Infrared Sauna Vs Steam Sauna – Which Is Better To Use?

infrared vs steam sauna

Saunas have long been valued for their therapeutic benefits and as a means of relaxation. These heat-based environments have been utilized for centuries across various cultures, with people seeking their soothing and revitalizing effects. Traditionally, steam saunas have been the go-to option, providing a steam-filled chamber that induces sweating and promotes a sense of well-being.

However, in recent years, the popularity of infrared saunas, also known as far-infrared saunas, has been on the rise, sparking a debate on which type of sauna is better. In this article, we will delve into the world of saunas and explore the key differences between infrared saunas and steam saunas to determine which option might be more suitable for your needs.

What Is an Infrared Sauna?

An infrared sauna, also known as a far-infrared sauna, utilizes infrared light to generate heat. It operates on a different principle compared to a traditional steam sauna. Instead of warming the surrounding air, infrared saunas employ specialized infrared lamps that emit electromagnetic radiation. This infrared light directly penetrates the skin and heats the body’s tissues, providing a deep, penetrating warmth that promotes sweating and various potential benefits. Infrared saunas are often designed with panels that emit these infrared rays, enveloping the user in a gentle, radiant heat that is believed to penetrate more deeply into the body compared to the heated air of a steam sauna.

Unlike steam saunas, which typically operate at higher temperatures ranging from 150˚F to 180˚F, infrared saunas can achieve therapeutic effects at lower temperatures, usually between 120˚F and 140˚F. This lower operating temperature is particularly appealing for individuals who find the extreme heat of steam saunas uncomfortable or intolerable. Despite the reduced temperature, individuals using infrared saunas often note a heightened perspiration experience as a result of the direct heat applied to their bodies. This combination of lower temperature and increased sweating capacity makes infrared saunas an attractive option for those seeking the benefits of sauna therapy in a more tolerable environment.

What Are the Benefits of Infrared Sauna?

Advocates of infrared saunas claim that the heat generated by infrared light penetrates more deeply into the body compared to traditional saunas. This deep penetration is believed to provide a range of potential benefits. Several frequently mentioned advantages of utilizing an infrared sauna comprise:


Perspiration is the body’s innate mechanism for eliminating toxins. Infrared saunas are believed to aid in detoxification by promoting sweating, which can help remove toxins, heavy metals, and other impurities from the body.
Relaxation and Stress Relief – Spending time in an infrared sauna can promote relaxation, reduce stress levels, and contribute to an overall sense of well-being. The comforting warmth can assist in relieving muscle tension and fostering a feeling of tranquility.

Improved Circulation

The warmth generated by an infrared sauna has the potential to expand blood vessels, resulting in enhanced blood circulation. This increased blood flow can provide various benefits, including better nutrient delivery to tissues, improved oxygenation, and enhanced overall cardiovascular health.

Pain Relief

Many individuals find relief from muscle aches, joint pain, and stiffness when using an infrared sauna. The profound heat permeates the muscles and joints, aiding in the reduction of pain and facilitating the process of healing.

Skin Health

The radiant heat from infrared saunas can improve skin health by promoting circulation, flushing out impurities, and improving the appearance of the skin. Regular use of an infrared sauna may result in clearer, tighter skin and a more youthful complexion.

Which Is Better Between Infrared Sauna Vs Regular Sauna?

Determining which type of sauna is better, whether an infrared sauna or a regular steam sauna, largely depends on personal preferences and desired benefits. Both options have their unique characteristics.

Infrared saunas offer the advantage of a lower operating temperature while still providing deep, penetrating heat. This lower temperature makes it more tolerable for individuals who find high heat uncomfortable. Additionally, the direct heating of the body in infrared saunas results in a more intense sweat, allowing users to stay in the sauna for longer durations.

In contrast, conventional steam saunas are renowned for their elevated temperatures and levels of humidity. The steam produced by pouring water on heated rocks creates a moist environment, which some individuals find invigorating and refreshing. Steam saunas are often favored for their ability to induce a deep sense of relaxation and the feeling of cleansing through sweating.

Regarding the potential health benefits, both infrared saunas and steam saunas are thought to provide possible advantages. However, it is important to note that the scientific evidence supporting these benefits is limited, and more extensive research is needed to establish definitive conclusions. Some studies have explored the effects of saunas on various health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart failure, arthritis, and more. However, these studies have often encompassed both infrared and traditional saunas, making it difficult to isolate the specific benefits of each type.

Infrared Saunas Offers A Unique Experience

Saunas, whether infrared or steam, have been utilized for centuries and are known to provide numerous potential benefits for health and well-being. Infrared saunas offer a unique experience by directly heating the body with infrared light, resulting in intense sweating at lower temperatures. The potential benefits of infrared saunas include detoxification, relaxation, improved circulation, pain relief, and skin health.

However, it is important to remember that more extensive research is needed to fully understand and confirm the specific advantages of infrared saunas compared to traditional steam saunas. Saunas, in general, can contribute positively to overall health and well-being, and the choice between infrared and traditional saunas ultimately depends on personal preferences and desired experiences.

Prior to integrating sauna usage into your regular routine, it is recommended to seek advice from a healthcare professional, particularly if you have any pre-existing health conditions. They can offer tailored guidance and ensure that sauna usage is both safe and suitable for your individual circumstances.

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