6 Surprising Benefits of an Infrared Sauna

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Enjoying an infrared sauna can be a wonderful way to boost your overall health, particularly if you are limited in your abilities by injury or illness.

What is an Infrared Sauna?

An infrared sauna is a type of sauna that uses infrared radiation to create heat, rather than the traditional approach of hot stones and steam. A normal sauna will heat the air, which gradually heats your body, causing you to sweat, but infrared saunas can work more rapidly to heat the body, providing similar health effects. There is some debate over the safety of infrared saunas, but there is little evidence of any danger, aside from the basic side effects of overheating in any type of sauna. [1]

Unlike traditional saunas, infrared saunas can work much more quickly, heating the body within a matter of minutes. For those who want the effects of a sauna, without sitting in a sweltering room for thirty minutes, this is a popular option. While these saunas aren’t as widely available as traditional saunas, they are increasing in popularity. The two main types of the infrared sauna are far-infrared saunas and near-infrared lamp saunas. The former uses radiation waves on the far end of the infrared spectrum, while the latter uses waves that are better able to penetrate the body and heat it effectively. These near-infrared lamp saunas can heat the body without heating the air around you, which is more comfortable for some people.

Shot of the interiors of a sauna, with towels and a wooden bucket with a loofah

Saunas are a great way to unwind, relax, and warm up during cold weather. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Infrared Sauna Benefits

The most impressive benefits of an infrared sauna include the following:

Let us discuss them in detail below.

Heart Function

It is important to get your heart rate up at least 5 times a week if possible, but this is difficult if you are injured or ill. The heat of an infrared sauna will create similar conditions in your body, as though you were exercising, which can prevent various cardiovascular problems. [2]


These types of saunas generally have a relaxing effect on the body, as well as the muscles and joints, which can relieve the pain and discomfort of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. [3]

Skin Care

One of the main reasons people use infrared saunas is to eliminate toxins from the body and purify the body through sweating. This can also help to clear out the pores of the skin, cutting down on breakouts and irritation. [4]

Weight Loss

Not only does excess sweating eliminate water weight from the body, but raising your heart rate and circulation can boost the metabolism and increase your passive fat and calorie burning. [5]

Stress and Anxiety

People suffering from chronic stress and anxiety are often recommended to use infrared saunas, as it is a short and effective means of relieving anxiety in the body and mind, without the side effects of pharmaceuticals. [6]

Infrared Sauna Side Effects

There are some potential side effects to be aware of when it comes to infrared saunas, such as the following:

  • Dehydration
  • Heatstroke
  • Joint injury
  • Eczema

When you use this therapy, it will cause sweating, which is good – to a point. Eventually, your body will become dehydrated, which has many negative side effects. If your body becomes unable to cool itself, due to various diseases, these saunas can be dangerous and cause heatstroke. When it comes to joint injuries, heat can exacerbate inflammation and worsen the pain or discomfort.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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