2-3 sessions per week to avoid overexposure to infrared radiation.
  • Listen to Your Body: If you feel lightheaded, dizzy, or uncomfortable during infrared sauna sessions, exit the sauna immediately and cool down.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you use the infrared sauna safely and effectively to maximize its potential benefits for recovery and circulation.

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infrared sauna therapy

Risks of Infrared Saunas

While there are many potential advantages for healing and circulation associated with infrared saunas, there are some risks as well.

Here are some possible dangers associated with using an infrared sauna:

Dehydration: Using a sauna can increase sweating, and if fluids are not replaced, dehydration may result. Long-term exposure to high temperatures can lead to overheating, which can cause symptoms like nausea, dizziness, and lightheadedness.

Skin Irritation: People with sensitive skin may experience skin irritation from the heat and sweat in a sauna.

People with medical devices: For people who use medical devices is essential to consult their doctors before using an infrared sauna as the radiation emitted may interfere with certain medical devices like pacemakers.

Pregnancy: It is also important to note that pregnant women should stay away from infrared saunas because the heat can be harmful to their pregnancy.

infrared sauna therapy

Facts and Myths About Infrared Saunas

Facts and myths exist in every aspect of life, and this includes infrared sauna treatments, features and how they work in general.

So, let’s find out which are the most popular myths and which are facts about infrared saunas:

Myths About Infrared Saunas

Diseases can be cured by infrared saunas: While infrared saunas may be useful for treating some conditions, they cannot treat diseases. This statement is not correct at all because people with problems such as chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome can benefit them on many occasions.

They help you lose weight: While using a sauna may cause a temporary loss of weight due to water retention, doing so is not a sustainable method of weight loss.

They are dangerous: The use of infrared saunas can cause serious health problems. This is definitely a myth that is not true because infrared sauna bathing is not dangerous if you know how to use it for your own good.

Facts about Infrared Saunas

Direct heat: Unlike typical saunas that heat the air around the body, infrared saunas heat the body directly using infrared radiation.

Relaxation: They help you relax, reduce inflammation and improve circulation.

Risk-free: When used properly, infrared saunas are generally risk-free, but they can cause skin irritation, dehydration, and overheating.

Pain relief: People with ailments like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain may benefit from using infrared saunas.

infrared sauna therapy

Infrared Sauna Safety and Potential Side Effects

Before starting with the safety tips and potential side effects, it is important to note that infrared saunas are generally safe for most people when used properly.

To reduce the risk of side effects, there are a few precautions that should be followed when using heat therapy of any kind.


Dehydration is one possible side effect of using an infrared sauna. This might happen because using an infrared sauna can make you sweat more than usual.

Sweating is the body’s natural way of cooling down. It’s important to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your sauna session to avoid dehydration.

In conclusion, both traditional saunas and infrared saunas offer various health benefits, such as relaxation, improved circulation, and pain relief. However, when it comes to heating mechanisms and the heat they produce they are different. Infrared saunas use radiant heat to warm the body directly, while traditional saunas use heated air to warm the whole room. Ultimately, the choice between infrared and traditional saunas may come down to personal preference and individual health needs and wants.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can Infrared Light Harm Your Eyes?

Yes, prolonged infrared light exposure can be bad for your eyes. The retina, which is the area of the eye that is most sensitive to light, can be harmed by infrared radiation.

The harm may be irreversible and result in vision loss. If you work in a field where infrared radiation is frequently present, such as in the welding or laser industries, you should take precautions to avoid overexposing your eyes to it.

Eye damage can be avoided by wearing safety goggles made to block out infrared radiation.

What does an infrared sauna do for your body?

Your body can gain from using an infrared sauna in several ways, starting with stress relief and relaxation.

Deep body penetration of infrared heat helps in muscle relaxation and tension release. This may promote serenity and contribute to lowering stress levels.

How often should you use an infrared sauna?

Your health objectives and physical condition will determine how frequently you use an infrared sauna.

However, it is generally advised to visit an infrared sauna two to three times per week for optimal results. In particular, if you’re new to sauna therapy, it’s crucial to pay attention to your body and avoid overdoing it.

Does an infrared sauna burn fat?

No, there is no evidence to suggest that an infrared sauna directly burns fat. However, it can indirectly help people in their weight loss efforts when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise routine by increasing metabolic rate and promoting relaxation.

Does infrared sauna detox the body?

Yes, there is some evidence to support the idea that infrared sauna may aid in the body’s detoxification process by encouraging sweating, which aids in the skin’s ability to rid the body of toxins.

What happens if you use an infrared sauna every day?

If not used properly, the daily use of an infrared sauna can result in dehydration, overheating, and other health risks. It’s crucial to stick to the manufacturer’s guidelines and follow the suggested time limits for sauna sessions.

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