Frequently asked questions

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1. Question: Is It Safe to take an Infrared Sauna Every Day?

Sauna-doctor's answer:

Is It Safe to take an Infrared Sauna Every Day?

Taking an infrared sauna every day is one of the best things you can do for your body and your overall health. The benefits of using a sauna regularly are numerous, and if you're in good general health, daily use can promote healing, improve blood circulation, increase your body's production of red blood cells, relax tired or stiff muscles and boost your immune system function. The key to using a sauna safely every day is keeping some critical tips in mind:

Tips for Using an Infrared Sauna Every Day

Preheat your infrared sauna. By letting it "warm up" before you get in, you'll increase its efficiency so that you'll break a sweat and get the detoxification benefits sooner. If you get in a cool sauna, you can spend up to a half hour with no benefits because you aren't sweating and your body isn't getting a sufficient amount of infrared heat.
Shower or bathe before your sauna, using water that is very warm. This can kick start your metabolism, intensifying the weight loss and detox benefits. Efficiency is the key to getting the most from using your sauna every day.

Sexy Woman in Sauna

Get naked or nearly naked when you use your sauna. Clothing partially blocks infrared waves, reducing the efficiency of your sauna. Clothes also prevent evaporation of sweat, which can lead to heat exhaustion or other problems. If you can't get in your infrared sauna naked, try wearing just a bathing suit.
Towel off frequently so that your body is encouraged to continue sweating. This also prevents the many toxins in your sweat from being reabsorbed into your skin. The result? Cleaner, clearer skin with less acne. (Keep in mind, however, that your acne may get worse for a few days before it gets better. Sauna use every day is a long-term approach.)
Start slowly and build. Don't make the mistake of hopping into an infrared sauna the first day and trying to stay in it for a half hour or more at a higher heat level. Start with gentle heat (38°-45° C) and build up to a high of 55°-60° over a few weeks. The same goes for time spent in the sauna – ten or fifteen minutes will be sufficient at first.

What Are the Benefits Of Daily Sauna Use?

As mentioned earlier, spending time in the sauna every day can increase your metabolism, boost immune system function, clear up acne and help you relax. Some other benefits include improved sleep – if you take a sauna at least four hours before you go to bed each day, you'll soon discover that you fall asleep more quickly and will get a deeper, more restful sleep each night.

Your body will become more efficient at everything from producing more healthy red blood cells to sweating out grime and body toxins such as heavy metals. You will soon begin to feel more energetic and focused.

Finally, combining daily exercise with using a sauna every day is a great way to give your health a powerful boost. Exercising before you get in the sauna will maximize the effects of the infrared sauna because you're jump starting your metabolism and fat burn. You'll soon see impressive results in how you feel and look, proving that every day sauna use is a great way to stay healthy.

2. Question: What are the main benefits of infrared sauna?

Sauna-doctor's answer:

As you might know, sweating is a great way to burn calories and rid your body of unwanted toxins. But how do you sweat when you’re injured, or unable to exercise?

I like to sweat in an infrared sauna. Infrared saunas help your body release a number of toxins, including heavy metals like mercury and lead, and environmental chemicals. The benefits don’t stop there. With infrared sauna technology, you can also lose weight, relax, relieve unwanted pain, increase your circulation, and purify your skin.

6 Benefits of Infrared Sauna Therapy

1. Detoxification

Sweating is one of the body’s most natural ways to eliminate toxins, making it a crucial part of detoxification. When compared to traditional Swedish saunas, infrared saunas allow you to eliminate about seven times more toxins.

2. Relaxation

Infrared sauna therapy promotes relaxation by helping to balance your body’s level of cortisol, your body’s primary stress hormone. The heat generated by the sauna will also help to relax muscles and relieve tension throughout the body, allowing you to relax and de-stress.

3. Pain Relief

If you suffer from muscle aches or joint pain, infrared saunas can relieve this form of inflammation by increasing circulation and relaxing your muscles.

4. Weight Loss

The heat generated by an infrared sauna will cause your core temperature to increase, which can also lead to an increased heart rate — the same increase in heart rate that you experience when exercising. When your body has to work harder to lower your core temperature or keep up with an increased heart rate, your body will burn more calories, resulting in weight loss. An article, titled effect of sweating, in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that a 30-minute infrared sauna session could burn roughly 600 calories.

5. Improved Circulation

As the heat from infrared saunas increases your core body temperature, your circulation will increase along with it. Consistent infrared sauna sessions, especially in the middle-infrared level, can stimulate blood flow, improve muscle recovery, and decrease pain and inflammation after intense exercise.

6. Skin Purification

Infrared sauna technology can help purify your skin by eliminating toxins from your pores and increasing circulation, resulting in clearer, softer, and healthier-looking skin.

Infrared Levels

Infrared sauna treatments may be available at different levels: near, middle, and far.

These different levels represent the different sizes in infrared wavelengths and refer to the intensity of the treatment. Most people find that:

  • near-infrared levels are best for wound healing and increased immune function
  • middle-infrared levels are ideal for increasing circulation and promoting muscle relaxation
  • far-infrared levels are used primarily for detoxification purposes

My Recommendations

If you’re new to infrared saunas, I would recommend starting out with 10-minute sessions at 40-50  degrees Celcius and slowly working your way up to 15- to 30-minute sessions.

If an infrared sauna is not available, but you have access to a regular sauna, you can still achieve some degree of detoxification with 10- to 20-minute sessions at 70 - 90  degrees Celcius.

3. Question: Do you have some tips how to use an infrared sauna

Sauna-doctor's answer:

Here a few must-know tips when using an infrared sauna :

  • Ensure that you are adequately hydrated prior to using the sauna. This means that you should drink. Please drink water. Your infrared sauna will assist in weight loss, but it's not a good idea to replenish the lost calories with high-calorie drinks. Drink water.
  • Most people allow their sauna ten to fifteen minutes to reach the desired temperature when they turn it on. You can start using the cabin during the time when it is heating up. This allows your body to get used to the increased temperature.
  • You can open the front door a bit or open the ceiling vent to allow fresh air to enter. You will continue to enjoy the infrared sauna benefits even while fresh air is circulating through your sauna.
  • Place towels on the bench seat and under your feet to absorb perspiration and maintain the cleanliness and hygiene of the unit.
  • Limit the use of lotions or oils prior to using the sauna, as these products block pores and limit perspiration.

4. Question: Are there any harmful side effects of regular infrared sauna use?

Sauna-doctor's answer:

The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) released a statement on Far Infrared Exposure in 2006. The ICNIRP statement on the biological effects of infrared radiation (IR) indicates that thermal injury (heat) is the dominant risk. Thermal (heat) injuries will depend on the wavelength (or color, if it could be seen) of the IR lights. IR light may cause thermal injury even if you do not feel pain for certain types of IR light exposure.

Hyperpigmentation, scaling, and telangiectasias (erythema ab igne) may occur from repeated IR exposures of elevated temperatures, even if the skin is not burned. Skin cancer is not expected from exposure to IR. However, increased skin temperature can reduce DNA repair efficiency, and promote skin cancer that is initiated by other agents. Skin thickness may also increase due to repeated IR exposures. Ultraviolet light is associated with photo aging of skin, and it is not specifically reported in association with IR light.

If the IR light is >1,500 nm, it is unlikely there will be any effects on the retina but damage to the cornea due to thermal heating could occur. The lens of the eye could possibly accrue damage due to elevated temperatures, leading to cataracts.

Additionally, one must be careful to not overcome the thermoregulatory mechanism of your body. It is possible to cause serious injury to a person by overheating when exposed to IR.

The ICNIRP does not address “IR saunas” but does address IR cabins. They note that there have been no reported cases of erythema ab igne from typical use, but cautions that there have been no controlled studies of saunas or IR cabins.

Overall, if the facility complies with ICNIRP limits, one would expect that no injuries would occur. The ICNIRP recommendations are rather complex to those unfamiliar with nonionizing radiation, and a person with expertise in this field should be consulted for compliance. 

Thomas E. Johnson, Associate Professor
Colorado State University