One of the best feelings is finishing up a swim, or a gym session, and heading to the sauna. It helps you relax after a workout, but let's be honest, you don't need an excuse to have a sauna. Your muscles feel rested and the heat helps relieve sore muscles. Not only this but saunas are known to help your overall health and wellbeing. The only problem is they can be pretty hot! If you're one that can't handle the heat then maybe the option of an infrared sauna might be of interest. But what are the pros and cons of an infrared sauna?

What Is An Infrared Sauna?

Traditional saunas heat the air around you, whereas an infrared sauna uses infrared lamps to warm your body directly. They do this using electromagnetic radiation. The infrared panels used instead of conventional heat penetrates human tissue which heats the body up before heating the air. This means the infrared sauna operates at a lower temperature, usually between 120-140°F. A conventional sauna is usually between 150-180°F.
This infrared heat penetrates more deeply than just warm air. The professionals from explain that this will allow you to spend more time and experience a more intense sweat at a lower temperature. The environment is more tolerable and also allows your core body temperature to rise a few degrees.

What Are The Pros Of An Infrared Sauna?

There are a few supposed benefits of using an infrared sauna and they're similar to those that are experienced with a traditional sauna.
Sleep will tend to be better when using a sauna regularly. It helps get the body into a relaxed state and helps the muscles rest properly. With this comes a feeling of relaxation due to the heat. It also helps improve circulation, expels chemicals & dirt and removes dead skin cells from your body and from your skin. This makes a sauna ideal for detoxification and with it comes an immune system boost.
The high temperatures in the sauna help lower your blood pressure whilst also increasing your blood circulation. It burns calories as it raises your metabolism and makes your heart beat faster. The blood flow is diverted from the inner organs to the skin as the heart rate increases. With a faster metabolism, it means saunas are good for weight loss.
With this increased blood flow, the introduction of more blood helps aching and injured muscles recover faster. Because the flow of blood is stronger, the metabolic and toxic waste products are purged from the body much faster. Our skin is responsible for eliminating up to 30% of body waste, giving it the nickname, the third kidney.
Not only does it help with aching muscles, but it also helps with joint pain and has been known to treat conditions such as arthritis. The intense heat doesn't just help with muscles and joints, it is a good helper for people with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Saunas have been around for years, centuries even and have been used for all sorts of health conditions. There are many studies that concentrate on the benefits of traditional saunas but there aren't many that concentrate on infrared saunas.

What Are The Cons Of An Infrared Sauna?

Whilst there are many benefits of using an infrared sauna, there are also a few negative reasons. Much like anything, there are pros and cons, we need to decide whether it's worth the risks or not.
Starting with something a little simpler, using a sauna can cause some heat discomfort when used for elongated periods of time. This can then cause light-headedness which can be uncomfortable.
Whilst lowering your blood pressure will be good for some people, others it won't be. Using saunas can lower your blood pressure to a state of hypotension which comes with a whole host of symptoms including dizziness, nausea, fatigue, depression, blurry vision and even loss of consciousness. Other negatives of an infrared sauna include transient leg pain and airway irritation.
There has been one study that found continuous use of an infrared sauna, which included 2 sessions a week for 3 months, consisting of 15-minute sessions. The results of the study showed that males demonstrated an impairment of sperm count and motility.
If using a sauna is something you've always enjoyed doing but don't like the thought of changing up some air heat for electromagnetic radiation then stick to what you're doing. There are plenty of health benefits to be had either way so it might not be a bad idea, there might be some negatives to using the infrared sauna for elongated periods of time but there's nothing saying once in a while will cause you any harm. Treat yourself to something you deserve, either at the gym or at home, and let your muscles relax.


Daria Brown