Ever Heard of Infrared Sauna? The Pros & Cons

Although strenuous exercise such as jogging, cycling, or strength training is frequently linked with a good sweat session, you may also warm up while resting and rejuvenating in an infrared sauna. Infrared saunas are a popular alternative for individuals searching for a more relaxed method to heat their bodies. They are known for alleviating tight muscles, enhancing sleep, and promoting general relaxation. While infrared saunas are generally regarded as safe, certain hazards are linked with their use. Before you get dressed and head in for a brief session, here’s what you should know.

Significance of infrared sauna

If you enjoy dry heat, you’ve probably visited a conventional sauna. The temperature in these saunas is typically adjusted between 180°F and 200°F (82.2°C and 93.3°C) to heat the air around you.

The North American Sauna Society stated that electric sauna heaters are used in the mainstream of saunas found in homes and businesses. On the other hand, the infrared sauna is gaining popularity because it employs radiation of electromagnetism from infrared lights to heat the body directly rather than atmosphere heating.

According to Dr. Fran Cook-Bolden, MD, FAAD, of Advanced Dermatology P.C., infrared saunas raise your core body temperature to roughly 150°F (66°C). This sort of heat, according to Cook-Bolden, is thought to affect and mend deep tissue as well as cleanse by sweating through your pores.

Adverse side effects of infrared sauna

The advantages of utilizing an infrared sauna are considerable, including improved relaxation and sleep. Sore muscle relief is said to be at the top of the list.

Sauna usage has been linked to the following unfavorable indications and symptoms, according to a 2018 technical review:

  • Mild to moderate uncomfortable heat
  • Airway irritation
  • Light-headedness
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Transient leg pain

In a small 2013 study, sperm count and motility were affected by uninterrupted exposure to a sauna, which consisted of two 15-minute sauna sessions per week for three months.

Dr. Ashish Sharma, a certified internal board physician and hospitalist, also warned about the risks of sauna use at Yuma Regional Medical Center.

When used for a lengthy amount of time, the dry heat produced by an infrared sauna can cause overheating, dehydration, and even heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

When to avoid infrared saunas

Infrared saunas are generally thought to be safe for the majority of individuals. You should be cautious if you’re on medicine, have medical devices installed, or have a condition, whether chronic or acute.

Before undergoing any high heat exposure, Cook-Bolden recommends consulting with your healthcare practitioner.

These factors, according to Cook-Bolden, make persons more prone to overheating and dehydration:

  • low B.P. (blood pressure)
  • consuming medications, such as a drug that lowers blood pressure, diuretics, or medications lead to dizziness
  • having kidney disease

The conditions indicated in this section, while not exhaustive, merit circumventing infrared sauna usage or obtaining approval from a healthcare specialist.

  • Issues with motor function and nerves. Cook-Bolden notes that if you have neurological deficiencies, your capacity to feel and respond to the amount of heat may be compromised, putting you at risk for burn and heat injuries.
  • Things to think about if you’re expecting a child. If you’re pregnant, don’t use the sauna unless your doctor has permitted you.
  • Age-related factors avoid utilizing a sauna if you have any impairments related to impairments. This includes seniors, who are more susceptible to disorientation and dehydration from dry heat, resulting in falls. Before using an infrared sauna, have a conversation with your child’s doctor.
  • An immune system that is weak or weakened. If your immune system is relatively weak, Cook-Bolden recommends contacting the facility to ensure that it is well-maintained and follows industry-standard cleaning practices and procedures. Following that, speak with your professional healthcare expert to obtain permission to utilize the facility.
  • Wounds that have not healed. If your wounds are open or are recuperating from surgery, you should wait until they are healed before continuing. Then, before obtaining infrared sauna treatments, speak with the physician to receive authorization.
  • Cardiovascular issue. “People who have cardiovascular issues or underlying cardiac arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation must see their physician before utilizing a sauna,” Sharma advises. Sauna usage might raise heart rate and lead to arrhythmia.

If the hazards exceed the advantages, Sharma points out that the benefits of the sauna are primarily due to sweating and elevated heart rate or any physiological effects, which are similar to the physiological effects of moderate exercise.

“If you can’t stand the heat or don’t have access to an infrared sauna near your location,” he says, “you may obtain similarly — and even better — health advantages by undertaking aerobic and empowering training activities.”

Tips for using an infrared sauna

It’s crucial to follow the basic recommendations for safe use whether you’re experiencing infrared sauna at a spa, home, or health club. Here are a few pointers to help you get started.

Obtain medical approval. Although there is evidence that treating infrared sauna can be helpful, Cook-Bolden advises that you consult with your healthcare physician before utilizing the sauna. This is especially true if you have a medical condition that might disqualify you.

Avoid consuming alcoholic beverages. Drinking alcohol before using a sauna can lead to hyperthermia, heatstroke, dehydration, and heat exhaustion. “It’s advisable to avoid alcohol intake beforehand due to its dehydrating effect,” Cook-Bolden advises.

Ensure you drink lots of water. Drink water in significant quantities before entering the sauna throughout the conference — especially if you begin to feel thirsty, light-headed, or if you start sweating excessively — and after you leave.

Begin with short sessions. Start with a short conference that lasts 10–15 minutes. As you become more comfortable, increase the length of each session until it reaches 20 minutes. Three sessions per week appear to be the typical quantity for most people, depending on their sauna access and overall objective.

If your skin is inflamed, don’t use it. If your skin is sensitive and has a condition like eczema that might irritate, Cook-Bolden recommends waiting a few days before exposing your skin.

Pay focus on specific signs and symptoms. Stop your session immediately if you suffer light-headedness or dizziness. According to Sharma, this might be a dehydration indication or other medical issues. If symptoms don’t go away, he advises getting medical help right away.


Infrared saunas offer a peaceful and safe experience for the majority of individuals. They are, however, not suitable for everyone. You should avoid using an infrared sauna if you’re pregnant, young, or elderly, or if you’re in danger of dehydration or overheating, or in case of chronic health issues. These illnesses can put you at risk for more severe health problems. Before utilizing an infrared sauna, think about your present health situation and consult your doctor.