The Pros of Infrared Saunas: How They Differ from Finnish or Steam Saunas
While Finnish saunas are very hot and steam saunas have high humidity levels, the temperature in infrared saunas is usually "just" 50 °C, and the air inside is quite dry. It is because infrared emitters do not heat or moisturise the air inside the cabin. They act directly on the skin, muscles, and joints, which makes them especially suitable for sportsmen or people who do not handle the hot or humid air in traditional saunas well.
Infrared heaters emit the heat
Heating the air in the cabin, a sauna heater is the heart of a traditional Finnish sauna. In steam saunas, steam generators ensure high levels of air humidity.
A standard infrared sauna employs another principle. It has infrared heaters at its core that emit infrared radiation. This radiation does not heat or moisturise the air in the sauna significantly, but it penetrates deep into the skin, warming up the muscles and joints. Although the sauna does not get so hot or humid, you still sweat pleasantly. An infrared sauna cycle usually lasts about 30–40 minutes (as opposed to 15 minutes in a Finnish or steam sauna), and it is not repeated as you are not so overheated from an infrared sauna, and you do not need to cool down sharply.
A Finnish or steam sauna is usually taken in 3-4 cycles of heating followed by cooling down. Yet the positive effect of an infrared sauna on your immunity system is similar to that of a Finnish or steam sauna.
Infrared heaters are the key component of infrared saunas. The cheapest heaters have a narrower spectrum of radiation, which does not penetrate that deep into your skin. Also, they take more time to heat up fully (20 minutes, for example). On the other hand, advanced heaters cover the full spectrum of radiation (IR-A, IR-B, and IR-C). They heat up in a few seconds and often come with safety grilles to protect you from burning yourself in case of incidental touch. Higher-quality heaters are resistant to humidity, which makes them suitable for combined saunas.
Ideal for sportsmen
Infrared saunas are particularly popular with professional sportsmen or bodybuilders because the infrared radiation penetrating deep into muscles and bones helps recover after an exhausting physical performance.
Many sportsmen use infrared saunas as a rehabilitation or even medical device. Infrared sauna can relieve pain and muscles tensed after sports performance or help treat muscle inflammations.
Perfect for smaller apartments
Another advantage of infrared saunas is their space-efficient size. The cubicle often has just a little more than a square meter. Since the heat is only generated on your skin, a single bench level is sufficient as you do not need to sit under the ceiling like in a Finnish sauna. Last but not least, no ventilation is needed since there is no excessive heat or humidity in the cubicle. This being said, many customers install their infrared saunas in their bedrooms or living rooms.
For infrared sauna lining, we recommend using wood that is lighter in colour, such as aspen or Finnish spruce, because they visually enlarge the space of a small cubicle. Although a bit darker, cedar wood is also suitable as it gives a very intense smell at lower temperatures.
In order not to get bored in the infrared sauna cubicle during a 40-minute sauna cycle, we recommend equipping the sauna with a sound system or coloured illumination – colour therapy is another effective way to relieve stress and induce the required state of mind. Many customers also take a book to the sauna and read it during the procedure.