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Infrared Versus Traditional Saunas: How Does An Infrared Sauna Compare?

Apr 10, 2008
A relatively new type of sauna has emerged in recent years. Unlike traditional saunas that use wood or electric stoves to heat the air, this type uses an infrared heater. With infrared, the people and objects are heated rather than the air.

Because the air is not heated, infrared heaters can be used anywhere, even outdoors, and still heat effectively. Infrared saunas are enclosed for the simple reason that people may be more comfortable in an enclosure than in an open space.

Infrared is actually a frequency band of light that is invisible to the human eye. The heat from infrared is sometimes called Infrared Radiation (IR), which is very different from Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation that causes sunburn or radiation damage. Most of the heat that warms the earth is IR from the sun, and the earth and even the human body gives off IR.

Health Benefits:

Proponents of infrared saunas claim greater therapeutic properties than traditional saunas. The health benefits of traditional saunas include alleviating pain and stiffness from arthritis and cleansing the skin. In addition, the steam of traditional saunas can be helpful in relieving respiratory problems such as congestion and bronchitis.

Infrared saunas generate no steam so they are less effective in relieving breathing problems. When it comes to building up a sweat and easing the pain of arthritis, though, infrared saunas are similar to traditional saunas. Unique healing properties are associated with IR that cannot be found in the radiant heat used in conventional types. Proponents of IR say that it penetrates the body's internal organs and muscular tissues allowing toxins to be released and the immune system to be strengthened.

Some of these claims may be exaggerated since there is little medical research to support them. There is no doubt, however, that saunas are beneficial for some medical conditions, and infrared saunas may have unique healing properties. There is no particular danger associated with infrared saunas, and users should simply take the same precautions as they normally would.


There are a number of advantages of infrared saunas over traditional models. Since they operate at a lower heat, some people may find them more comfortable. The lower heat also means greater energy efficiency, making IR saunas are cheaper to operate. Infrared saunas heat up much faster too, another factor that reduces operating costs.

Traditional saunas create hot, dry air which some people find uncomfortable to breathe. Since IR saunas only heat people and objects, the air quality will be similar both inside and outside the sauna. Infrared saunas do not use any water. This makes them more portable and easier to install and eliminates the problems of bacterial build-up that can occur in damp areas.


Some people say that IR saunas do not provide the feelings of relaxation and refreshment of a conventional sauna. The lack of steam in an IR unit may be an advantage or disadvantage depending on your preference. Steam can be useful for relieving respiratory problems, but very dry air is uncomfortable for some people to breathe. A sauna purist would say that IR saunas are not real ones. For those who love the rituals and preparation that are associated with conventional saunas, an IR unit just does not feel right.


Any type of sauna has beneficial effects. They are relaxing and make the skin feel clean and smooth. Whether or not they can be useful in the treatment of disease remains an open question, but many people swear by their therapeutic qualities. Some of the medical claims made for infrared saunas border on quackery, but there may indeed be some special benefits in IR therapy. Infrareds can be easier to use and cheaper to install, and may have additional health benefits over conventional models. All are good reasons to at least give them a try.
About the Author
For more information about how to get a home sauna and how it can provide a simple and enjoyable way to improve your overall health visit http://www.the-home-sauna-center.com
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