Infrared saunas are rapidly replacing steam-based saunas as the number one choice for relaxing after a workout or cleansing the body through detoxifying sweat. However, those who haven’t yet experienced a calming infrared sauna session might wonder whether infrared saunas are safe. Let’s take a closer look at infrared saunas and their potential side effects, so you can feel confident when you step inside a sauna for the first time.

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What are Infrared Saunas?

Put simply, infrared saunas emit infrared heat to rapidly warm your body’s tissues and promote a number of healthy biological effects. People typically enjoy infrared saunas for the same reasons that they jump into traditional sauna sessions:

  • The increased heat relaxes the muscles and can help people unwind after a long day at work
  • The heat causes the body to sweat, which can help to cleanse the skin and the body of various toxins
  • Infrared saunas are typically enjoyed after a workout or swim to round off a session of intense physical activity

How Do Infrared Saunas Work?

As their name suggests, infrared saunas use infrared heat to warm bodily tissues. While infrared light cannot be seen by the naked eye, it can be felt by the body. Most infrared sauna users liken the experience to basking in sunshine.

Infrared light more quickly penetrates the skin and warms deeper bodily tissues, like muscles. Because of this, individuals can enjoy a faster and more thorough warming experience using infrared saunas as opposed to traditional steam saunas.

Are There Health Risks?

Any infrared sauna session necessarily involves warming your body’s core temperature rapidly in order to coax beneficial effects from its biological systems. When enjoyed properly, this does not incur any health risks.

However, infrared saunas can provide some negative side effects depending on whether you have pre-existing conditions and whether you use the sauna improperly.

Some studies report that regular infrared sauna use can lead to:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Mild to moderate heat discomfort
  • Light-headedness
  • Irritation
  • And more

However, all of these issues stem from a single core cause: increased body temperature and lack of appropriate cooling before and after the sauna session. In other words, most people who experience these negative side effects during or after an infrared sauna session overheat themselves. Therefore, anyone looking to enjoy an infrared sauna session must know how to do so correctly and safely.

How to Enjoy an Infrared Sauna Safely

Here are a few tips to help you enjoy your infrared sauna safely:

  • Cool Off Before & After. Since your body will heat up over the course of an infrared sauna session, you should avoid stepping into an infrared sauna if you are already quite warm. This advice is most important if you plan to enjoy a sauna session after a workout. Give your body some time to cool off before beginning your session.
  • Stay Hydrated. Stay hydrated before, during, and after your infrared sauna session. Take a bottle of water in with you to replace water that your body removes as it sweats.
  • Limit Session Times. Another good rule of thumb is to keep your sauna sessions limited, especially at first. Most people are comfortable with sessions between 10 minutes and 15 minutes when first trying infrared saunas. Most frequent sauna users enjoy this therapy about three times per week. Regardless of your experience level, you should never prolong an infrared sauna session for longer than 20 minutes

Who Should Avoid Infrared Saunas?

Some pre-existing conditions may make infrared saunas not recommended. You should avoid infrared saunas under some circumstances, such as:

  • Pregnancy
  • Hemophilia
  • Fever
  • Insensitivity to Heat
  • Alcohol Use/Abuse

When in doubt, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor about the potential benefits and risks associated with infrared saunas. They should be able to tell you whether they recommend the treatment as a relaxing activity for your needs.

Enjoy Your Own In-Home Infrared Sauna!

The good news is that infrared saunas are safe for most people. If you want to enjoy the benefits of an infrared sauna in your own home, explore the Clearlight® Clearlight Infrared Sauna models available at The Sauna Life today! We have options available for indoor and outdoor use as well as options ranging from cozy one-person saunas to 4-5 person saunas that are great for small groups.